Maxwell: Embya (1998). "Drown Deep In Love..." (feat. Alise and JR of The R&B Reps)

Episode 144
1h 10m | Jul 17, 2023

B. Cox is joined once again by Alise and JR of the R&B Representers to reminisce on Maxwell's sophomore album Embrya as it turns 25. After amazing the music industry with his classic debut Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite just two years earlier, the prodigious soul singer linked back up with producer and musician Stuart Matthewman, just as he he had on Urban Hang Suite, looking to push the envelope stylistically than he had on his debut. In a departure of the more acoustically melody drive jazz sound of Urban Hang Suite, Embrya featured more thick bass heavy grooves with atmospheric tones and sounds to express themes of love from a spiritual perspective it. He also tapped into an "underwater" theme that inspired both the title and the sonic quality of the album.

Upon release, the album had mixed reviews with some critics praising Maxwell's artistic expression and lyrical expansion while many other critics slammed the album and questioned whether Maxwell was throwing away the recipe, style and quality which made him a star on Urban Hang Suite. Nonetheless, fans made it a commercial success as it was certified platinum, driven by the lead single "Luxury: Cococure" .

In the following years, critics softened their stance on the albums production and themes, citing the album as a forward-thinking project that was initially misunderstood, but became a early adopter in sounds and moods of "alternative" R&B acts and styles that would emerge later in the new millennium would mirror closely. It is also mentioned as his most stylistically creative album and one of his most personal albums.

Catch Alise and JR of the R&B Representers!




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Show Notes

Albumism: Maxwell's 'Embrya' Turns 25 | Album Anniversary

TheGrio: The life aquatic, 25 Years of Maxwell's "Embrya"

SoulInStereo: 1998 Rewind: Maxwell's 'Embrya'

Augusta Chronicle: Maxwell Stays Timeless with Tour, ;Embrya' Reissue

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