Album Review

Raheem DeVaughn, ‘The Love and War Masterpeace’

March 1, 2010

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ESSENTIAL “Bulletproof’’

Stylish soulman Raheem DeVaughn attempts an ambitious manifesto as he lays out an agenda of love in tumultuous times. Through 16 luxurious songs, he says that only through inner healing can we begin to put the pieces of this fractured world together. Cornel West has a couple of spoken-word interludes, which stand as Greek choruses around DeVaughn’s message of love. There are no explicit mentions of war and tension here; the singer-songwriter seems to imply that we know just how much pain and suffering there is in the world. So he focuses on romance. All but three of the tracks are about intimacy and achieving transcendence through emotional and sexual union. DeVaughn is a patient vocalist who caresses words as sweetly as he proclaims to kiss thighs, and there’s genuine warmth to his tone. He brings wit (“B.O.B.’’ - that’s battery-operated boyfriend) as well as devotion to the table. The three songs that veer from this course include “Bulletproof,’’ “Revelations 2010,’’ and “Nobody Wins This War.’’ That all-star effort - featuring Chrisette Michele, Ledisi, and Jill Scott, among others - is a modern R&B declaration against worldwide brutality. It’s not memorable, but it makes its point. So does DeVaughn on this smartly executed set. (Out tomorrow) -- KEN CAPOBIANCO