Personnel: Charles Pettaway (guitar); Marleny Dominguez, Bill Crowley .
Audio Mixers: Sean Rock; Steve Gordon .
Photographer: Glen Moodie.
The sticker on the front of Donell Jones' sixth album -- his second release for veteran R&B-artist sanctuary eOne -- refers to the singer as an "R&B superstar." For someone who has reached the Billboard R&B Top 20 only four times (the last time was in 2002), that's probably a stretch. There's no denying that his fan base is devoted and significant in size; each one of his albums has peaked within the R&B Top Ten, and he really is more of an album artist than a singles artist, since his releases tend to sustain a steady mood and have never seemed concerned with crossing over. More should be made of Jones' versatility. Forever is even closer to being a one-man show than 2010's Lyrics, with Jones performing every instrument but guitar, and he gets only a little songwriting assistance (and no guest appearances from MCs). Apart from the surprisingly brash "Step the F*** Off" and the Michael Jackson tribute "I Miss the King," not much sticks out, but the album is consistently likeable, filled with comfortable, mid-wattage grooves, yearning ballads (including the Teena Marie-sampling "Closer I Get to You"), and a couple diversions into racier content (such as "You Know" and "Ride This"). ~ Andy Kellman
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