After what seemed like a real drought, good music seems to be coming from all directions these days, particularly in the case of the recent releases from Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Benet. Check out my reviews below.
Jazmine Sullivan Fearless
Believe the hype about Jazmine Sullivan. Despite all the naysayers who were ready to dismiss her as just another Lauryn Hill wannabe, Sullivan delivers an album packed with a sound all her very own. There is a strength, not only in that beautiful husky register of hers, but also in the lyrics she's penned for her coming out party.
Fellows beware, thanks to tracks like "Bust Your Windows, "Switch" and "Call Me Guilty," female Sullivan fans have just been armed with the ammunition to jack your car up, play you out and if you push them to it - commit murder.
The album's title Fearless is fitting since much of the album's narrative plays out that motif, displaying both her emotional vulnerability ("Fear," "Lions, Tigers and Bears," "Live A Lie," "One Night Stand" "Call Me Guilty," "I Need U") and her ability to overcome that most human quality ("Dream Big," "Switch," "Bust Your Windows," "My Foolish Heart"). Oh, and did I mention she can sang?
Rated: Buy it Now
High Points: "In Love With Another Man," "Bust Your Windows," "Lions, Tigers and Bears," "One Night Stand," "Switch" (Bonus Track)
Low Points: None... Yep it's that good.
Eric Benet Love & Life
All hail the return to classic soul music. Simply beautiful is the easiest way to explain much of the material on Benet's long awaited fourth album. His latest effort is largely a practice in peacefulness, life has made him wiser and it shows on songs like "Love, Patience & Time," "Don't Let Go" and "One More Tomorrow".
Once again kudos to the artist for giving us narrative to fall into in a market otherwise flooded with hook-driven (and vocoder reliant) songs. Benet keeps all the senses busy, never neglecting the details "I saw an old man and his wife today, his eyes locked in her gaze," he sings on "Don't Let Go." It's not all slow babymaking music either, funky production on "Don't Let Go, "Weekend Girls" and "Iminluvwichoo" keep things uptempo, but I won't deny that Love & Life makes for a great bedroom soundtrack.
A gifted songwriter, Eric brings maturity to songs like "The Hunger" and "Chocolate Legs" that might sound crass coming from other artists. Suddenly doing the grown up seems so grown up. Welcome to the autotune free zone.
Rated: Buy it Now
High Points: "Love, Patience & Time," "The Hunger," "You're The Only One," "Don't Let Go" "Iminluvwichoo" and "Still I Believe"
Low Points: "Spanish Fly" - the Latin influenced song sounds slightly out of place, "Ever Love" Benet's duet with Terry Dexter aspires to his previous hit with Tamia "Spend My Life" but falls short.
I'd also love to hear your thoughts on either album or both so feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comments section. Talk to me y'all!
Robin Thicke Something Else
Review coming up soon! For now, I'm giving away three signed copies of Robin Thicke's new album. Email me with the name of your favorite Robin Thicke song and why you love it at firstname.lastname@example.org. The contest runs today through Friday with one winner per day!
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