Review by: Le Le Symone
Soul artists that have been productive and in demand for decades are few and far between, especially ones who have been dropping hits “from the 8-Track to the iPod” generation. Ronald Isley has proven himself to be one of those rarities, a performer who refuses to rest on his mighty laurels even after 50+ years in the music biz. Thanks to the embrace of his R. Kelly-created alter ego, “Mr. Biggs,” the 72-year-old entertainer has enjoyed a career resurgence and continues to influence artists of all ages, which is what he strives to capitalize on in his latest solo effort, THIS SONG IS FOR YOU.
The best way to describe this 13-song-set is “something old, something new,” incorporating elements of his Isley Brothers heyday, guest appearances from two of the most recognizable names in contemporary soul/R&B and yes, an appearance from Mr. You-Know-Who. Producers like Bryan Michael-Cox, Kendrick Dean, Troy Taylor (from 2006’s Baby Makin’ Music) and Johnta Austin help to create a cohesive blend of mid-tempos and slow jams, best represented by the easy-breezy single “Dinner And a Movie,” a lively step-ready duet with Kem, “My Favorite Thing,” and another duet that is surprisingly well-executed, “Lay You Down” with Trey Songz.
Familiar R&B old-school classics are the foundation of “Another Night” and “Make Love To Your Soul,” which samples “Footsteps In The Dark” and “Voyage To Atlantis,” respectively, and Mr. Biggs re-emerges to talk a woman away from her neglectful lover and into his arms with “He Won’t Ever Love You.”
Considering that Mr. Isley is already a pioneer, he doesn’t seem to feel the need to break out of his comfort zones as a vocalist or to follow the trends by dropping a club banger or hip-hop cameo either. But ….Song doesn’t have to be ultra-innovative to showcase the legendary talents of one of music’s last true greats.