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BlackSUMMERS'night (2016).jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJuly 1, 2016 (2016-07-01)
GenreSoul, neo soul
ProducerMusze, Hod David, Stuart Matthewman
Maxwell chronology
BLACK summers' night
Singles from blackSUMMERS'night
  1. "Lake by the Ocean"
    Released: April 8, 2016

blackSUMMERS'night is the fifth studio album by American R&B singer and songwriter Maxwell. He produced most of the record with longtime collaborator and multi-instrumentalist Hod David; two songs were also co-produced by Stuart Matthewman. The album was released on July 1, 2016, by Columbia Records and charted at number three on the Billboard 200 while garnering widespread acclaim from critics.


blackSUMMERS'night was Maxwell's first record in seven years, following 2009's BLACKsummers'night, which was the first in a planned trilogy of albums whose names were distinguished by the capitalization of letters in one phrase of the same title.[1] Maxwell told The Wall Street Journal in June 2016 that the trilogy is "loosely based on the concept of a night out for a woman named Black Summers". He produced most of blackSUMMERS'night with longtime collaborator Hod David.[2]

Release and promotion[edit]

blackSUMMERS'night was released by Columbia Records on July 1, 2016.[1] In its first week of release, the album charted at number three on the Billboard 200 and sold 59,000 album-equivalent units, 57,000 of which were entire copies of the record. It became the fourth album of Maxwell's career to reach the top 10 of the chart.[3]

To promote the album, "Lake by the Ocean" was released on April 8, 2016, as the lead single.[4] On June 3, a lyric video for the song "1990x" was released.[5] Maxwell also toured the United States in support of the album, performing 29 concert dates from June to August.[6]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[9]
Chicago Tribune3/4 stars[10]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[11]
The Guardian4/5 stars[12]
The Irish Times3/5 stars[13]
Rolling Stone4/5 stars[15]
USA Today3.5/4 stars[18]

blackSUMMERS'night was met with widespread critical acclaim. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 86, based on 15 reviews.[8]

Reviewing the album in the Los Angeles Times, Lorraine Ali found it charming and evocative while describing Maxwell as a "transcendent", multi-dimensional singer.[19] Jim Farber from Entertainment Weekly said the record "exudes enough confidence to let his heart show and to let his music grow in any direction his muse demands" while offering "fresh textures to familiar soul sounds".[11] In the opinion of Rolling Stone's Joe Levy, "the music evokes a tradition disappearing before our eyes – the spiritualized eroticism of Prince, the jazzy soul extensions of Earth, Wind and Fire – without ever being of it."[15] In The Guardian, Dave Simpson called it "a classy comeback collection of anguished R&B".[12]

Paul Mardles was less enthusiastic in The Observer, suggesting the record lacked memorable songs and innovative sounds; apart from funky songs such as "Lake by the Ocean", blackSUMMERS'night makes Maxwell, "in the era of Frank Ocean, look like the yesterday’s man of R&B", Madles wrote.[20] Jim Carroll of The Irish Times also found the music relatively "old-fashioned" and wrote, "there are far too many moments here when he appears to be relying on that rich, chocolate voice to woo you rather than try something different or risky."[13]

Track listing[edit]

1."All the Ways Love Can Feel"Musze, Hod David, Travis SaylesDavid, Musze5:21
2."The Fall"Musze, David, Sayles, Shedrick MitchellDavid, Musze4:11
3."III"Musze, DavidDavid, Musze4:47
4."Lake by the Ocean"Musze, DavidDavid, Musze3:59
5."Fingers Crossed"Musze, DavidDavid, Musze4:38
6."Hostage"Musze, DavidDavid, Musze3:55
7."1990x"Musze, DavidDavid, Musze4:44
8."Gods"Musze, DavidDavid, Musze3:35
9."Lost"Musze, Stuart MatthewmanMatthewman, Musze3:57
10."Of All Kind"Musze, DavidDavid, Musze3:42
11."Listen Hear"Musze, MatthewmanMatthewman, Musze3:38
12."Night"Earth 0:23


