Giveon - Give or Take Music Album Reviews

Giveon - Give or Take Music Album Reviews
Giveon’s debut album seeks to scale the highs and lows of love and heartbreak, but more often sounds like he’s cruising on autopilot in the center lane.

Giveon’s warm ballads sound like he’s trying to find a happy medium between the loverboy appeal of Brian McKnight and the sultry stylings of D’Angelo. His honeyed baritone is among the most distinctive in contemporary R&B, with a quality that makes his lulled chorus on Drake’s “Chicago Freestyle” the most exciting part of the track. But more often his nasally, aloof rumbles lack the soul and technical skill to make it consistently fragrant. Whereas the dynamic vibrato that lit up Giveon’s stellar 2020 debut EP Take Time made his tales about falling in love too quickly more endearing, its follow-up, When It’s All Said and Done, reeks of lazy vocals that distract from what he’s singing about.

Still, Giveon tries to match the vocal flair of his forebears. His 2020 cover of D’Angelo’s consummate “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” is a respectable attempt that dilutes the strengths of the original: the improvisation, the call-and-response, the piercing vocal delivery, the way D’Angelo’s shout at the end of the song can be mistaken for a praise break after a divine spirit fills the sanctuary on a Sunday morning. Giveon’s version, by contrast, has all the spiritual vigor of a partner who sends you a lengthy good morning text every day; it’s just not that stimulating. The Long Beach crooner’s full-length debut, Give or Take, faces a similar problem: As his expansive ballads seek to scale the highs and lows of love and heartbreak, Giveon more often sounds like he’s cruising on autopilot in the center lane.

Ahead of the album’s release, Giveon cautioned fans to keep a box of tissues nearby. This is not necessary. Across 15 gloomy tracks, he paints a very familiar story of a hopeless romantic who’s searching to understand their flaws and solve their relationship woes in the throes of newfound fame. There’s no shortage of this narrative in contemporary R&B: In the soft, intricate runs of rum.gold’s debut Thicker Than Water and the old-school shimmer of Lucky Daye’s Grammy-nominated Painted, the challenge of being a self-aware lover is illuminated with a lush variety of soul-baring vocal arrangements that would make love’s most dedicated critics become open to understanding the possibilities of healthy romance. But Giveon’s narrative doesn’t land.

Take “dec 11th,” where Giveon laments a missed connection with a fan who caught his eye in Houston. The single is backed by an alluring acoustic guitar that doesn’t pair with his unvarying baritone delivery and instead makes the song sound more clinical, which conflicts with its charming lyrics. His limited range overwhelms the meaning of what he’s saying. The dull, drawn-out two-syllable patterns on “Tryna Be” make Giveon sound like he was dragged out of bed to the recording studio when he’d rather go back to sleep. When the sensual flair of “Make You Mine” calls for dreamy melodies, Giveon defaults to stoicism. Falling head-over-heels in love is enough to make anyone want to sing, but it takes skill to use your voice in a way that makes one actually believe you—think Jodeci on “My Heart Belongs to You” or Brian McKnight on “One Last Cry.” “For Tonight,” Give or Take’s lead single, is the lone song where Giveon really sounds like he’s ready to go there.

The album’s most convincing moments arrive when he stops acting like a passive bystander and addresses his relationship drama head-on. Giveon knows his tendency to fall in love so quickly can get the best of him. On “july 16th,” he admits that he needs to alter his too-eager approach to a new connection (“It’s only been 14 days/And I already adore the way you are to me/I wanna ignore and take it slow/’Cause I know where this can go”). On Boi-1da-produced “Scarred,” Giveon acknowledges how the heartbreak he’s endured in the past has led him to bitterness in the present: “My last love was cold/So now I gotta be the coldest.” It’s an honest refrain from his sappy love songs and explores the source of his toxic traits.

But lyrical vulnerability isn’t enough to lift the dreary cloud of Giveon’s static vocal performance that hangs over the album like a TV show that should’ve ended three seasons ago. The dull midtempo rhythms and runny guitar lines are equally uninteresting. Give or Take is stacked with songs that add minimal variation in cadence and tone that make his honest musings on love sound unconvincing. The Giveon of Take Time experimented with melody and challenged himself vocally; Give or Take stunts that growth in favor of secluding himself in his comfort zone.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Giveon - Give or Take Music Album Reviews Giveon - Give or Take Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Tuesday, July 12, 2022 Rating: 5

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