Day 26 - Album Review

. Apr 1, 2008

Day 26’s debut, self-titled “Day 26” is an impressive album. Diddy’s direction over its conception demonstrates his experience over the years. When I was watching the “Making the Band 4” on MTV there was no doubt that the singers selected: Q, Willy, Mike, Robert, and Brian were talented, but Diddy’s demands on making the album in a matter of weeks made be skeptical about the album’s quality (just think about “Da Band”). However, Day 26 has put together one of the better mainstream R&B group albums in the last couple of years. Several of the songs are almost nostalgic of the R&B music from the late 90s into 2000 by male R&B super groups such as Dru Hill, 112, and Jagged Edge.

I understand that record labels like Bad Boy follow a formula when they attempt to create R&B groups, but Day 26 is simply not a merging of individuals that fit certain boy band labels, this group is unique. Robert, the best singer in the group, has a singing voice and style that is exceptional; he does not sound like anybody else in the game right now. If you do not know what I am talking about, check out his vocals on the second verse of “If It Wasn’t For You” and his adlibs towards the end of “Since You’ve Been Gone.” Robert sings from the pit of his soul and leaves it all on the record. Brian reminds of a young Sisqo (not when he went solo) and sings with emotion as each note lets you feel what he is trying to convey (Check out the second verse of “Since You’ve Been Gone”). Willy does not have an amazing singing ability, but consistently flows well to bring the songs together. Mike’s smooth vocal talent shines on the track “Co Star.” Finally, Q’s countertenor voice adds a subtle touch on the group, like on the first verse of “Are We in This Together.”

The production on the quintet’s debut album is amazing. “Exclusive (No Games)” was sung throughout the formation of Day 26 and was a big hit among fans (Check out the ballad version of the track). The group’s next single “Got Me Going” is full of hard-hitting bass beats and was produced by hit-maker Mario Winans. Other tracks on the album boast some of the most sought after R&B producers such as The Runners, The Hitmen, and one of the best R&B producers in Bryan Michael Cox that has consistently worked with Jagged Edge and also produced and written tracks for 112 and Dru Hill. Other not very well-known producers also shine on the album such as Malay with the amazing array of drumbeats on “I’m the Reason” and trumpets on “If It Wasn’t For You.”

Aside from the released singles from Day 26, some of the other tracks that stand out on the album are “Silly Love”, “Co Star”, and “Are We in This Together" that have potential for mainstream success. My favorite track on the album is “If It Wasn’t For You” as the flow of the song is smooth with heart-felt lyrics like, “I could be losin' my mind with nobody to talk to/ Lookin' in the mirror tryin' to figure out what's true / When I had no direction, you showed me more than my reflection.” “Since You’ve Been Gone,” has an almost Dru Hill-like feel and is the track with the most feeling behind it. The weakest track on the album is probably “In My Bed” with its over-simplified and cliché lyrics. Nevertheless, Day 26 shows promise as an R&B group that should be putting out hits for years to come if they can stay together. I am definitely going to be playing this CD for a while, and I have to give props to Puffy as his hands-on approach contributed to the formation of one of the better R&B acts out right now.