#13. Luke James – Luke James
R&B fans had been patiently awaiting the debut album from Luke James for over 3 years. Known for his outstanding vocals and stage presence, the New Orleans native had even been herald by some as the savior of traditional R&B. With the hope that due to his youth, sex appeal and co-signs from Beyoncé, he could help bring the elements of “real R&B” back to the mainstream.
It’s safe to say that the expectations from some were a little too high. After releasing two stellar EPs, and receiving a Grammy nomination for his breakout single, “I Want You,” the pressure was on. Released in September of 2014, Luke’s self-titled debut was a long time in the making, and that certainly affected its embrace.
Lead by the personal single “Options,” which included an unnecessary feature from Rick Ross, Luke and his lady are at a crossroads about the future of their relationship, as he belts out a plea for forgiveness. On “Trouble” he admits that a relationship based only on looks is always a wrong turn: “When you get lost in just lovin’ someone pretty (trouble, trouble) / You’ll always find (trouble, trouble).”
True stories of love, romance and soiled relationships carry the album. The interludes offer a positive, as they are strong short songs, helping with the progression and sequencing. Two of the up-tempo moments (“Dancing In The Dark” and “Expose”) set at opposite sides also help tie in the overall vibe, which shows Luke as a lover who will never let the option of new love die. – J.W.