Saturday, May 9, 2009
Chrisette Michele - Epiphany
On Tuesday, both Chrisette Michele and Ciara released their newest albums. I've been going back and forth between the two constantly for the past few days wondering how I wanted to present my reviews of them. At first I was going to offer a comparison, but I've realized that my feelings for Ciara's Fantasy Ride are too complex to be handled in anything other than a track by track discussion. Even though I like Epiphany more, my feelings for it are much more simple and I can just do a traditional review here.
Michele has said publicly that her goal for this album was to make music that people could bob their heads to, and she has succeeded. While the material may not have the uptempo makings of a mainstream hit, R&B stations have picked up on the title track and the second single "What You Do [feat. Ne-Yo]" is a promising follow-up. Epiphany is one step in the pop direction from Michele's first album, I Am, in that the Ne-Yo produced record contains a small boost and tempo and energy. Michele's voice is still powerful and soulful, and it sounds like she's been working to become an even more impressive singer. On "Notebook," she effortlessly hits notes that previously have sounded stretched and barely there on earlier recordings.
The themes of Epiphany deal with a lot of breaking up. "Epiphany (I'm Leaving)," "Blame It On Me," "Playin' Our Song," "Another One," and "I'm Okay" all talk about the ending of a relationship, with "Fragile" and "Porcelain Doll" threatening to call it off if things don't improve. That's 7/12 tracks. The other tracks cover a crush, meeting "Mr. Right," two love songs during a relationship, and a song to a father about letting his daughter go. While this could create a repetitive nature to the album, Michele and Ne-Yo do a good job developing a variety of sounds within such a small spectrum. While I find the strongest points of the album are "Notebook" and "Fragile," I would strongly recommend buying this album in its entirety.