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Brian McKnight Continues to Tug on Heartstrings With ‘Just Me’

Brian McKnight had several good reasons for taking a brief hiatus from releasing new music. Since 2007, McKnight expanded his brand by delving into radio, hosting a television show, and acting on stage.

He returns to music with his 14th solo album, Just Me. From the onset, McKnight takes chances by experimenting with genres outside of R&B. On the doo-wop-inspired “One Mo Time,” McKnight croons his way into a lover’s heart by singing, “Before you walk out that door and leave me with my pride, let me love you one more time.”

He emphasizes the personal struggles of being romantically involved with a married woman on “Husband.” Reminiscent of Michael Jackson’s “Dirty Diana,” McKnight sings with fury over  a rock ‘n’ roll instrumental. “You got your nails in my back and I wonder what he would do, the sake of arguing, if he found his way to my crib and walked in on me and you.”

Another standout track is McKnight’s cover of George Michael’s hit “Careless Whisper.” Backed by a jazz band, he effortlessly makes the song his own. He closes the album with the inspirational title track, “Just Me.”

McKnight takes a few risks musically, but it’s apparent that his smoothed out vocals and melodic tales remain consistent with what fans have come to expect over the years. –amir shaw