20 Best R&B Albums of 2017

Sharon Jones, Khalid, SZA, Miguel and more

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Majid Jordan, 'The Space Between'
14. Majid Jordan, 'The Space Between'14/20

14. Majid Jordan, 'The Space Between'

On "Not Ashamed," from Majid Jordan's second album, the young Toronto duo of singer Majid Al Maskati and producer Jordan Ullman (co-writers of Drake's "Hold On, We're Coming Home") find their definitive sound – and it's frankly startling. Amid a pillow-soft collage of peppy drum pads, robotic chatter and clipped synth lines, Al Maskati coos sweetly but plainly to a careless lover, "Not ashamed of the way you ignore me," and "Prove yourself to me, 'cause I'm not the type to give it up for no reason." Wait, huh? As far as pop-soul dudes go, it rarely gets this genuinely vulnerable or feathery. Strangely, the twosome's label OVO Sound seems to think they need guests to buck them up, releasing singles featuring labelmates Partynextdoor and Dvsn. But when left to their own humble, pleadingly sincere devices – as on regretful opener "Gave Your Love Away" – Majid Jordan are, without question, the Best Kids on the Block. C.A.

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