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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite

Maxwell

1996

Wikipedia

Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite

Rating

2.94

Votes

3457

Reviews

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2

can someone please help me. i accidentally put this album on through the speakers in my room and the all encompassing smoothness has removed all friction from every object in the room. I can't open the door as i no longer have fingerprints and the door handle is slipperier than the soap in the prison showers. once i finally get out of this room the question remains will my new orb shape be the new fashion and shoot me to international fame or will i be shunned as the weird ball boy who looks like Duncan Goodhews head rolling around.

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3

A very 3 album for me. I kept waiting for some unexpected element to surprise me and draw me in but it never really came. I like most of the arrangements/atmosphere (808s!) but nothing I can really sink my teeth into. Just makes me want to listen to Marvin Gaye.

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3

Hey, what's up Cum Knuckles? Fancy joining me for a burger and fries this coming Tuesday? We can put on some Maxwell, talk about our feelings and re-create the Hindenburg disaster.

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2

When the first track kicked in and was pretty smooth, I was wondering what the hell Robert Christgau was smoking—or perhaps more appropriately, what he wasn't—that made him give this one of his "dud" grades, and then the first vocal track started. Maxwell has a fine voice, but not a *fine* voice; I thought Sade's Diamond Life was sexier than this, and certainly better paced. This would make for a pretty good instrumental album to vibe and/or bang to, but almost every track has about 3 minutes of material for its 5 or 6-minute runtime, to the point that there are multiple tracks that sound like they're ending, only to ramp back up for another fruitless minute. I mean, seven whole minutes of Til the Cops Come Knockin', plus a 90-second reprisal at the end of the record? No wonder Public Enemy said 911 was a joke. Key Tracks: The Urban Theme, Suitelady (The Proposal Jam), The Suite Theme

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2

This album is so "smooth" it slid in one ear and back out the other, leaving no impression behind other than a slightly slimy film to mark its passage.

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2

Sounds like George Michael having a stroke

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1

An entire album of songs that all managed to sound the exact same. And they sucked.

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1

I did not need to hear this album before I died.

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1

This sounds like joke music

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5

This... just might be my gateway drug to full-on R&B.

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5

Just what I needed to listen to today!

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5

Love it!

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5

Never heard of Maxwell but really enjoyed this. Very mellow.

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5

Very very good

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5

Very cool album, nice change in pace

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5

fantastically smooth and sensual. impossible not to get into the mood while giving this a listen

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5

this is now on regular, workday rotation. great background for cleaning out Outlook...

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5

This is straight-up bang-time music. Red curtains, candles, glasses of wine...yeah, this is great.

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5

What a great piece of work. I wonder how I never hear of him before.

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5

Sexy rnb

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5

Why I have never heard this before? I don't know if it just didn't get any airplay or land in the UK, but this ought to have been massive. By turns funky and mellow, and the warmness of the production just draws you in. An album you need to listen to in one go.

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5

Smooth and funky

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4

Fuck amazing. Smooth when it needs to be smooth, grooves when it needs to groove, and a couple bangers along the way. And it only gets better the longer you listen. “Urban Theme,” “Dancewitme,” “Whenever Wherever Whatever,” “Suitelady,” and “The Suite Theme” are gems.

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4

Great R&B.

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4

Very nice

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4

Lounge at its peak. Whole thing drips with sex and innuendo in a hilarious way. Would never get away with this on a first date.

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4

Very smooth. I've heard Maxwell before, but never listened to this album.

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4

Pretty cool and sexy, Maxwell is just a classic classy guy with a solid voice. Hard to be mad at him

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4

quite calming :))

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4

Immediately feelin this, neo soul, bit like D'Angelo, but Stevie Wonder-ish but more smooth. Feels classy, decent chill tunes. Tailed off a bit in the middle and at the end, went a bit wet. Start was still real decent tho. 4/5.

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4

No idea how to describe, but I thought that this is a great album full of underwhelming individual songs. I overuse "vibe" but that's what it is, it's a overwhelming feeling of goodness permeating my daily life. Very pleasant

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4

Perfect album as the weather is heating up, lol. For some reason I feel like driving through a busy city on a Saturday night with my windows down.

