Following the ambitious Embryo, Maxwell goes back to R&B basics on his third record, Now, which is full of soulful grooves, rich arrangements, and knee-weakening seduction jams. His sensual voice is as smooth as ever, and backed by classy, timeless orchestration: See the gentle swoon of “W/As My Girl,” a slow-burning plea to Maxwell’s flame. The mellow “Lifetime” is a gorgeous love song, while a moving cover of Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work” is carried by his luxurious falsetto.

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