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R&B - Released January 1, 1999 | Motown

Brian McKnight backs away ever so slightly from the streetwise rhythms Puff Daddy injected into Anytime with his fifth album, Back at One. That's not to say that the album doesn't sound contemporary or fresh -- quite the opposite. McKnight has figured out a way to make his gospel-flavored contemporary urban soul sound fresh, mainly by keeping the focus on the songs. There's nothing extraneous on Back at One: all 13 songs are given clean presentations, and he blesses them with impassioned performances. At times, the material itself is not particularly interesting, but most albums have filler; what counts is the good stuff, and there's enough of it on Back at One to make it another solid effort from McKnight. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

R&B - Released July 12, 2011 | eOne Music


Pop - Released January 1, 1997 | Motown

On his third album, Anytime, Brian McKnight continues with the mellow, romantic urban R&B that has become his trademark, but there's a new twist. Most of the album consists of songs he has written and produced, but "You Should Be Mine," the first single pulled from Anytime, is produced by Puff Daddy and features a rap by Mase. On paper, the pairing seems a little odd, but it works surprisingly well, as does "Hold Me," which was co-written by Mary J. Blige and features Trackmasterz. McKnight hasn't exhausted its possibilities yet -- Anytime is as strong as its predecessor -- but "You Should Be Mine" and "Hold Me" suggest that he may be better off pursuing a new, hip-hop-influenced direction. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo

R&B - Released April 15, 2014 | eOne Music

On Just Me, Brian McKnight works almost exclusively with his sons, Brian Jr. and Nico, and comes up with an album that is part experiment, part return to form. The results are mixed. One of the surprises comes with "Fall 5.0," a classic heart-struck McKnight song if not for some use of Auto-Tune, which trivializes the sentiment. "Husband 2.0" is a conflicted, teeth-gritted rocker. Wham!'s "Careless Whisper" gets a bleary acoustic jazz overhaul. The closing "Just Me," a naked piano ballad, features some of McKnight's most frank lyrics: "Life can be shit/I wouldn't change one day of it." Two of the disc’s better songs, where McKnight sounds most natural, come across as thinly veiled tributes; "Temptation" owes so much to Marvin Gaye's "I Want You" that it might as well be titled "You Want Me (The Wrong Way)," while "Without You" is clearly inspired by '70s Stevie Wonder. Longtime fans not open to the new developments should be more satisfied with the second disc, an intimate and biographical live set that is twice as long as the studio album. Alone with his acoustic guitar or piano, McKnight runs through many of his hits and throws in some covers, including a patch that incorporates Nat King Cole, Stevie, and Michael Jackson. © Andy Kellman /TiVo

Pop - Released January 1, 2003 | Motown (Mercury)

Brian McKnight found a good pattern for his releases after 1997's Anytime, which featured the breakout hip-hop crossover "You Should Be Mine (Don't Waste Your Time)." After that, he usually made concessions to changing trends in R&B (since a few changeups are good for any artist), but dedicated most of his records to the type of smooth jams he loves to sing and his fans love to hear. U Turn isn't the change of direction hinted at in the title; in fact, it's very close to format, with a pair of rap features (for Nelly and Fabolous) but plenty of space for McKnight's earnest, heartfelt crooning. Over half the album was not only written by McKnight but performed and produced by him as well, and although his writing is among the best in R&B, the backing tracks are bland meldings of piano, synthesized strings, and canned beats. No surprise then, that the best tracks here are the ones where he can focus on his voice, like the classic regret ballad "Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda," the backing left in the capable hands of veterans Damon Thomas and Harvey Mason Jr. The rap crossovers are solid, more than just pairings with commercial successes; loved-up rappers like Nelly and Fabolous work well rhyming over McKnight, and the Rockwilder production on the title track is a good match with an R&B singer. © John Bush /TiVo

