Rolling Stone (p.78) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[B]allads like the mesmeric 'Pretty Wings' prove he's an auteur in his own right, with surprising digressions and crescendos that mirror the songs' conflicted emotions."
Spin (p.90) - "Maxwell is coming back with a flourish....[The album is] grittier and less New Age-y than his previous work..."
Billboard (p.28) - "Full of heart-pounding melodies and true-to-life love stories....BLACKSUMMER'SNIGHT is a testament that Maxwell hasn't lost a beat."
XXL (Magazine) (p.117) - "[T]he irrefutable allure of `Bad Habits' and the honeyed harmonies of `Love You' are Maxwell's reminder that some subjects remain timeless."
Pitchfork (Website) - "Heartbreak is a constant in popular music....[This] is a deeply moving and evocative record that finds the singer expounding on this universal feeling like few can."
It's been eight long years between Maxwell's third and fourth studio albums. BLACKSUMMERS'NIGHT is the first release of a trilogy, with BLACKSUMMERS'NIGHT(rooted in gospel, with a twist, apparently) and BLACKSUMMERS'NIGHT(promised as a disc of slow jams) to follow. Just as Maxwell arrived in 1996, offering an alternative to the exaggerated masculinity that was dominating contemporary R&B, he returns when the airwaves are still stuffed with raging hormones. He has made no concessions to them however--the highly romantic BLACKSUMMERS'NIGHT is all devotion, regret, and heartache. Maxwell's backing musicians morph with every shift in emotion through arrangements that are unfailingly exquisite and sensitively nuanced, even when briskly played. And if the singer got into any adventures while he was away, he does not detail them during these 38 unified minutes. He did go through a serious, failed relationship however, just as "Pretty Wings," the album's floating pre-album single, suggests. Like the real-life flip side to Al Green's "Simply Beautiful"--which Maxwell performed at the 2008 BET Awards, signaling his return--it's catharsis through bittersweet elegance, as is the album as a whole.