May 18, 2015 saw the release of something folks hadn’t seen in five years – a new Jamie Foxx album (Hollywood: Story of a Dozen Roses). Jamie Foxx as a musician is extremely talented – a classical trained pianist and a soulful vocalist. In other words, Foxx’s talent rivals or bests many of his contemporaries that are full-time musicians without question. The problem is, his albums aren’t always as indicative of his musicianship. Unpredictable (2005) is arguably his best effort, while Intuition (2008) spawned the Grammy-winning hit “Blame It” featuring T-Pain. As for Best Night Of My Life, well – it was merely so-so. The same can be said of Hollywood: Story Of A Dozen Roses, which is Foxx’s weakest effort of modern times.
Listening to Hollywood, the question becomes, was this ‘comeback’ really necessary? The answer is a resounding NO as Foxx does himself little favors. While Hollywood received acceptable marks from me and some other critics, the general consensus is this is an album to serves little purpose and certainly doesn’t enhance Foxx’s career. Adding, “salt to the wounds” that exemplifies Foxx’s fifth project is that album sales are definitely suspect.
It isn’t surprising that the numbers are modest for Foxx for a number of reasons. One is that he’s been out of the game for five years and R&B has grown even cooler in appeal than it did when Best Night Of My Life arrived in underwhelming fashion. Another reason for Foxx’s modesty is the fact that Hollywood was quietly released as opposed to being promoted with great fanfare. Doesn’t it seem that major labels are unwilling to promote R&B albums as aggressively anymore? But then turning the other cheek, why promote something that isn’t likely to sell?
Ultimately, while no one is asking Foxx to forget about his music career, Hollywood seems uninspired and bored all the way around. Foxx needlessly uses f-bombs as a means to sound ‘hip’ and contemporary, while his come-ons just don’t fit the normal perception folks have of a 47-year old man. Then couple blandness and at times tastelessness with a lack of motivation on the part of RCA to aggressively promote the album, and Hollywood just seems unnecessary. Do I personally enjoy having another Jamie Foxx album in my collection? Of course, but after listening and indulging into the deluxe edition that cost two extra dollars, I can’t say that I couldn’t have done without it or will ultimately remember the album.