R&B - Released June 26, 2020 | SoNo Recording Group LLC


R&B - Released November 20, 2006 | Warner Records

Just about the smartest thing Brian McKnight could do in 2006 is collaborate with Tim & Bob, a veteran do-it-all studio duo who have quietly contributed to many of the best and/or most successful R&B tracks -- including Boyz II Men's "Vibin," Sisqó's "Thong Song," and Bobby Valentino's "Slow Down" -- of the past 12 years. McKnight does exactly that on Ten, an album that features four Tim & Bob collaborations. Two of the songs rank as high as anything from McKnight's past: "Used to Be My Girl" and "Unhappy Without You," despite reading like bitter pre- and post-breakup laments, carry the nuanced bounce and swagger that held up Valentino's first album, and McKnight is as impassioned as ever. In the hands of most other male vocalists, the lyrics would probably sound like embittered rants from an insufferable jerk. It's spry grown folks' R&B. Apart from these tracks, as well as one collaboration with Brian Cox, McKnight handles all the writing and production. From this portion of the album, "Shoulda Been Lovin' You" is the standout, an elegant throwback to Marvin Gaye's "I Want You" where seduction is swapped out for regret and self-flagellation, both of which come off as real talk rather than pitiful wallowing. With 2005's Gemini and this release -- two of his finest albums -- McKnight is on something of a roll. © Andy Kellman /TiVo

R&B - Released January 1, 1991 | Island Mercury

Brian McKnight's self-titled debut album is a mix of quiet storm and jazz-tinged R&B lite, with a few up-tempo numbers thrown in. The album opens with the New Jack Swing lite of "Yours," and leads into other mid-tempo, early-'90s sounding R&B. Some songs, including "Stay the Night," even incorporate the electric guitar, an instrument which was virtually forgotten in pop music by the end of the decade. The album produced one major hit, the teary ballad "One Last Cry." Brian McKnight, with his brand of songwriter-driven, piano-man quiet storm, was unique among 1990s male solo singers, and unexpectedly became one of the genre's biggest (and only) stars, with each album building on the previous one's success. For that reason, perhaps, this album is less commercial and more jazz-leaning than his later discs, especially towards the album's second half. Other highlights include his silky cover of the Hall & Oats staple "I Can't Go for That" (which features the album's only rap) and the jazz nugget "Is the Feeling Gone." A great album for a rainy winter afternoon. © Jose F. Promis /TiVo

R&B - Released January 1, 1995 | Island Mercury

Brian McKnight has become the latest in a series of after-hours-style R&B heroes, matinee idols with decent voices who parlay suggestiveness, romantic lyrics, and sex appeal into sizable popularity among female fans. McKnight's strength is his coy delivery and savvy selection of material; he never does any tune that forces him to stretch the upper or lower register, nor does he experiment much with reggae, hip-hop, or cutting-edge production. McKnight keeps it simple, mostly mellow, and love-oriented, though the single "Keep It on the Down Low" demonstrates an effectiveness with faster numbers not previously evident. As a songwriter he's efficient, if rather straightforward; as a singer he's more steadfast than soulful, and more predictable than unforgettable. There's not a lot to like or dislike about I Remember You, which may be the problem; it's so generic and reflective of everything and nothing that it doesn't do much for anyone who wants to be confronted, inspired, or even mildly stimulated. It's the ideal late-night quiet storm session, aimed at those who enjoy getting the ambience of R&B without the intensity. © Ron Wynn /TiVo

R&B - Released January 1, 2001 | Motown

R&B crooner Brian McKnight dropped his fifth studio release, Superhero, in 2001. The recording essentially offers up the same romantic and sensitive mid-tempo R&B love songs McKnight has become famous for. However, there are some choice departures by McKnight, reflecting his adventurous side. The title track is a steady and strong (gasp!) rock song, complete with electric guitars and driven percussion; it is slightly reminiscent of a (gentler) Living Colour style. The generally soft McKnight should venture into the rock arena more often, as he wears this hat well. McKnight also plays a wailing solo on the song to boot. Nice job. Elsewhere, the bonus track, "Groovin' Tonight," is a bouncing R&B jam with flows courtesy of Nate Dogg and backing vocals by McKnight. This is fun stuff. Returning to McKnight's standard fare, "My Kind of Girl," featuring 'N Sync's Justin Timberlake, is a sweet, breezy number, centered around light acoustic guitar playing, an instrument most fans don't associate with McKnight, who is generally shown behind the keys. The winning combination of the two singers' smooth vocals adds to the song's airy appeal. While the album is not groundbreaking, it does show consistency and growth by the talented McKnight. Is it super? No. Worthy? Yes. © Liana Jonas /TiVo

