Shelley FKA DRAM‘s brand of time-honored R&B is irresistible. It’s definitely the case on his new self-titled album, which arrives just in time to commemorate his late mother’s birthday. His latest release serves as the follow-up to Big Baby DRAM debut from 2016.
The 10-track release opens with the Summer Walker-assisted “All Pride Aside,” a worthy listen he debuted earlier in the week. Shelley’s uniquely expressive falsetto turns up on “Exposure,” his debut single of 2021, and the slow groove that relaunched his sophomore album campaign.
“Something About You” finds Shelley’s voice aping a sick bassline and a wah-wah guitar as he sings about a woman that fuels his fire but also might not be his forever girl. He could be holding out for the “Married Woman” he’s knocking down sexually. A vaporous song like the latter now makes sense of “Cooking With Grease,” a searing tune and previously released track that airs out the flaming-hot story behind his affair with an unfaithful wife.
With his entanglement in the wind, Shelley is back in his feelings over a failed love and wants to know on “Remedies” what can be prescribed to put a missing passion back on top. “Rich and Famous,” the album’s closing track, could be turned into an arena anthem in the future once tours and concerts are again in full swing.
Shelley already proved earlier in the album that he is a great duet partner on cuts featuring Walker and H.E.R. (“The Lay Down” featuring WATT). He takes it a step further with “’93 Acura Vigor,” starring vocals from Erykah Badu. The night-out track concentrates on the unforgiving digs past lovers dart at each other in the club following a fresh breakup. Badu’s soul-jazz voice and Shelley’s warmly laid-back tone are totally compatible, making their meeting of the minds much more satisfying.
Ahead of releasing his eponymous sophomore album, Shelley appeared on NPR Music’s Tiny Desk (Home) Concert.
Stream Shelley FKA DRAM’s new self-titled album below.