Yesterday Morning * Lenny Harold * R&B/Soul * October 22, 2013
If you are unfamiliar with Lenny Harold, don’t be ashamed. Despite being a member of BS2 (BlackStreet second generation) and having a Grammy, he is continually slept on as a solo artist. Either because he doesn’t make cookie-cutter music that’s meant for commercials or because of signing issues in the past, his buzz has stayed routinely underground. He is looking to change that with the release of his second EP, Yesterday Morning.
Serving as an introduction to some and a reintroduction to others, the free EP is meant to give listeners a sampling of what Harold has to offer as well as backstory to a song from his previous album Waiting on Yesterday. Does it do the job? We’ll take this track-by-track to find out.
1. One Life – An upbeat song about being on your grind to bring people in. His tenor here is strong, but it might be a little feminine to some listeners. The horns that play throughout give the feel of 70’s funk without overdoing the retro feel.
2. City Lights – Strong vocals play well with strong production here. Harold’s falsetto is especially lush in the latter half of the song. With a concept centered around the possibilities of freedom on a night in the big city, this will stick with most listeners.
3. Yes – A continuation of the story that has begun to develop through the previous two songs, the concept is about the intersection of one-night stands and how people convince themselves that there could be more in the future if they proceed. The vocals are strong and the production is great, but the outro that is attached to the end absolutely breaks the momentum of the album.
4. I Did It – Harold is now confessing about his one-night adventure to his lady. His voice and cadence is a little reminiscent of Maxwell here, but he owns the song nonetheless.
5. Say It’s Over – The introductory beatwork shines here and is an unexpected break from the three preceding down-tempo songs. Continuing the story, this song is about the fallout from the confession. The rolling high-hat and hard piano chords add the idea of two people arguing.
6. Forgive Me – About wanting to save the relationship that has been torn apart, it is an incredible way to end the EP. The song intro is beautifully melodic and melancholy, with Harold monolouging about what he has learned throughout the journey. This duet (with A-Natural) is haunting and aided by the lack of audacious vocal acrobatics. The attached outro is what served as the intro to The Journal of Wonders (the previous album) and works to bait the listener into giving that album a try.
This collection is incredible. The production, vocals, and lyrics show that Lenny Harold already knows his voice (literally and figuratively) and he wants to share it with the world. I, for one, am eagerly awaiting more from this artist.