Album review | R&B

Joe, ‘Bridges’

Halfway through his 11th CD, Joe offers a lushly produced homage to vintage soul, “Till the Rope Gives Way.” It’s the foundation of a bridge between generations as he gracefully fuses smooth formalism, funk-injected R&B, renewed-jack swing, and hip-hop-tinged pop. Joe is preoccupied with the nuances of intimate connections, but unlike many younger peers, he is subtle: When he sings about the enormity of his love, he’s referring to his heart. Although the 16-song disc is overlong, he covers diverse musical ground while showcasing his elastic tenor. The songs remain contemporary even as he nods to his influences. Bass-popping workouts “Love Sex Hollywood” and “Love Undefeated” provide nice counterpoints to lithe ballads. This exploration of modern love digs deeper with “Sex Ain’t a Weapon” and “Love & Sex Pt. 2,” both exposing the complex dynamics of hook-up-era romance. (Out Tuesday)


ESSENTIAL “Till the Rope Gives Way”

Joe opens for New Edition at Agganis Arena
June 27.

Ken Capobianco can be reached at