The soundtrack to Will Smith's 2005 theatrical release of the same name features a brilliant survey of soul and R&B over the past three decades. Nu-soul, new jack, classic soul, Motown, disco, and hip-hop all make appearances in one form or another, with the first three songs being from relatively new artists Amerie, John Legend, and Kelly Rowland and Sleepy Brown backing up an Earth, Wind & Fire that still packs a punch. Legend's cover of Stevie Wonder's "Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing" doesn't come close to the original, but treats it with the appropriate reverence that will make those who remember the original reminisce fondly about it and new listeners want to seek it out. But the strongest suit in Hitch's deck lies in its middle section, with soulful classic contributions from the O'Jays, the Temptations, Jimmy Cliff, Martha Reeves, and Earth, Wind & Fire (reappearing with their classic ballad "Reasons"). While the new tracks are impressive and enjoyable, it's this combination that makes Hitch an enjoyable listen, with something for everyone -- regardless of age -- to enjoy. ~ Rob Theakston

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