If Eric Benet’s career can be defined by anything, it’s the purity of emotion. He’s consistently made music that speaks to love and speaks from the soul and on Lost In Time he does it once again. Featuring duets with Faith Evans, Chrisette Michele, Ledisi and the O’Jays Eddie Levert, Lost In Time is at once a sumptuous homage to and an expansion of the sweet soul of the 1970’s.
“I want people to remember what music is and what it can feel like; and to do that, I knew the record had to be all about the musician and the actual song, “ offers the multiple-Grammy nominee. The desire to do that took me all the way back to that time—around 1972 through 1976—and like a lot of others, my development as an artist is a direct result of being immersed in that era.“ To keep that connection to the music and time that shaped him, Eric returned to his hometown of Milwaukee, WI and recorded with local musicians, including the Milwaukee Symphony’s string section. “I like loops and a drum machines as much as the next person; but when it comes to something that resonates in your soul, you have to have something constructed with live musicians.”
The emotion runs deep on the lush first single “Sometimes I Cry”, written and produced by Eric and long-time creative partner (and cousin) George Nash Jr. “’Sometimes I Cry’ is about how you’ve completely moved on but still there’s still some melancholy about the break-up. Maybe you’re even dating somebody, but sometimes, when you’re alone, you cry and you’re sad about what could have been.”
Love is also the message on “Always A Reason,” one of the first songs written for the album. “I had this concept and the feeling, but I also wanted to approach it lyrically authentic. When you go back to the 70’s there’s an element of almost juvenile corn. Like ‘I love you so, I’ll never let you go’. So I wanted it to resonate emotionally but be very much of that era to be classic. There was quite a bit of giddiness involved with writing this: discovering a part of the past you didn’t know was there and having a giddy little feeling. I just wanted to almost stand there at the door of corny,” Eric laughs, “but not walk in. “
Mid-tempo and breezy, the aptly titled “Feel Good” featuring Faith Evans is another highlight. “It’s just a young, driving in the summer-time, roller-skating kind of song”. The track reunites Eric and Faith for the first time since their 1999 cover of Toto’s “Georgy Porgy”; and to hear Eric tell it, the wait was worth it. “Sometimes you don’t know what you’re going to get when you work with someone, but Faith was just a dream. I had been waiting for just the right song for us; and as soon as I wrote “Feel Good,” I just felt her voice all over it.”
Speaking of voices, the O’Jay’s Eddie Levert brings a dose of soul power to “Paid,” a song that Eric freely admits, “wanted to sound straight up like an O’Jays track, and it comes off like that.“