Top critical review
10 people found this helpful
on 13 February 2006
It would be easy to compare Leela James to her veteran company Erykah Badu and Angie Stone, maybe even Macy Gray on "A Change Is Gonna Come" - named after the (here covered) Sam Cooke track. Her voice has a lot of growl in it and she's clearly been learning from her inspirations, Gladys, Tina, Chaka, and Aretha and wishes that music needs to be more about the music and less about the video which is a slightly montonous theme that had been flogged a lot - but not without its merit. Leela is a talented young woman who is supported by some good production that compliment her old-meets-new style. In fact I'm sad to see that she hasn't had more radio play but only seems to find favour on Trevor Nelson's Radio One Soul Nation - thank god atleast there! I would imagine this album is very moving live.
I would only suggest that the album may have benefited from some more brevity as there are some stand out tracks like "Music" "Soul Food" the cover "Don't Speak" "when you Love Somebody" and "Prayer". The rest of the tracks arent filler as such but the album appears to be beefed out with sufficient amounts of interludes which I think could have been otherwise just attached to the end of some of the tracks, much like the Black Eyed Peas did with Monkey Business and Kanye West did with Late Registration, who also features as a producer on "It's Alright" and "Didn't I"
I would prefer to give this an album a 3.5 ONLY because I think that this is not going to be the last time we hear from Leela James and I think her sophmore album will be a much better effort because the talent is there and she will refine her sound to stand out more from similar artists. Also brevity is best and maybe selecting 12 tight tracks would do her some justice. She is credited with penning 13 of the tracks on this album. The album has a spiritual and very honest feel about it and conjours up images of sitting on a weighing bench on an old porch somewhere drinking lemonade - very Twain. I would strongly recommend this album for people who like Saadiq production, artists like Anthony Hamilton, Angie Stone, and Jill Scott. Leela is not Erykah but few are.