The Defamation of Strickland Banks
A Number One hit in England, the second album from this U.K. rapper-turned-crooner is a concept record that tells the story of a fictional soul singer who is falsely imprisoned. There is courtroom drama, there are harrowing scenes in prison showers and late-night bouts of conscience in jail cells. All of it is silly in the extreme. You're advised to ignore the ridiculous plot particulars and concentrate on the album's modest pleasures: chiefly, Plan B's lovely, Smokey Robinson-style tenor and deft melodic touch, which raise songs like the melancholic "Love Goes Down" and the string-swathed ballad "I Know a Song" a grade or two above the norm for British Motown pastiches.
Listen to Plan B's "Love Goes Down":
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