Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Album Review: Fantasia Barrino's 'Back To Me'

Fantasia Barrino has experienced quite a month and even that statement is an understatement considering how she has gone from being known only as an American Idol winner to now becoming a tabloid staple.

The sad part about it is that Fantasia has real talent and unfortunately her salacious private life is what made her a hot topic as of late, not her voice. Just in time for all the attention is her third studio LP Back to Me.

Whether the situation has been milked or perhaps it is perfect timing; whatever the case may be, Back to Me has all the potential to draw in enough attention independent of the drama.

Back to Me serves as an ode to relationships. The joys, pains, pitfalls, and just letting go, they all get covered on this 12-track album.

Fantasia manages to fuse the sounds of new school R&B that borders the line of pop and combines it with the sounds of 60’s doo-wop and 70’s soul. Back to Me opens up with “I’m Doin’ Me” -- a song that sees Fantasia bidding farewell to a love that has done her wrong. Fantasia’s current radio single “Bittersweet” plays next, setting the overall tone of the album. From here, again you already know that the album is about L.O.V.E. – the good and the bad.

“Man of the House” is the only single on Back to Me that stands as a club track with its cascading drums and high-hats. It’s up-tempo and is “Independent Woman” meets 2010 and sees Fantasia letting her love know that if he can’t step to the plate and be the man he claims to be she will take care of it herself.

“Collard Greens & Cornbread”, “Teach Me”, “Trust Him” and “The Thrill Is Gone” are Fantasia’s 60’s and 70’s themed tracks. Natural instrumentation and the clear presence of the all-star piano take center stage in replacement of studio created instruments. “Move On Me” – a single that Fantasia was seen practically begging to be a lead single for the album on her VH1 reality show Fantasia For Real – also plays on the classic R&B sound and is probably the album’s shining star next to “Bittersweet.”

It is understandable why her label’s A&R wasn’t too hot about making “Move on Me” a lead single. It has a vintage sound and is straight R&B no chaser. However, Fantasia is R&B. Her sound is R&B, her look is R&B, and even her performance style is reminiscent of R&B artists from the past. This sound is what works for her and they would be foolish if they didn’t make “Move on Me” a single, the end.

Fantasia Barrino’s Back to Me is an impressive project with sharp production and an even sharper vocalist. This is an album that can be played all the way through no skips required and would be considered a gift to those who have been pining for an album that holds more ballads than party tracks.

Standout Tracks: “Bittersweet”, “Man of the House”, "The Thrill Is Gone", “Collard Greens & Cornbread”, “Move on Me”, “Even Angels.”

Out of 5 yummy cones, Fantasia Barrino’s Back to Me gets…

Back to Me Track List:

1. I'm Doin' Me
2. Bittersweet
3. Man Of The House
4. Who's Been Lovin' You
5. Collard Greens & Cornbread
6. Teach Me
7. Move On Me
8. Trust Him
9. The Thrill Is Gone Featuring Cee-Lo Green
10. Falling In Love Tonight
11. Even Angels
12. I'm Here (From 'The Color Purple' Musical)

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