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Album Review

Jeremih, 'Jeremih'

June 29, 2009
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R&B
Jeremih Jeremih
Def Jam
ESSENTIAL “Birthday Sex’’

With his smash, steamy single “Birthday Sex,’’ Jeremih has almost single-handedly made everyone look forward to getting older. The debut from the Chicago native doesn’t come close to capturing the magic of that small epiphany. It sounds like a disc from a 21-year-old who hasn’t developed a fully formed musical vision yet has great potential. A lot of the material here is as thin as Jeremih’s voice, which shows little range. No doubt the vocals will fill out as he matures, but we’ll have to see if the songs do as well. The disc opens with “That Body,’’ which steals from R. Kelly as well as from The-Dream’s production technique, followed by the terrific single. But it doesn’t maintain that momentum, and a bit of schizophrenia sets in. “My Sunshine’’ is a sweet piano-driven trifle filled with heartbreak, while “Starting All Over’’ is rendered with style, but “Imma Star (Everywhere We Are)’’ indulges in gratuitous self-congratulation. Producer Mick Shultz relies on a lot of electronic blips and swooshes as he compensates for Jeremih’s vocal limitations. But there are dynamic tracks here, including “Runway’’ (the remix should be killer) and “My Ride,’’ which, despite clumsy rhymes, bounces like Chrysler checks. (Out tomorrow)

KEN CAPOBIANCO