Album: Mark Morrison <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

Innocent Man, MACK LIFE/MONA
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The Independent Culture

While not quite wielding the comic pathos of a jailbound Mark Morrison titling his 1997 flop Only God Can Judge Me - when, clearly, bewigged human agencies had already beaten the deity to it - there is a similar sad bluster (not to mention a wilful denial of his own history) in calling this comeback album Innocent Man. Perhaps he's just using "innocent" in the sense of "naive", which may be nearer the truth. It's certainly a far better recording than its predecessor, with a slate of guests - including DMX, Alexander O'Neal, Elephant Man and Gabrielle - testimony to the revival of Morrison's reputation. He claims to be a more mature man for his experiences, admitting in "Lately" that "Since you went away, I'm trying to change my ways" - and warning a female friend about a violent suitor in "Nigga Ain't No Good". With its Rodney Jerkins-style groove, it's reminiscent of Whitney Houston's "It's Not Right but It's Okay", just one style in a range of approaches including piano ballad ("Just A Man"), electro garage twitch ("Friday"), Spanish-flavoured soul ("Blackstabbers") and gospel testimony ("Journeys") tenuously linked by Morrison's own personality.

DOWNLOAD THIS: 'Innocent Man', 'Nigga Ain't No Good'