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The bass line of the opening track is the first sign, and the smooth funk of the second track confirms it: On Embrya, Maxwell has done it again. Sophomore efforts don't always fare well, especially when an artist is still riding high on the accolades of a debut, but Maxwell has managed to take the exquisite soul of 1996's Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite and, without sacrificing any of its verve, turn it into something far more sophisticated. Not only is Embrya a sublime summer soundtrack, it's a groove masterpiece from start to finish. "Luxury: Cococure," the first single, like "'Til the Cops Come Knockin'" before it, is only the slightest taste of the treasures waiting to be devoured. If you're looking for lush ballads, skip to "Matrimony: Maybe You," the haunting "Know These Things: Shouldn't You," and the sensual slow jam "Gravity: Pushing to Pull" (and yes, nearly all the tracks are subtitled like this). They may not be as yearning as those that detailed his weekend-long tryst on Hang Suite (Maxwell knows better than anyone just how far a little restraint can go), but these tracks are gifts on their own. Put them together and you have an album that does nothing but elevate Maxwell's impeccable reputation as the man who breathed life back into the soul of R&B. --Rebecca Wallwork

Customer Reviews:

  • Maxwell needs an AWARD....
    He needs to be recognized as the man that is keeping R & B fresh and hot with his new, innovative styles. It doesn't hurt, of course, that he is drop-dead gorgeous, but from a musical standpoint, he is making the business of being in love SO nice with his excellent voice and cool beats....more info
    This music is spiritual R&B and Maxwell is and R&B artist and you know that the music and his lyric mean something to him. He is great and I don`t even listen to the genre anymore and he even has some instrumentals. Sensual, sometimes funky, sometimes sad, and mostly groovy. Check it out. Alright Maxwell buy the way one of the most happy times of my life happened while this music was spinning. If you like deep R&B poetry check this out!!!!...more info
  • Not his best seller...
    ...but still a cracking album. Here Maxwell blends his usual style of smooth and sophisticated songs with a distinctly latin vibe. His vocal range is outstanding and very much up to the job in hand. This is an interesting experimental album in which soul, funk and r+b have a comfortable flirtation with smooth latin salsa's and bosa nova style influeneces.
    Maxwell singing in Spanish is also a delectable highlight.
    The style I think stopped this album fitting the mainstream but it is a worthy album nonetheless....more info
  • Great follow-up
    If you're expected Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite Part 2, this definitely ain't it. This album is a complete turn around from Maxwell's first album, but it is great all the same. It is very experimental from the lyrics to the production. Each song makes you sit down, listen, and try to make sense of the lyrics. I fell in love with the first single, "Luxury: Cococure" and knew that this CD had to be mine. After playing the CD for the first time and hearing the first song, "Everwanting," I knew I had made a good decision. That song is soo tight. Other favorites on the album are "Drown Deep Hula," "Submerge," and "Gravity." This CD is off the chains....more info
  • A wonderful Chill CD!
    Granted, Maxwell goes a little deep in this CD, his melodic voice paired with the soothing melodies is nothing short of beautiful. A continuos mellow CD, I play it alot to relax. Submerge Within The Light is my absolute favorite on this sophomore album. While it was not a favorite with critics, I find it to be a sound album and one of my personal favorites. It is definitely the most personal of all his albums....more info
  • WHAT?
    HAVE GIVEN IT 5 STARS....more info
  • Maxwell's House: Good to the Last Drop.
    "Embrya," the followup to Maxwell's "Urban Hang Suite," is a traffic-stoppingly beautiful collection of soothing soul that's as much a masterpiece as his debut. The album plays like a dreamy sequence of moods and events, all woven together by relaxing rhythms, seductive vocals, and well-done arrangements. Most sophomore albums disappoint by lazily rehashing formulas that already worked before. Not Maxwell's. "Embrya" is a confident step forward, and while the sound is definitely his own, the vibe is much more mellow and laid-back this time around. Tracks of note are the lush and elegant "I'm You: You Are Me," the sensual love jam "Submerge," and the hypnotic ballad "Know These Things: Shouldn't You." In my school of music, "Embrya," like its predecessor, gets an A....more info
  • Maxwell is a GENIUS!!!
    I truly love this cd. You can tell through his music that he knows true musicianship. The metaphors that he uses throughout his songs are deep and the instruments in the back are divine. If you like jazzy kinda funky music you'll enjoy this also....more info
  • one of the hottest cd
    maxwell have a unique style...very smooth.funky.jazzy.half vocal technique is pretty cool..i love this cd....more info
  • 4.5 stars: Gave this one away the first time...
    AND NOW I REALIZE JUST HOW MUCH I HONESTLY CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT IT, LOL!!! That's what happens when one is too young at the time to understand a true work of art when coming across such a thing, which is exactly what Maxwell's sophomore set is. The thing that really clicks on Embrya is the experimental factor running throughout the entire album. I love artists who aren't afraid to take risks, especially when those risks wind up paying off in the long run. In truth, Maxwell actually pushes soul music into the next phase on this set, combining lush, orchestral arrangements with delicately-placed electronic touches for an EXTREMELY soothing effect on the aural senses. "New Age Soul"? Perhaps a bit of a stretch there, but you get the picture more or less, lol. As always, Maxwell's naturally soulful voice continues to hold its place among the very best on the contemporary music scene. He's definitely one you should NEVER pass up the chance to see in concert!

