It is one of those weekends, when you recognize the season change, you need a cardigan to wear in church, you grab a hoodie to head to the park, and you are even eyeing your favorite boots. You then begin looking for some mellow tunes; the songs that screamed ‘windows down/top back summer day groove’ are no longer suitable. Enter the new album of Dwele, ‘Greater Than One. In the cd fold he is seen going from dress shoes to Jordan IIIs, from a necktie to a cashmere scarf…he is embracing change, while offering some music appropriate for the new season.
Andwele ‘Dwele’ Gardner is somewhere between the hip hop world and a neo soul corner, all sitting on an R&B foundation. In some cases, defining an artist is not important; their work is strong and enjoyable and categorization is a chapter easily skipped. So watching Dwele the singer blur the lines as he moves between the various worlds of music, there is no need to question his genre affiliation. His core is music.
For the celebration of his sixth solo project—where 10 of the 13 tracks he wrote, 9 of which he also produced—Dwele came right here to the DC area to have his album release party. In fact, Dwele has a few allusions to the Nation’s capital on this album; here they are as well as some standout songs:
~ Intro, ‘Greater than one less than three’ is smooth and welcoming in a sense, the words are sung and music is played as if Dwele is walking you on a tour through his art.
~ ‘Going Leaving’ is truly appealing and beautiful for being able to encompass the complexities of relationship with people who want the same things at different and often inopportune times. It is written in a narrative through relatable means to a midtempo beat.
~ ‘Two to Tango’ is nice Friday evening lounge music, perfect Happy Hour accompaniment.
~ #4 has DC’s own R&B star, Raheem Devaughn, featured and the pair join in to reminisce on the lighter days of courting: the teenage years, the phone calls that lasted well into the night, the times it was seemingly easy to do ‘What You Gotta Do’ in order to maintain a relationship.
~ ‘Obey’ is a sexy tune. And pretty self-explanatory.
~ ‘Must Be’ may prove entertaining as there is a quick reference to the pleasantries of DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia metro area) college women. Nice touch, Mr. Gardner.
~ Instrumentally, the beginning of ‘Swank’ is wonderful. Horns, drums, cymbals, all the makings of a scene at a jazz brunch.
~ #11 is a cute fall song. Soft upbeat. Comfortable melody. It talks about embracing love in your life and appreciating someone that adds more than just physical appeal to your connection. Un-ironically titled, ‘Special.’
~ #13 is audibly gorgeous…yet, one may be taken out of the vibe for a minute when Dwele talks about checking a girl’s Facebook page. On the other hand, it is quite comical realizing that we are indeed in the day where that is a part of the pre-dating process. Dwele shows faint hints to have learned his lesson of “facebooking a woman with a man” all while beautifully serenading her with a chorus saying, “This is our last song.” And without coincidence, this is the final track on the album.
‘Greater Than One’ is available for purchase now.