After the change of direction of New Amerykah Part I, Erykah Badu returns to more familiar territory with Part II, going more down tempo and hitting more of the neo-soul sound that she forged.
"Window Seat" and "Gone Baby, Don't Be Long" are some of the more immediate highlights, bringing to the fore the loops and grooves that define the album's sound, similar to how was seen on her 2003 album "Worldwide Underground".
Much like with that record there is more live instrumentation, a freer feel to the record (unlike New Amerykah Part I). The difference in art work for the two New Amerykah album covers serves as the best way to appreciate the sonic differences between the two.
Lyrically the album is more along traditional Badu lines too, focussing on romance, love and relationships, rather than taking the more political line heard on New Amerykah Part I.
Badu has said the album is "the sister of the left side of my brain - it is the right side. Part I was the left side of my thoughts - it was more socially political and my thought process was more analytical. This time there wasn't anything to be concerned with - the album is more emotional and flowy and talks about feelings. It reminds of the days of 'Baduizm'."
When the album hits its groove it is as good as any classic Badu tracks, but there are a few tracks that deviate a little from the albums feel and, stop the album being a five star record. "Agitation" is a good track, piano laden, but it just sits a little off for me. Ditto the following track, a cover of Sylvia Striplin's "You Can't Turn Me Away", which gets a little more tedious with every listen.
This is intelligent R&B, but the flowing feel that the album goes for is broken by a couple of rogue tracks that stop it developing the seamless feel of her earlier records and fellow soul legend Marvin Gaye.