Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite

Label
Columbia
Release date
2 Apr 1996
Running length
14 tracks
Running time
57:55

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Tracklist

    Track     Duration Listeners
1 The Urban Theme 2:41 42,701
2 Welcome 5:16 38,374
3 Sumthin' Sumthin' 4:18 65,608
4 Ascension (Don't Ever Wonder) 5:43 87,939
5 Dancewitme 6:13 27,737
6 ...Til the Cops Come Knockin' 1:41 25,421
7 Whenever Wherever Whatever 3:45 32,868
8 Lonely's The Only Company (I & II) 6:21 1,423
8 Lonely'S The Only Company (i&ii) 6:20 6,838
9 Reunion 4:52 34,277
10 Suitelady (The Proposal Jam) 4:47 20,177
11 The Suite Theme 5:58 20,230

About this album

Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite is the debut album of American R&B and neo soul musician Maxwell, released April 2, 1996 on Columbia Records in the United States. Recording sessions for the album took place during 1994 to 1995 at CRC Studios in Chicago and at Electric Lady Studios, RPM, Sorcerer, and Chung King Studios in New York City. The album contains elements of funk, jazz, smooth soul, and quiet storm, and it features prominent vintage influence in sound and musical style. Primarily a concept album, Urban Hang Suite is composed of a song cycle that focuses on an adult romance from first encounter to its conclusion, examining the concept with balladry and slow jams. The album’s themes include love, sex, marriage, monogamy and spirituality. The concept was based on Maxwell’s own personal experience.
After it was presented to Columbia label executives in 1995, Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite was shelved for nearly a year, partly due to doubts of its sales potential. It was eventually released to generally positive reviews and considerable commercial success. In spite of an initial lack of mainstream interest, the album experienced a boost in sales with the help of the single “Ascension (Don’t Ever Wonder)”, which sold 500,000 copies within a year. Despite some negative criticism towards its lyrical substance, music writers lauded the album’s vintage overtones and Maxwell’s songwriting, and it was viewed as a departure from the mainstream-oriented R&B of the time.

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