Album review: Lloyd's 'King of Hearts'
The birth certificate of Lloyd, the 24-year-old Atlanta tenor, reads Lloyd Polite Jr. His fourth album, “King of Hearts,” is worthy of his mild surname.
Assuredly, there are attempts at the profane. The Andre 3000- and Lil Wayne-aided “Dedication to My Ex (Miss That)” is devoted to a vulgar nostalgia for a certain body part. After all, this is mainstream R&B, a genre reliant on the romantic subtlety of an OkCupid profile. Indeed, there’s even a song called “Cupid,” featuring someone named “Awesome Jones!!!!!!”
Like a prospective suitor trawling the Web for mass seduction, Lloyd attempts to be everyman to everyone. There is not a cliché left unemployed. Women are compared with angels (“Angel,”) and love is a parachute ride (“Naked”) or a jigsaw puzzle (“Jigsaw”).
As a singer, Lloyd possesses a levitating croon and admirably fills out most of producer Polow Da Don’s synthetic boudoir songs. His Interscope patrons spare no expense, cutting checks to Young Jeezy, R. Kelly, Trey Songz, Chris Brown, Keri Hilson, and Game. Jim Jonsin, Timbaland, and Pharrell are also credited in the liner notes. They even enlist someone named Salo, who does a Nicki Minaj impression so convincing that a Lil Kim diss is inevitable.
But over the last 24 months, R&B has taken great strides to snap out of the stasis that dogged it for much of the last decade. Janelle Monae, Katy B, The-Dream, Frank Ocean and even Beyoncé have delivered recent efforts that transcend the trappings of modern soul. Lloyd Polite could stand to follow their example and be a little ruder.
“King of Hearts”
Zone 4/Interscope Records
Two and a half stars