    To be perfectly honest, I felt Now was a bit of a letdown after Embrya-largely because it seemed like the head folks on Maxwell's label didn't fully appreciate the bold new direction their platinum-selling artist was going in on his second studio effort and instead wanted him to come up with another "Urban Hang Suite" cash cow. Sure, his latest release brought sales back up to where they were on UHS but artistically it was sorely lacking (IMHO). No wonder Maxwell ended up taking a 5-year break from recording, poor guy...
    :-(...more info
  • Embrya: The cure for this...
    This is my favourite Maxwell album to date. Bubbly, haunting, dreamy, sensual, and beautiful, it was different from every other release of 1998. Maxwell has always been my favourite Neo soul male vocalist. This was his sophomore set, the follow up to the platinum success of `Maxwell's Urban hang suite'. Deservedly, the album debuted at #3 in the US and was certified platinum.

    With his fluid, angelic voice, flowing and meandering its way around each of these gems like a peaceful stream, deep metaphorical lyrics (water is used as a metaphor a lot), and top notch instrumentation, this CD is a masterpiece faintly akin to 70s soul masterpieces by Marvin, Curtis, Stevie and Al Green.

    The opening trio of `Gestation: Mythos/Everwanting: to want you to want', `I'm you: you are me and we are you' (sung in Spanish and English) and `Luxury: Cococure' are smooth funky grooves with deep throbbing bass, guitars swimming about everywhere and silky vocals over a percolating percussion base (especially the bubbling `Luxury: Cococure' which is filled with magical sounding drums which seem to come at you from every angle, this is my favourite).

    `Matrimony: Maybe you' is another uptempo funky vibe featuring wicked guitar and a deep sparse bass line which freely segues into a jazzy horn laden jam session `Arroz con pollo'.

    As usual, the CD is packed with stunning lush ballads; the delicate tropical sounding `Drowndeep: Hula', the haunting and hypnotic piano/string ballad `Know these things: shouldn't you' sung entirely in ethereal falsetto (his vocal performance on this song has to be heard to be believed, stunning!), `Submerge: Til we become the sun', and `Gravity: Pushing to pull'.

    Closing track `Eachhoureachsecondeachminuteeachday: Of My Life' is another outstanding track, one of my favourites. It is a mid tempo shimmery track which starts off with him singing `Oh yeah' over some delicate lilting percussion and wah wah guitars which seem to bubble leading to the chorus.

    A stunning work of art!
    ...more info
  • Very odd and obscure.
    I don't even get what some of these songs are about. The single stood out most and there were maybe 2 other tolerable songs but the others left me lost.

    I've been meaning to write this review forever but never got around to it. Forgot about it even. But then I started listening to Maxwell's "Til The Cops Come Knocking", came here to see the actual name for the CD it was on (couldn't remember) and kinda saw this CD right after his debut..

