November 06, 2006 12:00 PM

The Return
R&B

After a gospel detour with 2004’s I Need an Angel, the Velvet Teddy Bear returns to making cuddly R&B on his third CD. The plus-size smoothie brings the most emotional heft to slow jams that show off his sensitive side, such as the first single “Change Me” and the Luther-like “Rather Just Not Know” (one of two songs cowritten by Ne-Yo). But the hip-hop-tinged tracks fail to keep pace, especially when Studdard tries to get studly on the pseudo-thuggish “To Da Crib.” R. Kelly he’s not.

DOWNLOAD THIS: “Change Me”

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