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Gerald Levert 

Stroke of Genius (Elektra)

Gerald Levert
  • Gerald Levert
Gerald Levert's breathy R&B is the sound of overworked bedsprings and clothes hitting the floor. On the Cleveland crooner's seventh LP, the oversexed soul has become a lot like lovemaking itself: For all the repetition, it never really gets old.

Stroke of Genius fits comfortably into Levert's come-hither canon, throbbing as it does with understated bedroom beats, warm keys, and satin-sheet vocals. Levert's lyrics remain halfway between salacious and silly -- "Oooh baby, you remind me of a lollipop/How many licks until I get to your creamy filling, baby?" -- but the man could recite toothpaste ingredients and still make ladies sigh. Whether he's wailing about collard greens ("In My Grave") or slapping your momma ("Call It a Night"), Levert remains unmatched at raising temperatures and lowering inhibitions.

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