Al B. Sure!
could be heard on the airwaves and seen on cruise ships, but as a recording artist, he was missing in action for over 15 years, until he signed with Hidden Beach and recorded Honey I'm Home
with longtime collaborator Kyle West
. He was never completely out of the picture, at least not throughout the majority of the '90s, as he wrote and produced for the likes of Jodeci
, and Johnny Gill
, but most casual R&B followers assumed he just slid off the map. Honey I'm Home
certainly does not sound rusty, like the work of someone who is desperate to reactivate his career. It could be the singer's tenth album as easily as it is his fourth, with his voice (particularly the falsetto) in fine condition, not really needing the traces of Auto-Tune flutter that occasionally bubble to the fore. It's not atypical for a Hidden Beach release either, grounded in subtle and relaxed productions, and Al B.
tends to stick to mature "grown folks R&B" lyrical themes, aside from the occasional diversion into the kind of crassness best left to Pretty Ricky
wannabes. ("I love playing in your box when it's late at night" is not quite the worst of the bunch.) Reverent, deeply impassioned covers of Michael Jackson
's "Lady in My Life" and Sting
's "Fragile" (practically a standard at this point) help balance that out.