Back with a solo effort after teaming up with Toni Braxton on his last time out, Babyface is back to the smooth and romantic R&B singer he built a very successful career upon. This is his first solo album of original material in ten years, so he has some stuff he needs to get off his chest/mind/heart. This has an old school sound to it of the type you would hear in the Nineties. Babyface has not lost a step in that he is a smooth and sexy sounding as ever. It is pure R&B love songs that make up most of tracks making the title of the album, Return of the Tender Lover, very apropos. The arrangements are lush and the lyrics elegant making the end result that typical Babyface sound. Ballad “I Want You” is Babyface at his best with “Love and Devotion” and “Walking on Air” also being strong songs. “Exceptional”, the second single off the album has a little Michael Jackson to it. If you are a fan then this is exactly what you would have wished for.
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