    I was like, "OK. Time to speak my mind."

    The sounds are very different and it will take you forever to understand what he's talking about on some of these songs.

    I bought it for less than 7 bucks used but hey, that's cause I'm a fan of some of the songs he's done in the past (Til The Cops...Lifetime, This Woman's Work, etc...) and will always be a fan of his smooth vocal delivery.

    Should have just purchased Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite...^_^

    1.8 stars.

    End Note: I like different, original music but this was like a Rubik's cube; impossible for me to solve and figure out!!...more info
  • Better than the first? Maybe...
    This album is definitely more experimental than Urban Hang Suite. Maxwell does things his way, whether top 40 radio likes it or not...& considering how *little* air play this got, I guess they weren't feelin' it. I love Embrya. It has a good groove to it, jazzy, earthy, soulful, & very sensual. Put this on to set the mood with your man or woman cuz things are bound to happen. ;) This is the kind of music that you can not only feel, but you can even see. The music seems to fit perfectly with the lyrics to create just the right mood & images. Drown Deep: Hula has to be one of the best slow songs, not mention one of the sexiest (subtly sexy, though). If you appreciate funky, jazzy, yet soulful music, this is a must. But don't expect another Hang Suite, this is on a whole other level....more info
  • deep soul
    sensual, passionate, deep, dreamy, bubbly, exotic and sexy is what i can describe this album....( is that the reason why they call this neo soul ? )...more info
  • this CD is kinna differnet
    I have to say that Maxwell is a great artist and he's really creative. I bought this cd last week and I love it. I don't have listen Maxwell's Urban Hang Suite nor Now so i don't now what is the best one but like i said, this is great.

    the best songs on this record are. Everwanting: To want you to want, Luxury: Cococure, Matrimony: Maybe you and the best one: Eachhoureachminuteachseconeachday: of my life...more info

