Released: March 11, 2014
Hood: Oakland, CA & New Orleans, LA
Genre(s): R&B, Soul
You Will Like This if You Like: Algebra Blessett, Mary J. Blige, Tamar Braxton, Raheem DeVaughn
The Truth is: Ledisis seventh studio album is less soul and less jazz but a solid album nonetheless. The Truth is not for diehard neo-soul fans; it is for popular consumption. In other words, Ledisi made The Truth easier for folks to swallow.
The Truth, for the most part, is a happy up-tempo album. Many of the radio-friendly songs will have ladies blasting their music, snapping their fingers and belting out lyrics with Ledisi at traffic lights. I can see my mama already. The lead single, I Blame You, best captures the feel-good quality of the album.
The 41-year-old singer-songwriter also seems to be saying, 40 is the new 27, displaying a sexier side with a more contemporary R&B sound throughout the album. That Good Good, in particular, brings to mind Rhiannas Cake and Lose Control, also has a familiar R&B, sex-song vibe. Thus, while the contemporary production choices allow Ledisi to crossover and gain mass appeal, it does such at the expense of originality. Many of the songs will leave listeners asking who is that rather than knowing, off-top, that it is Ledisi.
The standout track, 88 Boxes. reminds listeners of the simple truths about love, life and relationships: it aint always easy, happy, or going to last forever. This track sounds truer than all other songs on the album. Ledisis voice throughout the album was doctored and laced with auto-tunes; however, on 88 Boxes. the strength and grit in her voice seems to be unadulterated. This sounds like the Ledisi that attracted me years ago.
Much seems to have changed since Ledisi began gracing urban airwaves. But all change isnt bad. Ledisi crossed over from neo-soul to contemporary R&B but it was not done in a soul-selling manner. The Truth is, without a doubt, Ledisis strongest and best produced album. Expect to hear several tracks receive a ton of airtime throughout the year.
Best Tracks: 88 Boxes., The Truth, I Blame You
Track 1: I Blame You