The Context – Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III, more commonly known by his stage name Aloe Blacc, has been a part of the music industry since the late 1990s; however, the singer-songwriter from Orange County did not gain mainstream popularity until the 2010s. The soulful 2010 track “I Need a Dollar,” the 2013 country-house mix “Wake Me Up” with Avicii, and 2013’s pop smash “The Man” both thrusted Aloe Blacc in the commercial limelight and showed off his musical versatility.
Excluding 2018’s holiday album Christmas Funk and a slew of singles in 2019, Blacc’s All Love Everything becomes the first album released since his Grammy-nominated work Lift Your Spirit in 2013. Released at the height of his popularity, Lift Your Spirit provides a variety of sounds to comprise a dynamic pop record with contributions from DJ Khalil, Pharrell Williams, and Elton John.
The Content – Aloe Blacc kicks off All Love Everything with the upbeat track “Family” where the artist verbalizes his strong sense of familial kinship and his trademark vocals. The titular “All Love Everything” carries the same hunky-dory tone of the opener but with a more sickly-sweet production. Perhaps the best song on the record, “My Way” juxtaposes the previous songs with Blacc flexing his strong vocal ability in the bridge’s falsetto under the gospel undertones of the track. The jazzy production and background vocals in “Wherever You Go” reflects a subtler a church-like selection with more pop gusto than “My Way.”
“Nothing Left but You” could have the most prototypical pop sound on the record in terms of its uninspiring production, vocals, and lyrics. “Glory Days” starts with a promising neo-bossa nova riff but then transitions into a drab, PG version of hip-hop. “I Do” is a basic piano-laden pop ballad with highly produced vocals and an anti-climactic finish. “Corner” does not differentiate much from “I Do” since it too relies on a piano background, albeit not as melancholic, nor does it vacate from the vacuous sound of its predecessor. Blacc concludes the record with yet another attempt at an uplifting track in “Hold On Tight” juxtaposed with a more somber and softer “Harvard.”
The Skinny – For the first secular full-length LP in seven years, All Love Everything is rather disappointing. Aloe Blacc’s songwriting and production is unoriginal with many songs sounding like rips of Ed Sheeran (“Nothing Left but You”), Allen Stone (“My Way”), Lewis Capaldi (“I Do”), Sam Smith (“Corner”), and even Post Malone (“Glory Days”). With these many dead ringers, it seems as if Blacc is desperately trying to fit into today’s pop music Zeitgeist. Unfortunately, All Love Everything does not possess the redeeming gender-bending qualities and the vocal prowess of Aloe Blacc’s past catalog.
The Rating – 3.8/10
All Love Everything
- All Love Everything
- My Way
- Wherever You Go
- Nothing Left but You
- Glory Days
- I Do
- Hold On Tight