  • One of my all time favorites
    This is an album you can really get lost in...if you just go with the flow & enjoy it. It is sexy, deep & entrancing. I like this album WAY more than any of Maxwells other albums. If I lose or scratch this CD...I always re-purchase. I think I am at my fourth copy. :)...more info
  • Sublime Spiritual Personalbly Senual
    Maxwell's style is greatly appreciated and in a world of drop it, bump, grind, lick my thigh and lets make a baby, without one word of real concern, "just stick to the machanics mame, I need to get my funcky off" is what is being sold in the avagerage male song/ballard. No chance of you caring to get to know me is what I have been feeling? HELLO!!...We finally have a man who knows strength is his loving abilities, Lyricks that suggest commement and security, sacred love...umm..this man is spiritually open and inspired by true love. I want to meet Maxwell!!! it seems this brother has it together and its not who dies with the most toy that wins, but who shares the most love. (c)2000Worthytobeheard...more info
  • Lush
    I didn't get into Maxwell or buy this CD until 2006. After enjoying his videos on VH1Soul I decided I wanted to hear more. I knew I wanted Urban Hang Suite and Now but I hesitated about buying Embrya. I'd read some negative reviews and it never got much airplay. I'm so glad I decided to hear it for myself. I believe that 99% of the negative reviews are because of the weird song titles and because it is not as funky as his debut. Play the entire CD once or twice and you will get past all of that and discover it for the lush romantic jewel that it is. The singles Luxury and Matrimony are feel good midtempo songs. Drowndeep is sensuous and sweet. Those are my favorite songs but this album has so much more to offer. ...more info
  • Eccentric collection
    Maxwell brings a different style of R&B to the table. A style that I strongly endorse. For those of you who love the feel of R&B, but are tired of the same whiney-voiced vocals, try this! Maxwell brings a stellar collection of style and presentation to this album. Brush up on your Spanish a bit....more info
  • Maxwell's subtle majestic funk even deeper than it's predecessor The Suite
    Yes! Yesterday, three days before it's official release in Europe, I found Maxwell's new album in several recordstores in my hometown, just below Amsterdam in Holland. Ofcourse I didn't hesitate buying it and I haven't stopped listened to it since. As a matter of fact I'm listening to it right now! When I compare my first listening experience of Embrya with the Suite, I must say, there's a big difference. I dug the Suite at once. There has been this spell from the beginning. I was filled with enthusiasm by his majestic funk from the very very first note I heard. An enthusiasm that hasn't weakened since. It has been my most played album since it's release back in '96. However the first listening round for Embrya was a bit of a disappointment. I didn't know what to think, what to feel. The production was beautifully done, as always. It's crystal clear, subtle and deep. For a moment I feared he might have overdone it. Most of the songs seemed less accessible, less catchy and more demanding than on the Suite. So after this first listening round I couldn't help thinking that this might be one of these albums that have to grow on you. So I played it again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again... and my conclusion less than 24 hours later has to be, Maxwell: you did it! You came up with the perfect follow up to the Suite. The growth is obvious. Not only musically, but also thematically. The songs are deeper and more spiritual than on the first album, thus more complex. That's why it took a bit longer for me to appreciate them. My favourites for now are 'Matrimony/Arroz con pollo', the latter being no less than 'Matrimony part 2'. The horn riffs and the rhythm guitars on it are as funky as funky can get. 'Know these things' must be his most delicate song to date. It's beautiful! 'Eachoureachsecondetc' is also one of my favourites. The album starts with the lovely intro of 'Everwanting' that builds the tension beautifully, just like the extended intro of 'Ascension' during his live performances. It makes you want to stand up and pledge allegiance to Maxwell's Majestic Funk. So Maxwellians, take your time with this new jewel. It deserves that. But beware, it might prove to be even more addictive than it's predesessor. By the way: Although there are lyrics of it in the booklet 'Gestation:mythos' isn't on the album... or is it? Remember the surprising 'Til the cops' reprise on the Suite? Well, there's one of those on this one as well, only less obvious. You may want to rewind your cd player just before 'Everwanting' starts. Enjoy!...more info
  • Eternally, Embrya
    To hell with the critics and whomever does not know good music when they hear it. I myself gave it a 5 and plus I think of it as a classic allure. I'm a little bit of a poet myself and I completely understood what Maxwell was doing. Hell, I've bought that album several times because someone either borrowed it and never gave it back or just scratched it completely. Maxwell is one of the people that I turn to, to further inspire my poetic niche. His lyrics and music should be the truest inspiration for upcoming poets throughout the world. I just won a nomination and an award from the International Library of Poetry as Elite Poet for 2000 and the poem that I had submitted into the contest, I was listening to Maxwell's "Gravity: Pushing to Pull." So to make the long story short, I am eternally an Embrya fan. I applaud Maxwell and his poetry. I hope that he puts out more material like Embrya in the near future and hopefully the world will not be so foolish as to overlook his accomplishment as they have done in the past....more info
  • Drown Deep!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Embrya comes with a different flavor than Urban Hang Suite but you still feel the passion behind the music that Maxwell has. Drown Deep(Hula) is off the hook!!!!!!! The very first time my husband played it for me, I wanted to go "Drown Deep In Us"! Maxwell you know you're good when a husband buys the cd's for his wife.
    I have all of his cd's but the unplugged cd and I can tell you that Maxwell is still bringing flavor to the game.
    If you appreciate what love really means and what it means to truly be in love you will appreciate all of Maxwell's muscic.
    He doens't talk about the usual booty calls, or hit and run senarios that we often see played out in music & videos today.
    I can relate to Maxwell's music because he's given us young married folk clean love songs that we can enjoy, like our parents had back in the day.
    Maxwell's creativity is awesome! I admire his respect for women, his family & himself. I have never heard anything negative or derogative about "The MAN" Maxwell.
    Maxwell if you read this, THANK YOU for being who you are! Keep on keepin it real!...more info
  • smoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooth
    I saw Maxwell in Minneapolis last summer and it was one of the best shows I've ever seen. He had Michael Bland on the kit which was the perfect match. This cd is so smooth. Maxwell is one of my favorite singers and has influenced my music big time. Gravity is my favorite Maxwell song of all time. I can't wait for his new record....more info
  • The best
    If theres is a C.D. better it would have to be Gods because it would take a miracle....more info
  • "See If I'm Breathing, ' cause I'm not sure ..I'm Alive"
    Wowwwwwwwww. There is sooo much that I want to say about this cd, but the feelings that I feel have so much energy. I can not begin to put them in mere words, but I will try. I dont know where I was, my soul must have been laying dormant. I have to admit this was the very first cd of Maxwell's that I had bought. I had reservations as to why I never purchased anything before Embyra. Ill never tell what they where. I have to say when I first placed it in the stereo. I didnt like Embyra much. So I put Embrya away for a while. Sometime later I played Embrya again. It was like I heard Embrya for the first time, and something in the melody somewhere, in one of the songs, ignited my soul, and set fire to the deepest of my passion. It inspired me to allow soul soar. I have to I ran out that day and purchased every thing Maxwell put out..and tried to find as many imports as I could. I have to tell you with that awakening, all of Maxwell's music touchs me. When ever I want to relax my soul and settle my mind. I will put on Embrya and get lost. I know I said I hadnt much to say...if I havent said enough, the review written by Corey L. Osby ... from Swedesboro, NJ, USA, says it all....more info
  • Embrya
    The most impressive thing about Maxwell's second LP is it's total self-absorbed, artsy seriousness. Composed and sequenced as a suite of sounds and emotions, instead of a handful of singles and filler, "Embrya" is a concept work almost without peer. While there are several upbeat, funky tunes, the album as a whole flows together and produces a feeling of peace, euphoria and blatant eroticism. "Embrya" is about birth and how the soul is reborn everytime a new love comes around. Just sit back and enjoy the grooves while the music takes you on a spiritual journey into the womb and back to life. This is Maxwell's Masterpiece. Highly Recommended....more info
  • Wow
    Submerge: Til We Become the Sun is a masterpiece. If you need to relax and get away from the real world for a while, put on this tune. Maxwell's voice is so soothing, and it will definitely take you away....more info
  • Just as Good as the first one....for real!
    Maxwell came back strong after his classic debut. Many of his fans expected Urban Hang Suite ...the sequal. No sir! Maxwell actually came even deeper. The track "Know these things" will give you an idea of what type of guy this performer really is....more info
  • Can you tell I'm a fan?
    I've never been one to follow what the rave is...matter of fact if everyone's loving it I'm normally off in a corner listening to something undiscovered but...Maxwell puts a hurtin' on words. That brotha needs a permit to sing and a license to collect all that lingerie the women will inevitably be throwing on stage!...more info
  • Love in all her disguises...
    What can I say? I love this man's music. He is truly a vessel for putting down the soulful peace and love/baby-making grooves.