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4

I remember this being released and a huge buzz around it but not much else - it just wasn't the right time for me to appreciate it... ...as opposed to now: wow - this just hits all the right notes (sure, pun intended). Smooth in the best ways but for me it is rarely boring - tremendous production and musicianship. It took everything I liked about the best Marvin Gaye but this is better - just the right doses of edge that Marvin rarely ever had (e.g. angular guitar lines on "Dancewitme"). Also point of note: while Maxwell the "singer" is clearly the feature here, the music is the big standout for me - the album starts with a great instrumental which sets the tone that this will be not just a vocal album. A great album for its genre, which while not ever going to be my favourite/daily listen it is so well-crafted that it's a keeper. 8/10  4 stars

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4

Apparently Maxwell is credited with establishing the neo-soul genre, and I always think that's so cool when an artist starts a musical trend. I really enjoyed this album...it got a little repetitive to my ears after a while, but his voice is heavenly, and the songs were cool.

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4

Wel dit was aangenaam! In het begin zeker 5 waardig maar daarvoor is het net iets te lang en viel het wat plat naar het einde toe

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4

This music is downright erotic

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4

I have no idea how this dude managed to produce two #1 hits in my lifetime and not ring a bell for me at all, but I enjoyed listening to this album. After a catchy opening it felt a bit slow for a while, but the album definitely grew on me once I hit "Whenever Wherever Whatever" and "Lonely's The Only Company".

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4

Ahhh que chabochito .

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4

A pretty smooth album, for sure, 90's neo-soul at its best. Will get back to it.

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4

Jazzy and smooth

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4

Better than I expected - really pretty groovy

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4

Du bon R'n'B/soul qui se laisse écouter tout seul. Crée une bonne ambiance détente ou pour créer un mood avec un.e partenaire.

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4

pretty good

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4

An undeniably smooth album that is very easy on the ears. I liked this one quite a bit.

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4

A super-smooth soul album. Incredible production and I could see myself putting it on when I'm in the mood, though it does wash over me a bit without any memorable or stand out moments.

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4

This was a remarkably smooth album. This neo-soul record had tinges of contemporary R&B, funk, and a lot of jazz. The influence of Marvin Gaye especially could be felt. I also heard some Michael Jackson-esque vocal delivery patterns. Overall Maxwell very successfully brought these elements together in a sharp departure from the hip hop centric R&B of the mid 90s.

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4

I am so down with music that makes you sexier – not just feel sexier, but actually be sexier and enhance your performance, too. Just buttery smooth and awesome. Neo-soul forever.

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4

Feels wacky having this be the second album after Herbie Hancock's Headhunters today. This guy is smooth and with a silky upper register. Til The Cops Come Knockin' is a song that drips.

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3

Enjoyable. Don't see myself going back to this one though.

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3

Good sex music, nice bass.

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3

Chill af, still good

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3

Spotify. Fave song Ascension. Ok listen

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3

Decent R&B but too long and fails to be more than background music

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3

Wel door maar net iets te soft na meerdere nummers

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3

Jizz jazzity goodness

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3

This funky jazz just doesn't really do it for me. Definitely better than Jamiroquai or whatever the hell that was, though.

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3

First impressions, oooh this is nice. Funky grooves. I do not know much of the genre "neo-soul". This does not sound like 1996 at all. Very modern sounding, if this is the original they did an amazing job in the production, sounds like a modern remaster. Love the bass on this, the piano, the synths, the sax. All the instrumentation is superb. Vocals are good, if not straightforward, but I would almost prefer it without. I like the falsetto parts, if it were more of that I'd be down. As the album went on I started to get kind of bored though.

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3

Very very smooth. I liked it.

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3

It starts so strong, and then drags and gets too midnight stormy.

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3

false

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3

Quite a vibe. Definitely something I would put on again

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3

i'm confused as to how the mid-90s produced such a mid-80s album. i am not a fan, but there's huge talent here.

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3

Baby making music. I get it. A little repetitive over an hour.

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3

started off good but then got a little boring/too easy-listening

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3

It started really good and it was a nice breathe of fresh air after yet another dreadful new/synth wave album (the 19th one!) but it started dragging after a while. i like the istruments and I think is good overall.

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3

I was digging it at the beginning, but as it went on it kinda lost me. Favorite tracks: “Sumthin’ Sumthin’” and Dancewitme”

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3

Some more sex-having music. Sometimes it moves a bit too far into "weather channel" territory.

