Street Love

Street Love

New Orleans native Lloyd Harlan Polite Jr. has a voice that captures the overwhelming rush of teenage love better than any other current r’n’b singer. Part of it is that the 21-year-old Lloyd sounds like a teenager: his fragile, yearning voice has more than little in common with Michael Jackson at his most tender. The other part is that Lloyd sings every song with a desire that is all-encompassing and absolutely sincere. The smash hit “You” is about a player changing his ways for the love of a girl, but when Lloyd sings the refrain — “Can I be your friend? / This is how I feel / I’m in need of love” — he sounds as melted by his own emotions as the girls do by his mellifluous voice. Other highlights include “Get It Shawty,” a spare and hypnotic club track that slyly incorporates the chorus from Technotronic’s 1989 staple “Pump Up the Jam,” and “One For Me,” a halftime ballad that is a perfect balance between the sensitive and the seductive. All of Street Love is designed to put a little heat under your collar, but the burning, breathless “What You Wanna Do” is enough to make even the coldest old maid feel like she’s caught up in some forbidden dancefloor grind. Only time will tell if Lloyd can match the long-term success of Usher, R&B’s reigning boy-wonder-turned-crown-prince, but even if Lloyd were to disappear tomorrow he’d be remain in the memory of untold millions of unrequited crushes, first kisses, and slow dances.

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