King of Hearts (Lloyd album)
|King of Hearts|
|Studio album by|
|Released||July 5, 2011|
No Excuses Studio
(Santa Monica, California)
Setai Recording Studios
|Label||Zone 4, Interscope|
|Producer||Polow da Don (also exec.)|
|Singles from King of Hearts|
King of Hearts is the fourth studio album by American R&B recording artist Lloyd, released July 5, 2011, on Zone 4. Production for the album took place at several recording studios and was handled primarily by producer and Zone 4-head Polow da Don. It is Lloyd's first release after leaving his former record label Murder Inc. Records in 2009.
The album debuted at number 10 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 26,000 copies in its first week. Upon its release, King of Hearts received positive reviews from most music critics, who commended Lloyd's singing and Polow da Don's production, although some criticized its songwriting.
After releasing three albums for The Inc. Records, Lloyd left the record label in 2009 due to creative differences. He subsequently released an eight-track EP, Like Me: The Young Goldie EP, as a free download on the Internet. In 2010, Lloyd was featured on the Young Money hit single "BedRock" and signed to Zone 4, the label of producer and longtime friend Polow da Don. He previously worked with Lloyd on the latter's 2008 album Lessons in Love.
Recording sessions for the album took place at Doppler Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, No Excuses Studio in Santa Monica, California, Record Plant in Hollywood, California, and Setai Recording Studios in Miami, Florida. Polow da Don served as the album's executive producer and produced or co-produced all of its songs, managing sessions with background singers and horn and string sections. In an interview for Billboard, he said of his role on the album, "I promised [Lloyd] my full dedication. So I stopped doing a lot of work with a lot of other artists. I usually have seven songs on the radio at the same time, but I shut down shop to focus on his album". Lloyd has said of the album's music, "We've created something in the likes of what Justin Timberlake and Timbaland were able to create [on 'FutureSex/LoveSounds'] and Usher and Jermaine Dupri were able to create [on 'Confessions']".
Release and promotion
The album was released by Zone 4, with distribution through Interscope Records. It was released on July 5, 2011, in the United Kingdom, and on July 6 in the United States. In promotion of the album, Lloyd will accompany rapper Lil Wayne on the second leg of his I Am Music II tour during the summer.
The album's lead single, "Lay It Down", was released on August 31, 2010. It peaked at number 64 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and at number seven on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, becoming Lloyd's fourth top-ten hit on the chart. The second single "Cupid" peaked at number 11 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs.
"Dedication To My Ex (Miss That)", which features Andre 3000 and Lil Wayne, was released as the third single on August 9. "Be the One", which features Trey Songz and Young Jeezy, was originally planned to be the third single. A music video for the song was still released on December 19.
The album debuted at number 10 on the US Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 26,000 copies in the United States. It is Lloyd's third top-10 album in the US. As of July 20, 2011, King of Hearts has sold 35,600 copies in the US, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
|The A.V. Club||(B+)|
|The Boston Globe||(mixed)|
|Los Angeles Times|||
|The New York Times||(favorable)|
|The Village Voice||(favorable)|
King of Hearts received positive reviews from most music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 77, based on 12 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews". AllMusic editor Andy Kellman called it "clearly the singer’s best album yet [...] his most unified set of songs", adding that "Lloyd has pretty much perfected the art of transcending the modern-R&B Lothario cliché". Maura Johnston of The Village Voice described the album as "utterly replayable" and commented that it "veers back and forth between unabashed romanticism [...], club-borne lust [...], and the brooding, yet unleashed love songs that helped him initially break onto the scene". The A.V. Club's Evan Rytlewski complimented Polow da Don's material for Lloyd and wrote that the album "doubles down on his amorous enthusiasm, pushing it to such delirious extremes that these songs feel risky and uncharted even as they play to his most obvious strengths". Glenn Gamboa of Newsday called it "ambitious" and commended Lloyd as "a bold thinker and a skillful singer". Pitchfork's David Drake praised "the chemistry of Lloyd with producer Polow da Don", writing that "his work is primarily devoted to underlining Lloyd's vocals for maximum impact." Drake commented that the album "takes a major step toward streamlining his sound, pushing Lloyd's voice to the center and making a bid for a higher level of recognition in the R&B world," and elaborated on its musical significance, stating:
