Singer Dwele held a listening session for his fifth studio album, Greater Than One, at Jungle City Studios in New York City Tuesday evening (July 24). With the lights dimmed, guests sipped champagne and mingled as songs off the project played in the background.
With Greater Than One, Dwele remains true to his signature soulful flair. He’s got more acoustic stylings of R&B and features mellow, mood-setting harmonies about love and love-making that have allowed to him to achieve moderate mainstream success. Yet he still holds onto his core indie soul fanbase.
Many may know him as the voice adding soul to Kanye West‘s Graduation track “Flashing Lights.” But the Detroit native’s fans fell victim to his smooth and easy vocals throughout the early 2000s, when he released some of his most popular songs to date such as “Find a Way,” “Hold On” and “I Think I Love You.” Greater Than One will satisfy listeners who still want music that brings back the vibes of the Soulquarian era that made Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, and also his late mentor, producer J. Dilla‘s works popular during the mid-to-late 1990s.
Although Dwele let the majority of the tracks play out without much explanation during the listening sessions, he did give background for cuts such as “Going Leaving.” In this song, he sings of a woman who wants a deeper relationship with him, but after being faced with unrequited love, goes searching for it elsewhere — only to still be unsatisfied with the life she chooses. “Going Leaving” has a solo guitar verse adding to the ’80s jazz groove the singer said he wanted to invoke with the song.
The second track he explained, “Takes Two 2 Tango,” is what Dwele describes as “dancing horizontally.” The track about the art of copulation using the obvious metaphor has a slow, mellow bounce, which he coasts over with an unfailing falsetto.
The album also features fellow soul artist Raheem DeVaughn, who previously lent his charming, swoon-inducing vocals to Dwele’s “Dim the Lights,” a song featured on his last album, 2010’s W.ants W.orld W.omen. Their new collaboration, “What You Gotta Do,” which has a bass line reminiscent of The Stylistics‘ “People Make the World Go Round,” finds the two listing ways to keep a woman happy in a relationship so she doesn’t go astray.
And if “50 Shades of Grey” has been on the summer reading list, Dwele’s sexy, slow jam “Obey” is sure to give flashbacks for those who’ve completed the risque read. The crooner explained he was told after a recent interview that the song’s story sounded similar to the popular book, although he admits he never read or heard of it prior to releasing his song.
Other expected features on the album include Lalah Hathaway.
Greater Than One is set for release Aug. 28.