I Still Believe, released in 2010, was intended to be Lyfe Jennings' final album. After a serving a prison stint for a 2008 incident, he returned with his fifth album, released on the Mass Appeal label. Jennings still cuts to the chase, as he does most frankly on "I Wish," where he humorously lashes out at singers whose responses to heartbreak are polite and considerate. He provides a voice for those who don't feel all that rational: "I wish nothing but bad luck/Hope you get hit by a truck.and die." That he sings this over a conservative backdrop -- one that could just as easily support amorous words -- makes it all the more cunning. Jennings draws character sketches, spins cautionary tales -- as someone still growing, learning from his mistakes -- and largely sticks to the type of mature R&B that his listeners don't get from anyone else. He briefly breaks from the norm with "Rock," a classy but contemporary steppers groove that's one of his best songs. Despite a mostly new cast of collaborators -- including TGT associate Brandon Hodge and producer/songwrighter Lashaunda "Babygirl" Carr -- Lucid is a natural progression for a veteran artist who seems to have plenty left to express. ~ Andy Kellman
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