The release of Case’s fourth album “The Rose Experience” is a great accomplishment. Not only has the album been eight years in the making, but there was a time when it looked like not only his recording career, but also his life, might be over. Shortly after the release of his “Open Letter” album in 2002, Case accidently fired a gun which struck him in the throat and missed his spine by an inch. Miraculously, he was out of the hospital within four hours with no damage to his vocal chords at all.

After gaining his release from Def Soul, he partnered with manager Blue Williams to create an independent label called “Indigo Blue.” Now with full creative control, Case is in full control of his destiny, and that is very evident on “The Rose Experience.” The signature case sound is still here and as he has done on each of his previous albums, he takes us on his soulful journey through love and relationships. In fact, his sound has not evolved much since he first came on the scene in the early 90’s and that is not a bad thing at all.

This is immediately evident upon hearing the first single “Lovely.” On this soulful ballad, Case stays true to the formula that landed him some of his other big hits such as “Happily Ever After” and “Missing You.” He uses this piano laced ballad as an opportunity to express to his woman how beautiful she is in his eyes. As long as romancing a woman will be in style, Case will always have something to sing about.

In essence, just like all of his previous albums, each song hits on a different point in a relationship; and there aren’t many in r&b who can better accentuate this than Case. On “Let Me Down Easy,” you almost feel for him as he passionately sings about a woman breaking his heart. Next, on “Me and You,” he croons about being caught up between two women and having to choose. Even though everyone may not be able to relate, he is able to make you feel as though you are right there in the situation yourself.

Another highlight of the album is the way he harmonizes which adds feeling to each song. “Déjà Vu” is a great example as he sings about meeting a woman for the first time but remembering her from the past. Case is also at his best on “Smile” where he’s so smooth that he can easily convince any woman to do just what the title states. After hearing his silky and soulful vocals throughout the album, I’m convinced he’s still in his prime.

Since Case is now independent, he was able to handle most of the production on this album and make it his most personal album to date. From to the sultry slow jams to the bubbly mid tempo tracks, he was able to create the perfect backdrop on just about every song. However, one song that sounds out of place is the Neptunes produced “Should Have Known Better.” Whereas most of the production on the album has a retro sounding 90’s feel, this song does not fit in.

In my opinion, “The Rose Experience” has many of the qualities of a successful r&b album. From Case’s soulful voice, to the very good production, to the content on each song, you can’t ask for much else. If you are looking for an album with singles that will end up all over the radio, you came to the wrong place. What we have here is a carefully crafted creation that flows from beginning to end and characterizes the essence of r&b.

Rating: 3.75/5