In the early 2000s, in one of the more pronounced (and successful) stylistic switch-ups I've heard of since, like, ever, British IDM dude Jamie Lidell traded in his electronic madness for an earnest blue-eyed sharkskin soul-man suit—and goddamn if it didn't work! The sincere pop/R&B genius of 2005's Multiply went from critical list topper to Target commercial theme in less than three moves, surprising the hell out of his label, pioneering electronic/indie house Warp Records, in the process.
Multiply's insanely on-point combo of warm, beat-happy underpinnings and lover-man crooning merely set the table for the steamin' stacked plate that is Jim, an album you'd better just get now so you can digest it before the radio, the TV, and everyone else plays it out for you. Jim finds Jamie still further from his experimental roots, going whole hog on an instant vintage Motown kick—and killing it. God knows it could've too easily veered into Jamiroquai funkcheese or John Legend supper-club soul, but Lidell (with the help of Canuck multi-instrumentalist Mocky and piano man Gonzales) keeps things raw and sweetly tuneful, swelling up with enough ecstatic chest-gone-burst soul that you can't help but forgive the Little Stevie Wonder swagger jack. I know it's not exactly breaking down walls in 2008 to emulate classic R&B, but, damn, when it's done right and real, it's compelling, timeless music (fuck y'all over-it-alls—Mary J. Blige loves Amy Winehouse, and I do, too).
I just know this all is gonna end up in heartbreak, though—Jamie blowing sky high, singing the theme to Monday Night Football, doing albums with Danger Mouse and rapping on Will.i.am songs. You, cool guy, you'll say you always hated him as you sip your fucking bubble tea, and I'll be forced to hear my current favorite song ever, "Figured Me Out," on commercials for Match.com and shit. Fuck it, I'll live.