released Nov 3rd
from the album - Never Gonna Break Up
YouTube - Ryan Leslie - Never Gonna Break Up [NEW SONG 2009]
An exceptionally shrewd producer, songwriter, performer, businessman, and self-promoter — he hired someone to film nearly all of his activities, which were diligently edited and uploaded to YouTube — Ryan Leslie began making music as a teenager, scored a perfect 1600 on his SATs before he was old enough to drive, and graduated from Harvard at the age of 19. He got a foothold in the music industry within four years of graduation; by the end of 2005, he had written and/or produced tracks for 702, Beyoncé, Britney Spears, Carl Thomas, and New Edition, and an album of his own was completed but shelved. A year later, he was the architect behind Cassie's "Me&U," a number one R&B single that also reached number three on the Billboard Hot 100; Cassie's subsequent album, produced almost entirely by Leslie, narrowly missed the top of both the Billboard 200 and R&B/hip-hop albums charts. Leslie then recorded another album of his own, which was scheduled for a mid-2008 release date. "Diamond Girl," its lead single, debuted on the charts earlier in the year, while successive singles "Addiction" and "How It Was Supposed to Be" also set the stage for his self-titled album, released in February 2009. Leslie followed it up quickly with Transition, issued only nine months later and inspired by a secret summertime fling.
Leave it to overachieving wiz kid Ryan Leslie to release two albums within a year. His self-titled album released merely nine months prior, he returns with "a collection of songs inspired by a summer of secret love." For someone who documents so much of his life, it seems almost implausible that he could maintain that kind of privacy. Maybe the relationship was a George Glass situation (i.e., made up), or perhaps Leslie produced a clone to make public appearances so he could sneak off with his woman. Whatever the case, Transition offers a set of songs that is undeniably more focused than that of Ryan Leslie, and that comes through even more clearly after re-sequencing the material to suit the rise and fall of the relationship. The highs, however, are not as high as they are on the debut and, if less surprisingly, there is nothing as weird as "Gibberish." "You're Not My Girl" is the album's standout, working a snappy disco-funk rhythm aided by synthetic harpsichord and xylophone (triggering a flashback to the S.O.S. Band's "Take Your Time"). "Never Gonna Break Up," the mood-setting opener — which would actually make more sense as the album's finale — is not far behind, with its softly lancing synthesizers accenting Leslie's fragility after being kicked to the curb. Apart from a couple subtle wrinkles, Leslie's sound has not changed much and continues to resemble the Neptunes' candy-coated bounce, like he is the Monte Moir or Jellybean Johnson to Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo's Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. "Something I Like," in fact, could be slotted in the middle of Clipse's Neps-produced Hell Hath No Fury, even if it didn't happen to feature a verse from the duo's Pusha T. At times, his voice seems to be lacking in conviction, but those moments do tend to occur when he's spitting game; post-breakup, that could be the most difficult material to pull off. And while he is not a singer like a John Legend or Usher, he can be an effectual vocalist, exemplified most on the closing "I Choose You," where it sounds like he's trying his best not to not come across as deflated but is too wounded to help it.
1 Never Gonna Break Up Leslie 04:12
2 Something That I Like Leslie, Thornton 04:07
3 Zodiac Leslie 03:43
4 Is It Real Love Leslie 04:03
5 Sunday Night Leslie 04:26
6 You're Not My Girl Leslie 03:54
7 To the Top Leslie 04:52
8 Nothing Leslie 04:20
9 Guardian Angel Leslie 03:31
10 All My Love Leslie 04:22
11 I Choose You Leslie 02:50