Critics Take Bold Pro-Al Green Stance

Dan Gibson | May 27, 2008 2:00 am

From time to time, we like to round up the all-important, all-summarizing last sentences of the biggest new-music reviews. Under consideration in this installment is the new full-length by Al Green, Lay It Down, which hits stores today:

• “The star turns spice up an 11-song collection that stand up pretty well without. Green does pretty well on his own, particularly on the neo-soul of ‘All I Need,’ with its cascading vocals, another tasteful string arrangement by Larry Gold and Adam Blackstone’s deep funk bass line. Green has made no secret of his intentions to spread his message of love to a younger generation with Lay It Down. Maybe it’ll work. Maybe it won’t. But one thing’s for sure–he lays it down in a way; the right way–that any generation should be able to appreciate.” [El Paso Times]

• “Other new-schoolers–John Legend on ‘Stay With Me (by the Sea)’ and Corinne Bailey Rae on the languorous throwback ‘Take Your Time’–also do an admirable job of lightly putting their stamp on songs, but have the wisdom to mostly stay out of Green’s way. With his fan club members backing him, Green’s growls and precious high notes on the steady groove of ‘Just for Me,’ the tortured love song ‘Too Much’ and the sumptuous title track recall the material of 1971’s Al Green Gets Next to You and 1972’s I’m Still in Love With You and find the soul great fully of fire and brimming with youthful energy.” [Washington Post]

• “Green’s effortless yet ever-astonishing vocal flexings are, again, wrapped around some fabulous co-written songs. The title track, ‘No One Like You,’ and the nimble ‘Just For Me’ are exquisitely seductive. On ‘What More Do You Want from Me,’ meanwhile, Green makes romantic desperation sound like a rather alluring condition. Now 62, Green has musical powers that still verge on the magical. Whatever the commercial outcome, we have a five-star Al Green album on our hands.” [The Telegraph]