The album experienced a critical backlash similar to that of other artists' work that broke their previous releases' successful formulas in favor of more compelling projects, now being termed "neo-soul." In a retrospective review for Allmusic, Stephen Thomas Erlewine wrote that Maxwell "overstuffs his songs with ideas that lead nowhere" and called Embrya "a bit of a sophomore stumble, albeit one with promising moments." Arion Berger, writing in The Rolling Stone Album Guide (2004), found the songs monotonous and called the album "unfocused and pretentious ...
full of overwrought, underwritten songs with obscure, fancy titles revolving around a sort of sexual gnosticism." Later in the year he released "Fortunate", a single written by R.
When it became clear to him that no one could tell when he was playing his game or not, he decided it would be a waste of natural talent and charisma to make truth-telling a habit.
Following the lukewarm radio success of his previous album, Maxwell has stated he felt more comfortable with his artistic direction in the creation of his new album, which does not exhibit his previous work's conceptual style. The second single off the album, "This Woman's Work", a live staple of Maxwell's, The album also served as Maxwell's last release before quietly entering a self-imposed an almost seven-year hiatus from performing, and no tour was planned to support the album.
Recording sessions for a new album took place during 2007 to 2009 at Chung King Studios, Bowery Digital, and Platinum Sound Recording Studios in New York City.
It was not to be a life-long pursuit, sadly, for Maxwell found the casual scheming of the ringleader to be somewhat passe and derivative.
Determined to bring a whole new level of artistry to the con, he began a whirlwind career, duping and capitalizing on the unassuming and naive, to wild and rich success. In an unexpected turn of events that we're all having a little trouble believing, quite frankly, Maxwell has seen the error in his ways!