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3

The album carries a theme throughout and the production is really good and Maxwell delivers well. But I couldn’t help but find the songs a bit too long, slow and frankly, a tad boring at points.

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3

not for me brooooooo

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3

Funky music all throughout but kind of sounds like clothing store music. 6/10.

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3

Good neo soul album. Very atmospheric, ideal for intimate moments.

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3

Really good.

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3

Quite liked it. Good bass

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3

false

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3

Good old school R&B. Can hear similarities to Sade and Erika Badhu. Nice background music; especially in a Spotify Playlist called Kitchen Swagger.

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3

Nobody wants to be here - the twilight sad

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3

Solider r b. Kommt aber nicht auf die playlist

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3

Gutes RnB-Album.

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3

Hustle Kings vajbovi sa vokalima brateeeeeeeeeee

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3

Baš je ugodan album. Le sexy time. Warm record for sure, odlična kombinacija soul+jazz+rnb. Prvo sam mislio po imenu da idem slušat neki house, međutim dobro da nije.

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3

The downtempo sexy slow jams aren't my usual wheelhouse, but there are some smoldering jazzy tracks in here. A good find that I'd never heard of before.

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3

SLOW JAMS. Funky music to chill out to. Could be background music at a laid back coffee shop or party or something. Makes sense. Sounds like I'm at someone's "urban hang suite".

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3

Smooth jazz. Melodic and relaxing. Not a bad album but the main theme melody seems to be in every song, making the album feel a bit repetitive.

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3

nothing completely special or out of this world but it was a funky and fun sound

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3

Certainly had some promise, though it fades a bit too much by the end. Not enough energy to finish nicely. But enjoyable background music.

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3

2,7 Not sure if good office or bedroom music... Leuk voor in de achtergrond maar meer niet

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3

Funk songs great, soul not my thing

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3

“Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite” by Maxwell (1996) R&B with a smooth jazz flavor. Very nice. Compositions and arrangements with foundations that could have been generated in the 70s are developed and matured with late 90s colorings. Truly beautiful. Maxwell has a very good voice, bringing forth standard R&B stylings with precision and flair. But he offers no real vocal surprises, which is mildly surprising for an R&B album from 1996. Shimmering waves of electronic background like fluid reflections of urban lights, undulating comfort and gratification. Summer. Nighttime. Driving slow. Mmmm. The album is an excellent example of thematic cohesion and development, moving from lovers’ introduction through courtship and (monogamous, mind you) romance, pain in separation, joy in “Reunion”, leading to marriage proposal in the final track. The album tells a story. And it’s a wholesome one, produced in an era that was famous for its urban cultural vectors that were misogynistic, violent, and dehumanizing. Maxwell, for one, respects his lady. Cool. The basic message of this album is that I have deep feelings, baby, and my best ones are coming your way. I wanna make love to you “Till the Cops Come Knockin’” (Now there’s an under-considered justification to defund the police. The social worker may as well stay home too.). An essential feature of any music in this genre is well designed and well executed bass lines. And this album excels in that department. All other performances are likewise first rate. Now I know that the return to vinyl has been all the rage for some time, but when scratches and pops are programmed in at 33rpm in order to simulate the LP experience (“The Urban Theme”), I’m distracted, disappointed, and mildly amused. I hope this is a fad that fades. Also, and fatally (in both the iTunes download and streaming on both Spotify and Apple Music), there’s an annoying repeating flaw in the left channel beginning at :29 in track 9 that continues through track 11, making them simply unlistenable. And it’s not the ‘simulated LP’ effect. What’s going on? It’s in the 2021 remaster, because it fades with close of tracks 9 and 10. What a spoiler. Brings the album down from a “5” to a “3”. This could have been a great album. But the listener is still left with one unanswered question: Did she say “Yes”? 3/5

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3

Empezó fuerte y creí que me iba a gustar mucho y luego se hizo plano planísimo.

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3

Suave. Tranquilo. Buena voz. No destaca especialmente.

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3

Serviu para conhecer novas opções de grooves

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3

putting the fun in funky.

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3

Surprisingly decent downtempo R&B

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3

We recognize that this was a pivotal album in the popularity of neo-soul, but it felt a lot like background music to a dentist's office or something

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3

Was laughing out loud, have never heard of this guy before. Respect the commitment to the lovin'

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3

Groovy, I suppose. But except for The Urban Theme, nothing struck a chord with me.