R&B - Released February 8, 2005 | UNI - MOTOWN

How do you approach an album that's lush and elegant on one hand and lyrically nasty on the other? Bring your lover and your playful side because Gemini is an aptly named loose and free bedroom winner from Brian McKnight. The cool crooner has had little trouble going platinum in the past, but his albums have also been a bit too patchy, too concerned with being contemporary, and too clogged with guest stars to let McKnight's overabundance of talent really stretch its legs. Rappers Juvenile, Skip, and Akon liven up the slick and sneaky "Watcha Gonna Do?," while Talib Kweli's short appearance on "She" doesn't feel tacked on at all. That's where the concessions to music of the moment stop, and while they're not at all unnecessary, the album really succeeds when McKnight wears all his singer, composer, musician, and producer hats at once and brews up something between Prince's self-titled release and a Sweetback album. Sprinkle in some up to date innuendo and you've got a more soulful, mature alternative to R. Kelly, but what could have been a perfect collection of music for grown folks is dragged down by a couple tracks of filler. "Stay" wanders just a shade too much and "Your Song" is too crowded with clichés to deserve such a jazzy delivery, but there's still enough of an album left to consider this one of McKnight's best. Equally catchy and effortless, "What We Do Here" will be listed on the sticker of McKnight's next best-of, while heartstring-pullin' ballad "Everytime You Go Away" brings to mind Back at One's best tracks. The "lose that loser and get in bed with me" slow funker "Grown Man Business" and "Here With You" ("I reach around and grab a little booty/And it feels so goooood") represent the swaggering but no less sincere side of the album, a great yin to the precious and sweet yang found elsewhere. There are hints of the jazz album McKnight plans to do next, nice hints that it'll be as pleasing as it is polished. Minus a couple wanderers, Gemini is just like that. Glossy but deep R&B with an extra helping of confidence, cool swagger, and expensive satin sheets. © David Jeffries /TiVo

R&B - Released January 1, 2011 | Motown (Mercury)

Thirteen years is a long time in urban/R&B circles, which leaves the rangy career of Brian McKnight sounding like the work of several different artists when compiled in a package like From There to Here: 1989-2002. Most of his material has the sound of soulful adult contemporary, as on quite a few tracks compiled here: "One Last Cry," "Crazy Love," and "Love Is" (the latter featuring Vanessa Williams). McKnight also proved amenable to adding hip-hop beats and contemporary productions comparatively early in his career, and the collection follows this angle as well. The song selections are quite good, ably showing McKnight's technically perfect and artistically pleasing voice to good effect. What makes this a better compilation than ones on most other artists is the fact that Brian McKnight albums tended to have far too much filler to justify getting into the records on their own. One quibble, though: this would've been the perfect disc to anthologize his popular version of the Christmas chestnut "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." © John Bush /TiVo

R&B - Released February 22, 2019 | The SoNo Recording Group


Soul - Released February 26, 2016 | Brian McKnight Music LLC

After the release of More Than Words, Brian McKnight established his own label, Brian McKnight Music, through the artist-friendly Kobalt Label Services, and went about making his third proper studio album outside the major-label system. Even more organic than what immediately preceded it, Better is filled with lively songs that are well crafted but don't seem the least bit fussed over. McKnight sounds like he's having as much fun as ever, gleefully flitting from falsetto disco-funk jams to lonesome, modern country-flavored ballads. It's all free and easy and allows for some whimsical moves, like the reggae backing on "Goodbye" and the tricky prog/pop-funk hybrid "Key 2 My Heart," the latter cut being where his love for Swedish trio Dirty Loops is most evident. There are occasional odd quirks, like the winking manner in which he slips "bitch" into the chorus of "Strut," and the way he throws a sharp curve, the tipsy newfound-love rocker "Just Enough," so early in the sequence. Several tracks do keep it simple and heartfelt, the qualities for which McKnight is most known, heard best on the humble title track, "Uh Oh Feeling," and "Like I Do." Mercifully, this material is a lot less erratic than the back cover typography (which displays McKnight's name as "B. McKnight," "B. Mcknight," "brian mcknight," "Brian McKnight," and "BRIAN MCKNIGHT"). © Andy Kellman /TiVo

