Back to Love (Deluxe Version)
Singer/songwriter Anthony Hamilton is known for drawing from '70s soul but not being limited by it. His persona embodies the sensitive but strong Lover Man, a classic figure in the R&B tradition. 2011’s Back to Love is more expansive and harder to pin down than its excellent predecessor, 2008’s The Point of It All. The newer album finds Hamilton working with an assortment of producers and songwriting partners, but the tracks hang together nicely despite the style variations. The title cut, produced by former Amy Winehouse associate Salaam Remi, is a stunner. One of the more old-school efforts here, it places sweet vocals and flute filigrees against a husky horn chart. “Pray for Me,” coproduced by Babyface, features a spare arrangement with subtly strange and appealing touches, while the Keri Hilson duet “Never Let Go” has an edgy electronic beat that intriguingly inflects the vocals. “Woo,” the album’s first single, has a groove evoking vintage Al Green, who's clearly one of Hamilton's reference points. The gorgeous “Life Has a Way,” produced by James Poyser, brings the album to a dramatic close.