Ari Lennox : age/sex/location Review
Ari Lennox returns and has released a new album titled age/sex/location. Lennox has not released an album for the past three years. Now she brings us a 12-track sophomore release that has her R&B vocals augmented with appearances from Lucky Daye (“Boy Bye”), Summer Walker (“Queen Space”), and Chlöe (“Leak It”), with production from J. Cole, Elite, Jermaine Dupri, Bryan-Michael Cox, J. White Did It, Cardiak, and Organized Noize. “Transitional space. Very vulnerable codependent and validation seeking part of my life,” she wrote. “I remember the countless times I was kicked out of dating apps because they didn’t think I was really myself; it reminded me of those age/sex/location days where I actually wasn’t being myself in those chat rooms,” Lennox notes the album is about healing and the challenges that comes with that process. “No more tip-toeing. No more docile. Providing grace and compassion to myself. Blocking those that no longer serve me or just literally not responding. Blocking the resistance to heal. Allowing accountability and maturing. Allowing growth to happen. Allowing self-worth and self-love and inner work to happen. Allowing therapy. Allowing dating me to happen. Doing things I like to do whenever I want.”
“POF” has a soft repetitive keyboard figure that matches the rhythmic melody sung by Lennox. Lennox has a soulful voice; her tone fills the airwaves with emotion and sweet soulful sounds. The second time Lennox sings the melody, it would be nice if she would loosen up and add some variations. The backing vocals add interest, especially after the bridge. The drum sounds are fine, but I wonder if a more active beat at the end would push the sound to new heights. Lennox has vocal chops, though; no denying that.
“Hoodie” continues in the same sensual laid-back vibe. The many vocal layers in Lennox’s music are a strong theme. Unfortunately, the backing instruments are very repetitive. I think what a live-working band of musicians that share Lennox’s soulfulness would do for her music. The best parts are when Lennox lets loose at the ending and fills behind the melody with her soulful growls.
Age/sex/location certainly shows that Lennox can sing. However, the backing instruments and sounds could support her soulfulness better, in my opinion. When you think of all the great soul singers of the 60s and 70s, they all had terrific bands. Put Lennox in front of a hard hitting soul unit with real instrument, and it would be scary good!
September 9, 2022