- Vancouver, British Columbia - That's right. Jamie Foxx the Academy Award winning actor with that amusing hit and miss career. In 2005, shortly after his Oscar win he released his second album, Unpredictable. His last album was eleven years earlier. Perhaps it was to capitalize on his rising success or maybe it was just to be unpredictable like the title suggests. At least Foxx is a pretty legitimate talent on screen so one could hope that it would translate into his music, especially since he portrayed the great Ray Charles in the biopic Ray. That's how it should work, right?
I don't imagine that the title Unpredictable was supposed to be ironic, but Foxx plays it way too safe in this album. What we end up with is a strangely shallow mess of beats, each one seems all too familiar. It's a musically flat standard example of how R&B is becoming a dead genre (Believe it or not, it used to mean Rhythm & Blues. Lately it seems to be Redundant & Boring).
Foxx is playing around in the kiddie pool of lyrical depth. The words are easily the worst part of the album. For the most part he just talks about sex and how it's enjoyable and how he wants to have it. Yes, thanks for that Jamie. Then he talks about love and how it will make you happy. Umm... yes. That's pretty much all the insight you're going to get from this. And it's all spelled out very simplistically so it's not even saying these trite ideas in a poetic fashion.
For example, in the song "Love Changes" a chorus of ladies sings “Love will make you oh so happy inside. Love will make you oh so sad. Make you cry.” I suddenly feel so enlightened. How could I have gotten as far as I have in life without being bluntly explained how love will make me feel happy... and sad? Also he sings in "Three Letter Word" regarding sex that "Some like it slow. Some like it fast. Don't matter the tempo, long as it lasts. I make it last." Thanks for sharing Jamie. In the title track he goes as far as to discuss positions. Yeah... turns out that it's about him being unpredictable in bed. Nothing more. You know... he really would have impressed me if he took it in the direction of “I Told You I was Freaky” by Flight of the Conchords, but I don't think that would have achieved his goal of making his female fans seek him out for sex. Sure would have been unpredictable though.
The lyrics continue to be that bad though. It's not too dissimilar to the material I wrote in grade ten, only I had the decency to hide how sexually frustrated I was. He also touches on issues like how many friends he has, one night stands, the thickness of his wallet, and clubbing with hot girls. It's like he grabbed themes randomly out of the big rappers hat of hip-hop subject matter and decided not to share anything real about himself.
I think the whole point of the album is lost. If I were an actor who suddenly found myself with Oscar hype and scripts being handed to me right and left, and I decided to use this as an opportunity to start a successful music career, I would want to share something about myself that the big screen couldn't capture. I'd want to show myself to be a jack of all trades while also revealing my more human side so I wouldn't come across as inaccessible.
Unpredictable feels more like he's showing off all that he has. He's famous therefore he can have superficial relationships with women and party with his "very important" friends. So, he makes us listen to that for an hour. At first it's boring, but soon it just becomes insulting. I keep wishing he'd go into Shatner territory so we could enjoy a healthy bit of self parody, but he really seems to mean everything he says.
It's almost a shame that I've listened to this because I actually like him as an actor. I don't know if I can ever call myself a fan now. Did he learn nothing from Ray? Unpredictable lacks soul and creativity. It paints Jamie Foxx in a shallow, arrogant manner and as such... he fits in perfectly with the shallow and arrogant crowd he can now call his peers. So, welcome Jamie Foxx to the world of generic pop music.
It really has treated him well financially as Unpredictable has gone double platinum and has spawned two follow-up albums so far, one of which was released only a month ago. It's a shame that we settle for so little.
Rating: 1/5 Sour Grapes