Al Green: Lay It Down 

From the first swell of the horns, Lay It Down is quintessential Al Green. The album is everything one would expect from the man who has been hailed as the "king of soul." In 1976, Green became an ordained pastor and opened his own church, which reflected heavily in his music during the '80s and early '90s. Lay It Down is the first chart-topping record Green has produced since the late '70s and is deserving of the praise it's received. Album producer and drummer Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is best known for his drumming in the hip-hop group The Roots. Questlove describes Green as one of his biggest inspirations, and his adoration of the soul icon shines through in the smooth sound and rich textures of this album. True to much of Green's work, the lyrical content of Lay It Down is not substantial enough to carry on its own—the album consists mostly of songs about falling and being in love—but his delivery is so sincere and catchy that the words work. Green has a voice that is instantly recognized and admired, but for this album, he takes his sound a step further and is backed up by Anthony Hamilton, John Legend and Corinne Bailey Rae. Although Lay It Down is not Green's strongest album, the 62-year-old soul legend's vocals still possess the sexy charm and disarming sincerity of his early work. What the album lacks in lyrical depth it makes up for with genuine soul.

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