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3

7,8 Muito bom

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3

Not great but didn’t hate it

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3

3/5 nice lounge sound, but nothing much.

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3

kinda groovy ngl 3.5

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3

Definitely feels very 90s R&B but it's a bit less hokey than most of that so I can enjoy it some more. The funk elements also add to it.

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3

its fine

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3

Eh ein netter shaft Disco funk. Aber nix aufregendes

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3

30 seconds into this I could tell I was going to like it. No idea how I missed this in the 90s. Honestly a little goes a long way though unless you’re in a bedroom situation.

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3

Very smooth, very slow, very sexy, very Marvin. Not very outstanding. Great musicianship, particularly sinuous bass lines that get under the skin. I like, but not extraordinary.

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3

surprised. a throwback for sure. hints of curtis mayfield were nice

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3

-Cool bass line in "Sumthin' Sumthin'" -Generally pleasant R&B, but nothing super exciting

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3

OK. very slick. over produced. a bit boring.

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3

Great album, with a smooth, sexy, retro vibe. My main critique is that so many of these songs are longer than they need to be, with more than half clocking in at over 5 minutes. It could be a tighter album. Still it's a lovely, fun listen. "Ascension" is the best song on the album, a classic. Fave Songs: Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder), Sumthin' Sumthin', Whenever Wherever Whatever, Dancewitme

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3

Soul lentillo. Ni fu ni fa.

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3

Довольно типичный, но приятный соул. Хорошая музыка для свидания.

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3

Background slow jams

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3

I hope this album sounds just like it looks. Yep, sure does. Smooth and groovy. Of course, just the one groove, but it's a pretty good groove.

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3

It's nice background music - nothing special from what I can hear so far

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3

3.45

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3

Nope

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3

The one where Maxwell fucks off his silver hammer in favour of '70s soul tinged r'n'b.

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3

Some smooth grooves in there but that’s way too jiggy for me.

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3

Funky. Decent r and b music. Ascension is a good song.

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3

Smooth, I like it. Not my normal jam, but good background music. 3

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3

I really liked this. It slipped past me at the time, but I love this sonic update of the Curtis Mayfield sound.

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3

som agradável, suave

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3

I enjoyed the mix of jazz and modern r&b in the first song. The second song was a bit underwhelming. Sounds like classic 90's R&B music. Not a favored genre of mine or one that I'm very familiar with. It is easy to listen it and I don't hate it.

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3

This was pretty smooth. No hard edges, all.... smooth. But I did fall asleep. In a nice way, but I still fell asleep. 3/5.

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3

Started out groovy and fresh. Kept going and got stale. Seems that through the Album you can see the 90s "r&b" influence. Regardless there's some pretty great instrumental parts. Loved the bass early in the Album.

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3

So 90s it needs cargo pants. It's not my thing at all, but he's got a nice voice and some of the songs are well-written.

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2

Some funky parts but overall very bad r&b.

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2

Instrumental was brilliant, the rest not my cup of tea.

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2

1996. Key Songs: Sumthin' Sumthin', Ascension

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2

sunday night slow jamz

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2

If I ever have a sensual relationship with a black panther I will put this on this give me some good vibes. Apart from that, really not my style.

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2

At the start I was really into it. Got a little weird as it went on. Overall a good funky jam

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2

This is lounge jazz music not my style kinda cheesy. The thing you would hear in the background of a home makeover show

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2

I really enjoyed the first track and was hopeful, but recognized that it could go either way depending on what happened next. It had a potent mix of funky-as-hell, kind-of-cheesy, and that Kool and the Gang summertime vibe. I was disappointed that the subsequent tracks descended into the 90's idea of baby-making music. Kind of went gradually downhill throughout the album for me.

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2

It is just too slow and uninteresting. Too much of it sounds the same and there's nothing that is particularly catchy or stands out.

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2

Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite is the debut album by American R&B singer-songwriter Maxwell. A concept album, Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite was composed as a song cycle that focuses on an adult romance, based in part on Maxwell's personal experiences.

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2

Like I said before, lofi hip hop beats to study to

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2

Did you stop at a motel by the road with your hooker? Enjoy Maxwell's progressive soul!

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2

Seemed liked music you'd hear at a hotel bar or cocktail lounge. Was over it after a few songs

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2

I didn't understand it.

