If you thought, after hearing 2007’s Back of my ’Lac, that J. Holiday had stretched his efforts as best he could and then went to bed, think again. Round 2, Holiday’s sophomore album, firmly establishes the singer as a contender in the R&B arena.

“Intro” sets the stage for a jazzy throwback, yet this vibe abruptly ends along with the 36-second track. Nonetheless, the songs that follow do not disappoint, delivering solid beats and catchy lyrics.

The album starts out strong with “It’s Yours” and “Fall,” a melody that lingers in your head long after it’s over, and then continues to flow easily from one track to the next. “Forever Ain’t Enough” provides a simple, striking ballad that stands out against the flashier, faster tracks, while “I Tried” fuses rock with R&B for a fresh take on both genres.

Round 2 has the talent of a seasoned pro twisted into the body of a bright-eyed up-and-comer, and is sure to get even the stiffest hips swaying.

Grade: A



Round 2 is currently available.