Vibe - 10/01, p.1504 discs out of 5
- "...Like Dom P, Face just gets better...Babyface purists will have a hard time denying the album's self-assured flair....the adult-contemporary slow jams raise the roof..."
This is an Enhanced CD, which contains both regular audio tracks and multimedia computer files.
Personnel includes: Babyface (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, bass,
programming); Snoop Dogg (rap vocals); Bill Meyers (arranger); Mike City,
The Neptunes (various instruments); Bob Robinson (electric guitar, Hammond
B-3 organ); Brion James (electric guitar, programming); Wayne Lindsey (Wurlitzer piano, Fender Rhodes piano); Anthony Nance, Megahertz, Buckwild, Tim Kelly, Heavy D (programming); Adam Goldstein (vinyl scratches); Latrelle
Simmons, Pharrell Williams (background vocals).
Producers include: Mike City, The Neptunes, Babyface, Megahertz, Heavy D.
Engineers include: Paul Botin, Brian Garten, Edward Quesada.
Recorded at Brandon's Way, The Record Plant, Los Angeles, California; Chung King, New York, New York; Capitol Studios, Hollywood, California.
There's no denying that heartfelt love songs are Babyface's stock in trade, and there's certainly no shortage of those on FACE 2 FACE, but the Face does push the envelope just a touch on this album. "What If" is a classic slow-jam in Babyface's patented romantic ballad style, as are many other tunes here, but there are some slight stylistic diversions present as well. The breathless falsetto exhortations and syncopated rhythms of "There She Goes" make it sound like an outtake from Michael Jackson's OFF THE WALL. For another change of pace, Snoop Dogg adds a little hip-hop flavor to the proceedings via his guest appearance on "Baby's Mama." Meanwhile, the sizzling midtempo R&B of "Wish U Was My Girl" wouldn't have sounded out of place in the repertoire of "Diamonds and Pearls"-era Prince. FACE 2 FACE is the sound of a consummate craftsman who's found a way to have his cake and eat it simultaneously, and with a maximum amount of soul.