Slicker Than Your Average

One of the bright lights in 2001 was U.K. export Craig David, whose debut, Born to Do It, achieved platinum success in the U.S.

One of the bright lights in 2001 was U.K. export Craig David, whose debut, Born to Do It, achieved platinum success in the U.S. Well, David's back with a set that moves outside Born's smooth parameters. Unfortunately, he's traded some of his cutting-edge British mergings (R&B, hip-hop, two-step, rock) for a more crossover-friendly (read: formulaic) approach that doesn't fire on all cylinders. While David works with longtime collaborator Mark Hill and R&B veterans Soulshock & Karlin, he also joins forces with new producers Marshall & Trell. The latter duo is behind funk-synthesized lead single "What's Your Flava?," which finds the singer comparing female companions to ice cream flavors. On "Fast Cars," David widens his scope by comparing females to cars. The singer/songwriter fares far better on the hip-hopped title track, taking the U.K. press to task for questioning his "squeaky clean" lifestyle. Other noteworthy cuts include a Sting-sampled treatise on the pitfalls of stardom ("Rise and Fall," with a guest turn by the former "policeman" himself) and the easygoing charmer "2 Steps Back." Despite the bumps on this sophomore trek, David's engaging tenor helps smooth out the ride.—GM