Entertainment Weekly - p.81
"Passion, not laid-backness, rules on this set of originals and covers." -- Grade: B
Personnel: Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds (acoustic guitar, keyboard programming, drum programming); Dean Parks, Michael Ripoll (acoustic guitar); Doug Livingston (steel guitar); Rob Lewis (piano, Fender Rhodes piano, Wurlitzer organ); Greg Phillinganes (piano); Rafael Padilla (percussion); Sasha Allen, Keith Slettedahl, Brandy (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Paul Boutin.
Photographer: James Minchin.
With 2007's PLAYLIST, R&B icon Babyface (billed here as Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds) unveils a thoughtful, easy-going album that consists primarily of folk-pop cover tunes. While certainly a career curveball, especially in light of his sultry previous outing, GROWN & SEXY, this record makes the most of Babyface's laid-back singing and accomplished acoustic guitar playing, also allowing him to pay tribute to some favorite AM-radio hits from his youth.
Rather than attempting to radically rework the songs, Edmonds largely stays in a soft-rock mode, particularly on James Taylor's "Fire and Rain," which finds Babyface's vocals strikingly similar to Sweet Baby James's original recording. In addition to another Taylor tune ("Shower the People"), the renowned performer/producer covers Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" and Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight," the latter track being a natural choice, since Edmonds worked with Clapton on his hugely successful "Change the World" single. Rounding out PLAYLIST are two new Edmonds songs, "Not Going Nowhere" and "The Soldier Song," the latter a poignant ode to American troops abroad. A true crossover album, PLAYLIST holds plenty of appeal for both R&B and pop fans, and it reinforces Babyface's reputation as a sensitive and intuitive artist.