Chrisette Michele – Let Freedom Reign
This album is the sound of a woman who’s fixing to be dropped from her label. Did you know this album was coming out? No? Heard any singles, except the Rick Ross collabo? (…burned bridge perhaps…) You listen to the title track – a semi political anthem featuring Talib Kweli and Black Thought – and you’ll see why. Not a lot of singles on this record – it seems to be a pure “artist” record in every way. None of the jazzy/doowap stuff he’s usually money on. She’s on some different shit – and I’m not sure if people are going to take her on. Her voice is still amazing, and the songs are actually well done – but is it too much of a departure from her base? She has everything from the title track (below) to “Unsaid” which sounds like a Coldplay track, so it’s hard to tell right now. (She should actually be pushing this track on adult alt radio.) So it’s not a very unified effort in terms of sound. Albums like these, if they have ANY staying power, will have a nice second wind with the right push – which her label seems to be disinclined to do right now. I, however, enjoyed this album. I think this will be her turning point in her career. On one hand the jazzy thing is a easy slam dunk, but gauging by what she apparently chose (thus the lack of label push) she wants to find her own voice, and it’s not often you literally hear someone searching and pushing themselves forward. “If Nobody Sang Along” is the perfect track to exemplify this feeling. Her lack of fear, and vice versa, is extremely commendable. For that alone, it’s worth a listen – recommended. I do believe we might be on the edge of true greatness with her.