Anthony David | The Powerful Now
by Brent Faulkner
There is no sugarcoating it. Singer/songwriter Anthony David [Harrington] is among of most soulful R&B artists in the game. David possesses a superb vocal tone – he excels at delivering tender ballads as well as electrifying with his emotionally-charged grit. Furthermore, his music resonates, thanks to prudent messaging and thoughtful songwriting. Those attributes carryover into his latest album, The Powerful Now. Comprised of 12 tracks, the underrated R&B master never misses the mark, showcasing exactly why “he’s the man.” The Powerful Now is executive produced by Eddie Gypsy Stokes, and features guests Mylah (“Booed Up”), Reesa Renee (“Never Again”), and Carmen Rogers (“Charged”).
The Powerful Now opens powerfully with “Ride On,” which shares similarity in sound with a previous David number, “Love Out Loud” (Love Out Loud, 2012). Honest songwriting coupled with straightforward, yet savvy adult contemporary R&B production make the opener the crème de la crème among numerous standouts. From the start, David speaks to emotions, hence his incredible effectiveness as an artist. The power continues on title track “The Powerful Now” in which David characterizes the present as “the only time that’s real to me.” He embraces the moment, empowering as he proclaims “this is / the one and only moment that matters…/the most powerful now.” He continues on a hot streak with “Beautiful Problem” where he thrives and suffers in an oxymoronic state: “It’s a beautiful problem / beautiful problem / high at the bottom / such a beautiful problem.” It is soulful, poetic instances such as the entire script of “Beautiful Problem” that make David so appealing.
He’s not done beyond the opening trio – all top-notch hits. “Booed Up,” the album’s fourth track, finds Anthony with the help of Mylah serving up sensual vibes tastefully, never crossing the line as many urban artists do in the present. Down the track list, “Out of My League” exceptionally blends pop/rock and R&B, showcasing David’s versatility. David matches the hard-hitting nature of the production as he’s in disbelief this girl wants him. His apprehension is incredibly relatable – authentic to the nth degree. Family reunion/back to roots track “Road to Baxley” is a hit from the first listen, as David assimilates to the 2010s school of R&B without compromising his artistry. On the sweet “Never Again,” David and partner in crime Reesa Renee sound simply magnificent. Co-producer and keyboardist Anthony Robinson deserves love for nailing the jazzy pianistic lines.
All in all, The Powerful Now is pitch perfect – among the best R&B albums of 2016. Track by soulful track, Anthony David captivates, delivering a masterclass on how an R&B album should sound. Never aiming low, the themes and messages are consistently worthwhile. Where so many albums hunger for transcendence, that isn’t the case on The Powerful Now. Its power is speaking emotionally and mentally – creating a stimulating listening experience. More artists, regardless of genre, could take a page out of Anthony David’s book – give the people a total listening experience. The Powerful Now has the total package.
The Urban Music Scene