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2

4

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2

R&B isn’t my thing

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2

I did not like it very much. No further comment.

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2

Couldn't do it. First tune was funky, cool bass lines, but can't get into the lyrics/vocals. Very 90s Rn'Baay

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2

Not my favorite genre but pretty groovy!

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2

This whole album sounded like one continuous song to me, though I’m admittedly not a huge R&B fan. Fine as background music, but not my favorite.

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2

There will be days when the fit isn't there, or totally there. No doubt this is a better experience when the listener is in a better mood.

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2

Grand, not really my thing

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2

yeah idk. smooth r&b isnt my thing

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2

Just really forgetable.

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2

Really nice grooves at times. Not the kind of music I like to listen to, though.

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2

The groove is too deep for me.

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2

I vaguely remember Maxwell being part of the current music scene at some point. I don't know if I've heard a full song from him before, but I was pretty sure back then that Maxwell is not for me. In general, I want to listen to about 0% of the "oo, baby oo" songs. This album was a solid 2 for me (I did not like it). The one song that has even the possibility of a replay was "The Urban Theme" and it was an instrumental. The music wasn't enough to get me past anything with lyrics.

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2

This not my style of music and I won't listen to it again.

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2

This wasn't my thing. A few songs I could get into but that early 90s commercial R&B vibe isn't for me.

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2

Maxwell has a great voice but this music is too chill for me to listen to without getting sleepy. Appreciate his whole deal though. I’m just a sleepy person.

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2

ok

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2

There’s no denying this LP is well-constructed, but it leans so hard into one-note rhythms and song structures that it all kind of blurs together into an overlong porn Muzak compilation

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2

Easy listening, but very forgettable

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2

comically ceefax

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2

the sex scene in the movie except your mom has her hands over your eyes

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2

This album played with fire and gets a 2, but that 2 is very close to a 1 insanely boring and baffling choice, you're gonna make me point at the sign with all the obvious picks missing from the list again

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2

Felt so much like background music I forgot it was on a few times.

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2

Ooh, sax. Whenever, wherever, whatever is how I feel about this album. High expectations from the start and then *blow raspberry*

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2

It's agressively meh.

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2

Never heard of this record. Liked this better than I thought I would... but I wasn't expecting much when I saw the wikipedia article mentioning similarity to D'Angelo... I'm not a big R&B fan but there were elements of funk in here on occasion that I liked. Excessive use of wah and fun modulation effects. Seemed like a good R&B record but I'm not a great judge of that. It did go on a little long at times. Close to a 3 for me but probably not quite there. 2 stars.

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2

First listen. Smooth jazz and funk, R&B. Very nice. Love to hear more of this. 2/5 for now.

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2

Second list within the past two weeks. Gave it a 2/5 then and still just a 2/5 for me now. I will say that I am enjoying it more this time than last time, but not enough right now. I can see this being a 3/5 sometime in the future.

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2

Wicked beats, and the title track had me hoping for a new find but then R&B and that just dont grab me. The beginning had me thinking this was going to be more like Jamiroquai - but it wasn't.

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2

Sorry Maxwell, not my jam. Every song is individually decent, but rhe lack of variation in the backbeat makes it a slog to listen to album through.

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2

I’m cool with the occasional soulful slow jam, though I’d never put one on intentionally. This album is packed with them, and they get hard to differentiate after the third or fourth.

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2

It has not aged well, rather sleazy in some ways.

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2

sexysaxman.com pornöse fahrstuhlmusik aber groovy

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2

not too bad, but not my thing

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2

Alku todella lupaava, mut oispa loppulevy ollut vähemmän kutumusiikkia.

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2

It’s a fine funk/soul album. Not Maxwells finest moment.

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2

A funk and soul album that came out in the 90s. I was not familiar with the album or the artist. It was alright although I do not think I will be returning to it. There are better funk and soul artists that I would listen to if I ever felt the need.

