Maxwell, you’re such a flirt. Sure, you arrived an hour late for our date, but when you showed up all slim and dapper in a tailored plaid suit, gracing us with your smooth falsetto right away, how could we complain? You liked what we had on, too, telling one of us she was wearing your favorite color. The soaring, flawless vocals we expected, but then you busted out those dance moves—popping splits and Motown spins, before crooning seductively into the mic like some neo-soul hybrid of Al Green and Frank Sinatra.
At 41, almost 20 years after you debuted with the lush, funky make-out jams of Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, you said we made you feel like the youngest man alive. You left us breathless with that scorching, video-enhanced duet with Alicia Keyes, “Fire We Make,” then showed your sensitive side with a spectacular “This Woman’s Work.” (We have to admit, you made us blush a little when you said you wanted to use our legs to make a peace sign during “Til the Cops Come Knockin’.”)
You even apologized for being such a “pain in the ass” and taking forever to release a new album. We’ll forgive, baby. Just don’t make us wait too long. Oh, and if you brought back the Afro, we wouldn’t mind.★★★✩✩
Photos by Bryan Steffy