Donell Jones' platinum-selling sophomore set, Where I Wanna Be, was one of the bright spots of 1999.
Donell Jones' platinum-selling sophomore set, Where I Wanna Be, was one of the bright spots of 1999. The ensuing three-year break hasn't loosened his lock on easygoing soul—as evidenced by the new album's chart-climbing lead single, "You Know That I Love You." And street-edged love songs remain the expressive tenor's forté. Chief among these are the smooth, prodigal lover follow-up to his last album's title track, "Where You Are (Is Where I Wanna Be)," the Marvin Gaye-ish "Do U Wanna," and the Everyman's title cut. However, this time around, the singer/songwriter/producer stretches into a more club-vibed, hip-hop mode. Some of these experiments ("Gotta Get Her [Outta My Head]") work, some (the formulaic "Freakin' U") do not. Above all, the resulting bottom line hasn't changed. Donell Jones is the real deal: one of the talented few who has a career in this increasingly quick hit-and-gone industry.—GM