A distinctive talent, Lloyd often let his vocals dance around the periphery of a song, giving his best tracks a spacey, removed quality. [...] Lloyd's knack for endearing romanticism is a vehicle for great music, and when the record falters, it feels like a misunderstanding of how his talent operates. [...] The heart of the record, though, are tracks like the euphoric headrush 'Jigsaw', where Lloyd's sense of rhythm lets his vocals dance confidently in the subdivisions of the groove, balancing sugary enthusiasm with deft physicality. Many of the album's best songs seem to inspire comparisons with dancing: There is a connection to the idea of dance as liberation here, as Lloyd's blushing sincerity builds up potential energy, the nimble performance acts as a release valve.— David Drake
However, Ken Capobianco of The Boston Globe found its songwriting "weak" and stated, "Lloyd shows little nuance, and Polow Da Don doesn’t color in the tracks with enough interesting musical flourishes to mask some of the vocalist’s weaknesses". Slant Magazine's Matthew Cole criticized its "trendy production choices" and found its songs ill-suited for Lloyd, writing that he "fares best when he stays on the sillier, sexier side of things". Despite calling it a "strong-laced R&B vocal album", Mireya Fernandez of The Source perceived an "inability to definitively differentiate from the vast sea of other R&B singers". The Washington Post's Allison Stewart complimented "Dedication to My Ex (Miss That)", but stated, "it’s the first and only track on 'King of Hearts' to inspire any kind of strong reaction at all". Los Angeles Times writer Jeff Weiss commented that "Lloyd possesses a levitating croon and admirably fills out most of producer Polow Da Don’s synthetic boudoir songs", while noting "not a cliché left unemployed". Jon Caramanica of The New York Times viewed a lack of "focus" with the songs, but commended Polow da Don for "feeling the full range of [Lloyd's] lushness" in his production. Rolling Stone writer Jody Rosen commended its "salacious silliness" and compared Lloyd to recording artist R. Kelly. Steve Jones of USA Today stated, "it's Lloyd's energetic but smooth deliveries that create a diverse set of keepers".
|1.||"Intro (MDMA)" (featuring Game)||Jayceon Taylor||1500 or Nothin'||1:15|
|2.||"Dedication to My Ex (Miss That)" (featuring André 3000 & Lil Wayne)||D. Smith, Polow Jones, Dwayne Carter, Jr., Andre Benjamin||D. Smith, Polow da Don (co.)||3:56|
|3.||"Cupid" (featuring Awesome Jones!!!!1)||Bei Maejor, Jones, Jason Perry, Greg Curtis||Polow da Don, Curtis (co.)||3:55|
|4.||"Luv Me Girl" (featuring Chris Brown & Veronica Vega)||Tron "Teezy T" Thomas, Keithin "J Mizzle" Pittman, Jones, Christopher Brown, B. Bramlett, L. Russell||Polow da Don, Mizzle Boy||4:05|
|5.||"Naked"||Bei Maejor, Jones, Curtis||Polow da Don, Curtis (co.), Paul "Hollywood Hot Sauce" Dawson (co.)||5:07|
|6.||"Jigsaw"||Ryon Lovett, Jones||Polow da Don||3:36|
|7.||"Bang!!!!" (featuring 2 Chainz & Salo)||Timothy Thomas, Theron Thomas, Ken "K-Fam" Fambro, Clifford "Wiz" Henson, Tauheed Epps, Salome, Jones||Fambro, Henson (co.), Polow da Don (co.)||3:40|
|8.||"Be the One" (featuring Trey Songz & Young Jeezy)||Tony Scales, Tremaine Neverson, Jay Jenkins, Jones||Polow da Don||4:33|
|9.||"Shake It 4 Daddy"||Lloyd Polite, Jr., Full Circle, Jones, W. Clarke, M. Wright, P. Wright||Polow da Don||3:57|
|10.||"Lay It Down"||Jones, Ester Dean, Veronika "V." Bozeman||Polow da Don, Bozeman (co.)||4:01|
|11.||"Angel"||Dan Rockett, Jones||Rockett, Polow da Don||2:59|
|12.||"This Is 4 My Baby"||Lovett, Jones||Polow da Don||5:13|
|13.||"You II"||Polite, Jr., Full Circle, Jones||Polow da Don||4:57|
|14.||"World Cry" (featuring R. Kelly, Keri Hilson & K'naan)||David "King David" Mazoor, Jason "Poo Bear" Boyd, Jones, Robert Kelly, Keinan Warsame||King David, Polow da Don (co.), Boyd (co.)||4:41|
|Deluxe edition (bonus tracks)|
|15.||"Stay"||Dean, Jones||Polow da Don, Paul "Hollywood Hot Sauce" Dawson (co.)||4:23|
|16.||"Never Window Shoppin'"||Polite, Jr., Sean McMillion, Ralph Jeanty, Dernst Emile II||D'Mile||3:45|
|17.||"King of Hearts"||Full Circle, Jones||Patrick "Guitar Boy" Hayes, Polow da Don (co.)||4:53|
• (co.) Co-producer
1Alias for Polow da Don
|Australian ARIA Hitseekers Chart||15|
|US Billboard 200||10|
|US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)||5|
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