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29 June, 2009@6:50 am

Ginuwine’s A Man’s Thoughts starts out with an interlude in which he’s introduced as a “legend.”  That’s probably a little strong, but he has given us some nice anthems over the years–his early work with Timbaland (Ginuwine…the Bachelor and 100% Ginuwine), in particular, was actually exceptional.

A Man’s Thoughts is a very middle-of-the-road outing.  Nothing especially bad, nothing especially good.  “Show Off” and “Trouble” are up-tempo dance tracks where he emphasizes the point:  “Girl, if you keep shakin’ ya thang like dat..,” and so on.

“Last Chance” features a couple of very unromantic lyrics on the chorus such as, “If I only got one shot to win you/then call me Jordan fourth quarter in ’92,” and “I’m gonna do it/from a boy to a man/like Barack and his plan.” For a “legend” and ladies man like Ginuwine, I’m not sure referencing MJ in his prime and presidential politics is really the way to go.

A second interlude finds Ginuwine claiming he’s got some controversial thoughts going through his head.  If that’s true, he didn’t include any of them on this album, but things do get interesting with “Lying to Each Other.”  Over a nicely guitar-laced backdrop he describes a relationship where the bloom is off the rose.  He’d “rather watch cable” and she “stays on the Internet” so she doesn’t have to see his face. Now this is the kind of real talk that can give R&B some teeth.

In the midst of this seemingly doomed relationship, though, Ginuwine breaks it down like this: “We beef/we fight/we fuss/but tonight we kissing/we touching/even if we have to lie/I’ma tell you/baby you’re the best/you’re gonna tell me/baby you’re the best/we’re just gonna be/two people in bed, lying to each other.”

Unfortunately, things don’t reach that level on the rest of the album.  It’s mostly very standard, though non-offensive, smooth R&B (Ginuwine has never had any real nastiness in him, which is not a bad thing).  This will be fine for background if you’re out on a date or chillin’ with your significant other.

But there are no particular highlights before or after “Lying to Each Other.”  On “Bridge to Love,” Brandy shows up, and you know how it goes from there.  - Stefan Schumacher

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