Face the Music
Hailing from Cleveland, Avant has been making hits since the millennium; his platinum-selling debut album, My Thoughts, dropped in 2000 and included several smash singles, including "Separated" and "This Time." Flexing a bit of throwback style, Avant isn't quite "neo-soul" but maintains a sound more rooted in the old school than some of his flossier contemporaries. He's continued to release new albums every few years. Now he presents Face the Music: his seventh set overall and first since 2010's The Letter. As is his usual M.O., he primarily sings about love and passion, crooning atop catchy and understated production that comes off decidedly less digital than most (definitely a good thing). From the snapped-out "Excited" to the throwback horn-propelled "Nobody's Business," and the exotic percussion-laced closer, "Gratitude," Avant proves he hasn't lost a step over the years. Also impressive are "80 in a 30" and "You & I," reuniting him with KeKe Wyatt.