Raymond Fiore
December 22, 2003 AT 05:00 AM EST

In the School of Neo-Soul, Musiq’s class superlative might be Most Average Artist to Sell Millions. He possesses neither the enigmatic charisma of D’Angelo nor the vocal adventurousness of Bilal, choosing instead to play up his humble-pie persona (as seen in the roller-rink romance video for the retrofunky single ”forthenight”). But while the former ”Soulchild” is maddeningly predictable, the grooves on soulstar prove surprisingly rewarding. Just when you think Musiq’s songs remain the same, he unleashes a series of harmonically lush chords that elevate him way above average.

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