Eric Benét — forever remembered in the culture as the guy who repeatedly cheated on Halle Berry and now immortalized by Jay-Z on "4:44," when he reminded his millions of fans to "never go Eric Benét" — is back with the international edition of his 2016 self-titled album, which sounds like most of the music he has made before: confessional, yet very self assured.
At this point, it seems like Benet is doing it for love — not just expressing himself through song, but happy to be releasing a record at all. He is dedicated to the act of loving you, and the craft of R&B and soul. He seems to really mean it.
The album opens with the confident "Can't Tell U Enough" as stabs of horns punctuate a swinging piano plonk that works today as default mode for other "clean on the track / dirty in the sheets" crooners like Pharrell, Cee Lo and Mayer Hawthorne. Benét comes off happy and healthy, and whoever it is he's singing to (presumably, us the listener) is supposed to take a great deal of satisfaction with how beautifully he desires us.
Benét is counting on the fact that after all this time, the listener still feels the same way about him; key to his lyrics is a belief that he really truly understand us. Downshifting to Al Green-ish, syrupy guitar and crisp rimshot territory on "Floating Through Time," Benét continues his onslaught of earnestness and understanding. He is a man who, while baring his soul, can be heard unappealingly patting himself on the back for being so brave.
Lyrically, he writes like he's undergoing good therapy. He's never overly poetic, but he's unafraid to explore the odd "sunshine" metaphor or comb through the past mistakes or grand delusions of a love that has changed en route to the present.
On Eric Benét, the singer sticks to a formula that has always worked for him in the past, while adapting to the taste and technology of today. (Independent)