One thing that has become increasingly clear through the past few years is that R&B is in a period of transition. There is a phase currently going on that finds the genre in a position different that what was traditionally there. While the sound has generally focused on love, sex and bringing heartfelt harmony to those emotions, that’s not the case as much lately. Not that it is necessarily a problem, but R&B has blurred it’s genre lines with that of Hip-Hop more and more.
Every now and then fans of the “traditional” style find themselves longing for that old feeling. With less people catering to it it’s always good to find gems that fit the mold. On the indie level Orlando, Florida’s Lester Sanchez fits the bill while also being able to tap into more modern sounds. Through his fluidity he manages to paint portraits of love and emotion in a way that deserves to be commended.
Lester Sanchez’s latest project “Mental Notes” finds him in a state of expression. From track to track he goes out of his way to clear his mind of thoughts pertaining to his muse. Love, lust, pain and hope can all be felt, making this project more akin to the ones we fell in love with yesteryear from a perspective of subject matter.
The project starts with “About Your Love”. This introductory track sets the tone, with Lester crooning about the one thing he needs – her love. He lays his case over the course of the song trying to convince the young lady that he is the one for her. The production here takes some cues from the EDM genre, but still maintains a certain level of honesty and transparency.
From there we get to one of the more radio-ready tracks with “All Alone”. This one has some hit potential, with it being one of the more modern sounding songs. Lester Sanchez dips into his Hip-Hop bag with a flow that is a singing/rapping hybrid. Helping to round the song out is fellow Orlando native Pressure Dommer who impresses with his 16.
On track 3 we find Lester continuing to “shoot his shot” at the apple of his eye. “New Phone, Who Dis” takes a popular saying and uses it as the backbone for the first slow jam of the EP. Lester explains to his muse that he doesn’t need anyone else, even going as far to say he’ll hit any other potential suitor with the “new phone, who dis” line. This was one of the singles to help promote “Mental Notes” and with its familiar hook I can understand why.
At that point the album shifts into the “Love Interlude”, an electro-based track on which Lester flips the script a bit looking at the other side of love. On a project where he has mainly focused on the happiness attraction can bring this song switches the tone. It leads into a portion of the set that is more moody. “Think About It” follows and is probably the song which most represents sadness. Lester Sanchez opens up about failures in the relationship and how they are affecting him in the current moment.
Though the darker sounds were a needed change of pace, he doesn’t dwell in the dumps, quickly picking the mood back up with another song that could be a fit for radio “Magic”. Of all the records I found this to be the one with the most replay value for me personally. It’s the type of song that could be on repeat at summer parties, clubs and cookouts. The Florida-based singer channels the island-infused sounds that have become more popular as of late with “Pull You Close”, another record that has the feeling of summer all over it.
As we approach the end of the album Lester continues to pull from that “mental notebook” of his, giving the listener different emotions that seem very heartfelt. “What You Trippin’ For” tells the tale of a man who is trying to the balance the hustle in a world where money is needed, while also trying to keep love in tact. The project closes out with one of the lead off singles “Let Love Grow”. Still one of my favorites on the album though the first released track, this one gives those classic feelings of hopefulness and high spirits.
Overall I would say that Lester Sanchez shows immense potential to his approach in R&B. Though there is a lot of polishing that needs to occur to take him to the next level, he proves on several records here that he can produce a product that will make you think, dance and most of all want to replay it. As summer approaches I would recommend it as his ability to express emotion in different ways works well.