+ 'Justments

+ 'Justments

As a songwriter, Bill Withers always favored simple arrangements and closely observed images of everyday life over grand gestures, and on ‘Justments this tendency only becomes more pronounced. Listeners looking for anthemic refrains on the order of Still Bill’s “Lean on Me” may find themselves disappointed by this reflective, deliberately quiet set. But those willing to pay attention will find that ‘Justments is ultimately one of Withers' most rewarding efforts and contains some of his very best and most underappreciated work. Many of the contributors who made Withers’ earlier studio efforts for Sussex so remarkable return here, including bassist Mel Dunlop and drummer James Gadson; their precision and inventiveness add unexpected rhythmic flavor to even Withers’ most relaxed ballads. Sussex execs chose the brooding “Same Love That Made Me Laugh” as the album's lead single. Yet nearly any of the uniformly strong compositions here would have served equally well, particularly “Can We Pretend,” which features gorgeous, near-psychedelic production flourishes; it's one of the set's strongest moments.

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