It's an edgier, more uptempo Babyface who steps onto center stage with his first album of new material in five years—and his first as an Arista artist.

It's an edgier, more uptempo Babyface who steps onto center stage with his first album of new material in five years—and his first as an Arista artist. On this 14-track outing he trades head-bobbin' beats with such production up-and-comers as the Neptunes (behind the song's funked-up lead single "There She Goes"), Tim & Bob, and Megahertz; even Heavy D is along for the ride on the soulful "I Keep Callin'." The Mike City-fied opening track—the horn-accented "Outside In/Inside Out"—percolates with a jazzy flavor reminiscent of Babyface's 1993 top 10 "For the Cool in You." And calling to mind Stevie Wonder, Prince, and Eric Benét, the album's other strong suits include "How Can You Be Down," "Wish U Was My Girl," and "Lover and Friend," as well as more signature ballads ("What If," "With Him").—GM

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