    He is always on rotation in our CD player and my personal playlist.

    Mmmmm... Max!...more info
  • Maxwell- father of neo-soul
    This album is one of the most moody i've listened to. It definitely must be played at about one in the morning when you are alone with a soulmate or one you can open up to completely, because it is true sexual/spiritual love expressed succinctly on a cd. Maxwell's range is incredible and his falsetto (I was hooked after hearing his opening on "ascension") is full of soul and mysticism. After "urban hang...," this album completely went a new direction to the chagrin of some critics, but at the time, it was a breath of much needed fresh air into a genre (r&b) that had alot of great singers but terribly cliched musical and lyrical outputs.

    This album was a huge risk that makes me respect Maxwell's creativity and courage (putting out something so contrary to what was going on). In particlar, i feel the most creative songs that i never get tired of are: "cococure," (sensuous & playful) "hula," (spiritual beauty) "submerge," (tender passion) and "gravity" (tumultuous exposure). After "know these things" and "gravity" Maxwell mercifully brings the listener back to a secure environment with "eachhoureach..." I love this disk!...more info
  • Feel the music!
    Well,honestly,the first time when i heard this album I don't know why but i was disappointed,i thought that ther was no good song, i thought the album was boring.But,later I listen a second time the CD with a friend and I began to feel Maxweel's sweet music and i want to say that finally Embrya is too good and this one of the most original album I've ever heard album in my life!!!
    All the song are so sweet and the sound of the album is so's Great!
    I advise in addition to this album the last maxwell album call ``Now``...more info