Pop - Released January 1, 2016 | Sono Recording Group


R&B - Released July 6, 2018 | Sono Recording Group

Brian McKnight's studio albums from 2009 through 2016, a period beginning with Evolution of a Man and ending with Better, were largely casual if always spirited, simultaneously self-indulgent and off the cuff. With frequent use of traditional instrumentation, they also tended to diverge from the prevailing programmed and otherwise synthesized sounds of contemporary R&B. On Genesis, McKnight opts to switch it up with modern production stylings, though he's not competing with the stoned, lecherous, younger likes of Bryson Tiller and Ty Dolla $ign here. In fact, the approach resembles that of 2006's Ten, for which McKnight connected with Tim Kelley and Bob Robinson to sound up to date with typically mature songwriting true to his age and experience. McKnight reconnects with Kelley, who serves beside him as co-producer, and the result is similarly positive, with no hint of creative desperation or compromise. Overall, this is more rooted in the electronic-oriented R&B tradition of Kashif and company than, say, an attempt to keep up with mid- to late-2010s hitmakers such as DJ Mustard and Metro Boomin. Just as significantly, McKnight's lyrics and melodies come across as more considered than they did on the latter preceding albums. The usual situations and emotions -- romantic devotion, sexual longing, pleading for commitment, and so forth -- are covered with fresh touches. One of McKnight's best albums, Genesis, also marks 25 years since the singer released his debut. Remarkably, his voice has barely changed since his arrival at the tail-end of the new jack swing era. © Andy Kellman /TiVo

R&B - Released March 19, 2013 | eOne Music

McKnight's first album since 2011, More Than Words is filled with references to late-'70s and early-'80s R&B and soft rock. They're unmistakable from the beginning, with the opening "Don't Stop" driven by a chunky Slave-like bassline, while the following "Letsomebodyluvu" sports McKnight's Michael McDonald-style background vocal. "Get U 2 Stay" is obvious in its indebtedness to Aja/Gaucho-era Steely Dan, languid and sweet with unmistakably Donald Fagen-like melodies and a quote from "Hey Nineteen." McKnight adds a slightly nutty lyrical touch, mentioning designer footwear and "stretchy pants," and noting that he plays in a band and is "a golf ball hittin' machine." "She Doesn't Know" could have been written with Ray Parker Jr.'s cleverly simple storytelling style in mind. A fair portion of the album, such as "More Than Words," "Nothing But a Thang," and "Livewithoutyou," is more in line with McKnight's own refined style of adult contemporary R&B. Single "4th of July" also fits the bill, though its surprising bass croaks resemble the distorted sample of Locksmith's "Far Beyond" heard in Basement Jaxx's "Red Alert." This is McKnight's most enjoyable album since 2006's Ten. It would be his weirdest release even if it didn't feature him swapping lead vocals with sons Brian Jr. and Niko on songs titled "Ididntreallymeantoturnuout" and "The Front the Back the Side." © Andy Kellman /TiVo

Soul - Released October 27, 2009 | E1 Music


Ambient/New Age - Released January 1, 1998 | Motown

With the help of several R&B artists, including Boyz II Men and Claude McKnight from Take 6, Brian McKnight's Bethlehem is a joyful, romantic holiday album. Religious Christmas songs like "The First Noel," "Hail Mary," "Silent Night," and "Bethlehem Tonight" are mixed in with contemporary tracks such as "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "Home for the Holidays," "Christmas Time Is Here," and "Christmas Eve with You." Overall, Bethlehem is a diverse collection of traditional and modern-day Christmas songs with something for everyone celebrating the season. © Gina Boldman /TiVo

R&B - Released October 27, 2009 | eOne Music

Brian McKnight's lone set of non-Christmas material for Warner Bros., 2006's Ten, peaked exactly where his previous six proper albums topped out (within the Top Five of Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop chart), yet he finds himself on E1 (formerly Koch) for Evolution of a Man. Though he has written and produced plenty of his own material in the past, he did it all on this one, and presumably provided much of its instrumentation. It's a set that is predominantly slow, sparse, and intimate. Most of the album's last two-thirds offers familiar McKnight fare -- sensitive, soothing backdrops that are at least comforting when not uplifting. Earlier on, as well as in a couple instances deeper into the album, McKnight takes some risks with tracks that contain little more than pattering percussion and twinkling keyboards; here, the sonics are more memorable than the songs, and not much of the album as a whole holds up to repeated listening. Some of McKnight's devoted fanbase will find the album rather fascinating since it's a change of pace, more a collection of loose sketches than a highly polished set. © Andy Kellman /TiVo