Credits are adapted from AllMusic.[9]



  1. ^ a b Luecking, Eric (June 30, 2016). "Maxwell: blackSUMMERS'night". PopMatters. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
  2. ^ Setaro, Shawn (July 1, 2016). "Maxwell Releases New Album 'blackSUMMERS'night'". Complex. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  3. ^ Caulfield, Keith (July 10, 2016). "Blink-182 Bumps Drake from No. 1 on Billboard 200 Albums Chart". Billboard. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  4. ^ Mitchell, Gail (May 8, 2016). "Maxwell Invites Fans to the 'Lake By the Ocean'". Billboard. Archived from the original on 2016. Retrieved May 13, 2016.
  5. ^ Hamm, Ken (June 3, 2016). "Maxwell Releases An Out Of This World Lyric Video For '1990x'". SoulBounce. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  6. ^ Zo (2016). "Maxwell Shares Airy, Delicate New Single '1990x'". Okayplayer. Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  7. ^ "blackSUMMERS'night by Maxwell reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved November 14, 2016.
  8. ^ a b "Reviews for blackSUMMERS'night (2016) by Maxwell". Metacritic. Retrieved July 5, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Kellman, Andy. "blackSUMMERS'night – Maxwell". AllMusic. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
  10. ^ Kot, Greg (July 1, 2016). "Maxwell remains a mysterious island unto himself on 'blackSUMMERS'night'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
  11. ^ a b Farber, Jim (June 29, 2016). "Maxwell's blackSUMMERS'night: EW Review". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on July 2, 2016. Retrieved July 4, 2016.
  12. ^ a b Simpson, Dave (June 30, 2016). "Maxwell: BlackSUMMERS'night review – anguished, classy soul man returns". The Guardian. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
  13. ^ a b Carroll, Jim (July 28, 2016). "Maxwell – black SUMMERS' night album review: the old-fashioned soul man lays it on thick". The Irish Times. Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  14. ^ Haithcoat, Rebecca (July 12, 2016). "Maxwell: blackSUMMERS'night". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 14, 2016.
  15. ^ a b Levy, Joe (July 1, 2016). "blackSUMMERS'night". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
  16. ^ Soto, Alfred (June 28, 2016). "Review: Maxwell Relieves That Stress (on His Syllables) With 'blackSUMMERS'night'". Spin. Retrieved July 3, 2016.
  17. ^ Anderson, Jason (September 2016). "Maxwell: blackSUMMERS'night". Uncut (232): 76.
  18. ^ Gardner, Elysa (July 3, 2016). "Maxwell looks towards the light in 'blackSUMMERS'night'". USA Today. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
  19. ^ Ali, Lorraine (July 1, 2016). "Maxwell's Long-Awaited 'blackSUMMERS'night' Flirts with Electronics and Jazz". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
  20. ^ Mardles, Paul (July 3, 2016). "Maxwell: blackSummers' Night review – smooth 70s retro soul". The Observer. Retrieved July 7, 2016.
  21. ^ [2016&cat=a " – Maxwell – Blacksummers'night [2016]"]. Hung Medien. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  22. ^ [2016&cat=a " – Maxwell – Blacksummers'night [2016]"] (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  23. ^ [2016&cat=a " – Maxwell – Blacksummers'night [2016]"] (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  24. ^ "Maxwell Chart History (Canadian Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved July 12, 2016.
  25. ^ [2016&cat=a " – Maxwell – Blacksummers'night [2016]"] (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  26. ^ "NZ Heatseekers Albums Chart". Recorded Music NZ. July 11, 2016. Retrieved July 8, 2016.
  27. ^ [2016&cat=a " – Maxwell – Blacksummers'night [2016]"]. Hung Medien. Retrieved July 13, 2016.
  28. ^ "Maxwell | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. Retrieved July 9, 2016.
  29. ^ "Maxwell Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved July 12, 2016.
  30. ^ "Maxwell Chart History (Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved July 12, 2016.
  31. ^ "Top Billboard 200 Albums – Year-End 2016". Billboard. Retrieved December 9, 2016.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]