by Joe Walker
Lumidee is back with a sophomore album that’s not extraordinary, but is listenable. Teamed with Tony Sunshine, they "She’s Like The Wind" a modern makeover. On "Feel Like Making Love", Lumidee and Shaggy bring Roberta Flack’s classic back to life. And she stays true to her Harlem hip-hop roots, teaming with Jim Jones ("I’m Up"), Noreaga ("You Got Me") and label mate Pitbull on the Lenky-produced "Krazy". Lumidee, now a little older and mature, should have gotten more into her Puerto Rican roots instead of many of today’s current trends and styles though. This record still has potential of great expectations.
Macy Gray was once said to be the future of soul music. She never lived up to the hype, riding newfound fame as a character instead using her exposure to push the envelope of her genre. This time around she sing for respect, trading her cartoonishness, and afro, for something more ladylike. Her gruff voiced tones and squawks are controlled now, on "Finally Made Me Happy" she sound like a nightclub jazz legend. Not neglecting the hip-hop heads that’ve supported her throughout, she and Nas do chicken right on the feathered "Ghetto Love".
B’Day Deluxe Edition
After the creative, yet unoriginal and weightless first draft of Beyonce’s much anticipated sophomore album, she returns to the lab to add more seasonings to this dish. While short and mostly up-tempo originally, the new edition slows it down a bit. The tracks here are also rearranged for better flow from start to finish. High-energy opener "Déjà vu" comes later now, replaced by "Beautiful Liar" – which is followed by "Irreplaceable". Closing with power ballad "Listen" gives B’Day a proper anchor; overall the album is how it should have been to begin with.
Introducing Joss Stone
Here on Joss Stone’s latest album, ones are introduced to her well-rounded ability, and her colorful, compassionate personality. Re-teamed with long time collaborator, producer Raphael Saadiq, the two mix many layered instruments with doo-wop background vocals. Check out "Bruised Not Broken" and "Music" featuring Lauryn Hill. Though categorized as a soul singer, Joss Stone proves she can also do rock, disco and R&B just as well. Her previous work showcased the strength of her voice; this LP showcases her depth.