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2

Supposedly as a reaction to 90’s R&B’s obsession with violence, casual sex and drugs, Maxwell became a pioneer of neo-soul with his “Urban Hang Suite”, a concept piece about all the twists and turns of a relationship. Considering this album was released in 1996, there’s a concerted effort to diverge from the prevalent sounds of the genre, both lyrically and musically. The songs here are all profanity free, built around declarations of sensual love and commitment. It’s refreshing on the one hand, but on the other they lack any of the wit or wordplay that often makes R&B and hip-hop tick: instead, they’re formed on vague generalities like “you’re still welcome, any time you want some; make yourself at home, ‘cause you’re welcome.” Poetry. In musical terms, there’s a real retro-soul feel to this album which places it in the mid 70’s. The production is lush and warm, with low, lithe bass grooves and soft, airy vocals (often faintly multi-tracked in harmonies or octaves). Take single “Til the Cops Come Knockin’”: electric Rhodes piano and some subtle wah-guitar wash around the main hook, which is gentle and soothing right up until the point it becomes… well, boring. There are flashes of good moments peppered across the record. “Ascension” is a strong track with a fantastic bass groove. There’s a fun breakdown in highlight “Dancewitme”, announced by a bass solo before some brittle rhythm guitar kicks in. There’s a rare grittiness to Maxwell’s voice in “Suitelady (The Proposal Jam)”, one of many tributes to monogamy. They’re sharp moments in a hazy record, which generally is concerned with a lighter touch. There’s a tendency for the jams to repeat themselves ad-nauseam, often letting a groove peter out. And from around the album’s halfway point, they’re scarcely present at all. So while "Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite" is always pleasant, sometimes the silky-smooth production is just a little too smooth. As we’re promised a concept piece chronicling the arc of a relationship, it would have been nice to hear a bit more range in Maxwell’s delivery… to get a sense of rise and fall in the music, peaks in intensity and drama. But instead, it’s unarguably and unambiguously make-out music… for a whole 58 minutes! I have neither the time nor the stamina to manage that.

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Not my cup of tea. I feel like it got lost in its own groove.

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Maybe it's because so much time has passed, but a lot of this now sounds like a parody of the thing it most likely originated. I liked the opening track or two but also became a lot of the same thing over time to me.

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Vamos para música de fondo bien pero en general no me ha hecho «tilín» ninguna canción. Prescindible.

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Ok, a bit long for me

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I am sure this is a great album for its genre. Unfortunately, it’s a genre that i actively dislike.

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slecht

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Hang me.

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Really didn't understand this album, was pretty much useless. Concept mon cul!

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No my kind of album!

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Powrot do hameryki i do czegos co powinno byc ratowane ogniem, bo jest to R&B, czyli najbardziej popularna muzyka czarna siejaca popularnosc glownie w latach 90 i wczesnch 00, porownac mozna spokojnie do disko polo, podobny pomysl na muzyke, ma sie podobac szerokiemu gronu niezbyt wymagajacych sluchaczy, a przy tym byc jak najbardziej nijaka, samego Maxwella nie kojarze, a nawet jesli bym gdzies slyszal, to pomylilbym z X r&b grajkami, jak wielkie moje rozczarowanie bylo juz na drugim traku, gdy uslyszalem ten tjunowany wokal, ktorego taretem jest tworzenie nierzadnic z zakonnic, takie wyczyny wokalne przewiaja sie od traku 2 do 11, ktory jest przed zamykajacym instrumentalem, bo 12 tez ratuje sie instrumentalnoscia, z krwawiajcymi uszami i cringujacym wyrazem twarzy udalo sie dotrwac do konca, jedynym pozytywnym momentem tego przesluchu byl otwierajacy the urban theme, dlatego tez leci na funkowa plejke, reszta plyty moze isc w ogien

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I didn't like anything about this. Surprised anyone would sit down and listen to it

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Not for me. Liked the bass in it.

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Not a huge fan of Neo Soul or R&B and I can't say Maxwell won me over here. That said, the bass on this record absolutely slaps and the album title is prettay funny. This here is some baby-making music indeed. 🌟

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no

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The absolute definition of dull.

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Wohlwollend könnte man sagen: was für eine exemplarische Platte hochwertiger Fahrstuhlmusik. Böswillig, und dazu neige ich hier eher: was für eine belanglose, seelenlose Neo-Soul-Platte. Grütze.

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Not a fan. Obnoxious and annoying.

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It's an ok album till Dancewitme, it's very easy soul with just a little flair of funk. But starting from 'Til the Cops Come Knockin' the album collapses into generic RnB. Listened 3 times, and will not put this on ever again.

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As smooth as diarrhea and about as welcome. What the fuck is it doing on this list? Best Tracks: The Urban Theme; Welcome; Sumthin' Sumthin'

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