Jamie Foxx returns to music with his fifth album, Hollywood: A Story of a Dozen Roses, and little left to prove. He’s a double-threat with an Oscar, two Grammy Awards and hits like “Blame It” with T-Pain and Kanye West‘s “Gold Digger” to his name.
Despite his much-criticized take on “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight, his musical skills aren’t really in question — but on Hollywood, his intended message and audience are. On “Socialite,” the 47-year-old sings about seducing Kim Kardashian-esque celebutantes, while “In Love by Now” features him crooning over bare piano that he thought he’d be married by now. Midlife crisis aside, Hollywood leaps from hopeful club hits, like “You Changed Me” featuring Chris Brown, to adult-contemporary ballads, and the effect is jarring: It sounds like a collection of random one-offs rather than an album. Foxx’s voice, falsetto and all, still sounds lovely, but he seems unsure exactly how he should use it.
This story originally appeared in the May 23 issue of Billboard.