Singer/producer Dwele's debut album, Subject, is an exploration of the many idiosyncrasies that exist between lovers, set to a lush backdrop that is neither annoyingly contrived nor forcefully retro. His subtle, smooth numbers utilize an array of sounds and instruments. Sometimes his creativity catches you off guard, like the surprisingly pleasant strong violin chord that appears during the upbeat, bass guitar-driven "Sho Ya Right," adding depth to the song's simple yet body-moving construction. On the Fifties ode "Kick Out of You," he displays his range as a producer by sticking to soft percussion and a relaxed piano-playing style that allows his voice to take center stage.

Dwele's lyrics and delivery are casual to the point of near conversation, giving each song an intimacy more profound than mere sexual commentary. On "Truth," a song that tells of a man who deceived his lover, he sings, "I lied, I said you were the truth/You took it as the truth/And now I got you but I don't want you like that." If there's any fault with Subject, it's in its smooth, almost anesthetic production. But most of the time such a mellow musical approach just generates zoned-out head-bobbing. How bad can that be?

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Christopher Sanders