by: Chico DeBarge

Drug dependency is a commonly used metaphor for being lost in love, but in Chico DeBarge's case, Addiction means real-life drug dependency. The singer is so up-front about it that he opens his sixth album by introducing himself at a meeting for addicts, indicating that his life has remained full of ups and downs. After surviving a 2003 stabbing, he got hooked on prescription painkillers, but he goes deeper into his past on "Slick (Addiction)," a relaxed jazz number with a breezy cadence, where "Shooting for the moon in a small balloon, thought nobody cared at all" startles, no matter the easygoing nature of the song. Other than that and the stealthily funky "Do My Bad Alone," in which DeBarge puts himself in the shoes of a falsely accused abuser, the album is centered around seduction. DeBarge's attempts at staying up with performers half his age -- that is, in terms of lyrical salaciousness and references to Patrón -- tend not to be pulled off so well. Nevertheless, this set should please the followers who were a little put off by the haziness of 2003's (actually pretty great) Free. ~ Andy Kellman

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