JAMELIA Thank You (2003 UK 12-track CD album featuring collaborations with Bubba Sparxxx and Asher D and including the singles Superstar and Bout picture sleeve)
Having taken three years off to have a baby, Jamelia--UK R&B's one-time most likely star--has a lot of catching up to do. Thankfully, Thank You
extends way beyond where her self assured debut, Drama
, left off. If anything, watching from the sidelines as R&B's taken over pop culture seems to have galvanised her. This is more rebirth than comeback--her determination to make up lost ground has her upping both hers and R&B's game, rolling out staggeringly strident and imaginative backing tracks of pneumatic beats and sci-fi cool for every song, not just the singles.
Crucially though, her second album isn't just a flexing of production muscle. The slick bounce of "Club Hoppin'", "Off Da Endz"'s mystical shimmy and the predatory "Taxi" all come with hypnotic choruses that are hard to shift. Elsewhere, "Dirty Dirty" pitches her still-sweet vocals against a new-found gift for hard-bitten rap, while the title track showcases remarkable songwriting maturity, pairing a tale of domestic violence with beautifully hopeful pop, without resorting to overwrought slush. Such is the strength of the new Jamelia's character that even when obligatory big-name US guest stars Rah Digga and Bubba Sparxxx roll up, she's still the main attraction. More than anyone could have expected or hoped for, without question, Thank You returns Jamelia to her rightful place as UK R&B's most likely star. --Dan Gennoe