Ari Lennox - age/sex/location Music Album Reviews

Ari Lennox - age/sex/location Music Album Reviews
Grown, sexy, and horny on main, the Dreamville singer’s second album pursues pleasure without compromising on self-love.

Ari Lennox’s crisp, velvety soprano evokes both the lavender incense at a successful girls’ night in and the sensual intimacy after a delightful date night out. The amorous flair of her music channels a rich lineage of Black women neo-soul artists of the 1990s and early ’00s, who prioritized their sexual desires along the journey to self-acceptance. Drawing on Jill Scott’s jazz-inflected tension and Erykah Badu’s philosophical ruminations, Lennox’s own brand of neo-soul finds freedom in the flesh. The DC native’s 2016 EP Pho employed the retro flair of ’70s R&B to capture the bliss of having her carnal needs met; her 2019 full-length debut Shea Butter Baby exuded the aroma of passion while embracing the autonomy of a young single woman trying to understand her worth beyond sex. On her second album, age/sex/location, Lennox ditches the formulaic takes on lust and romantic uncertainty for a steamier, sexier collection of songs that push her further along in her quest for self-acceptance.

Lennox has described the new album as “the transitional space before my current eat, pray, love journey”—a clichéd yet accurate assessment of her most assured-sounding project yet. If Shea Butter Baby highlighted her frustration at not receiving the love she desires, Lennox is now more interested in giving that same love to herself. Situated in the transit space between the longing for external validation and the confidence required not to need it, age/sex/location offers a bountiful exploration of what it truly means to be grown and sexy. On the groovy, upbeat “Waste My Time,” co-written by British singer and producer MNEK, Lennox tests the limits of her upper range as she affirmatively decides to enter a relationship that will provide only temporary satisfaction: “Waste my time/Get on my line/’Cause I got the time to waste,” she instructs.

It’s the only time we see her indulge in an unsustainable encounter simply because she wants to: Lennox devotes most of the record to asserting her power in understanding what she doesn’t want. “Young Black woman approachin’ 30 with no lover in my bed/Cannot settle, I got standards,” she sings on the bluesy opener “POF,” featuring backing vocals by J. Cole. The humorous duet-skit “Boy Bye,” which casts Lucky Daye in the role of an earnest suitor failing to court a skeptical Lennox, sounds like a contemporary update of the interlude in Erykah Badu’s 1997 classic “Next Lifetime.” On “Blocking You,” Lennox’s voice floats over funky guitar chords and dreamy synths as she demands privacy to restore her inner peace: “Blocking you on everything.” On previous projects, Lennox sang about sex positivity and the self-doubt associated with relationships as if a romantic connection with a partner were required to survive (see “Whipped Cream”). Now she’s starting to understand that it’s not.

The best moments on age/sex/location arrive when Lennox fully leans into the explicit details of her sensual pleasures. Though rarer here than on earlier records, her talent for using her voice to convey the heights of physical satisfaction is peerless. On the stellar “Mean Mug,” which ends with a sultry trumpet solo, her honeyed tone vividly conveys the arousal she feels hearing a lover’s voice over the phone. “Voice noting on the daily/Vocal stroking my sweet valley,” she sings. The intensity peaks on “Leak It,” a heaven-sent vocal match-up between Lennox and Chlöe, who sound invigorated to discover just how freaky they can get when the long-distance connection on “Mean Mug” becomes an in-person night of piercing moans and melodic orgasms.

Lennox’s masterful vocal evocations of her horny-on-main tendencies hit a snag on “Stop By,” where her vocals seep into the background. But the slow moments don’t outweigh the album’s abundant confidence. The Summer Walker-assisted closer, “Queen Space,” marks Lennox’s commitment to give herself the love and respect she expects from her partners. Anchored by mellow keys, the track seamlessly melds Walker’s trap-R&B with Lennox’s old-school soul, spotlighting them as leading voices in their respective styles. Across age/sex/location, Lennox refreshes classic R&B stylings for a contemporary audience, sounding at ease with herself as she offers up her sexiest and most assured music to date.

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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.
Ari Lennox - age/sex/location Music Album Reviews Ari Lennox - age/sex/location Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Thursday, September 22, 2022 Rating: 5

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