Faith Evans: Something About Faith

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Posted October 22, 2010 by J Matthew Cobb in Reviews 1.0

After a short hiatus, the “First Lady” hopes to reclaim her R&B dominance with independent-released album.

When she was queen of Bad Boy Records, Faith Evans had a presence that could easily be compared to Mary J. Blige; another one of P. Diddy’s career-defining discoveries. That grip on street-smart and sultry R&B loosened up as she moved away from her Bad Boy stable after feeling squeezed out amid label changes and Combs’ insurmountable flight into bigger projects. Four years later, Evans landed on Capitol Records and released The First Lady. Even with newer liberties of creative control and for being the label’s first contemporary R&B artist, she somehow is brushed to the side by a new legion of female singers. After a longer-than-usual hiatus and laboring back and forth in the headlines with a series of arrests, Faith Evans finds herself poised for yet another comeback.

First, let’s get this straight. Evans’ new album, Something About Faith, isn’t a gospel release, hence the spiritually-tinged album title and the incorporated biblical lyric (“I just need the faith of a mustard seed”). Evans does reach back and revisit her gospel influences on some of the album’s offerings (“Change,” “Troubled Water”), but this is clearly a R&B effort.

“Gone Already,” the official lead single, offers Faith a mesmeric mature ballad with pop-like promise. The stimulating piano solo and the breathy background vocals on the chorus, courtesy of Evans, is one of the album’s proudest moments. Mike City’s “Sunshine,” although not as developed melodically, works with the energy of Jill Scott’s “Golden” but with the use of ambient synth-disco vibes. “Way You Move” swings with Evans’ familiar stride, much like “You Gets No Love.” Snoop Dogg shows up to give the song that “fa-shizzle” edge but it sounds as if he’s spitting rhymes in a distance corner, with a distorted echo laying underneath his delivery.

Even with its share of good moments, Faith Evans’ fifth solo contribution is culled out to be an average R&B disc. Much of the content and production feels dated, way past its prime. A good example: “I Still,” bearing stale drum beats, is skimmed of the energies of an infectious and memorable album opener. And then there’s “Real Things;” although bubbling with the mysteries of jazz fusion, its wordy chorus and descending chords slumps quickly. Having these offerings in the front of the disc also hurts the presentation from gaining traction. Even the appearances of a Justice League cast of rappers and singers (Redman, Raekwon, Snoop Dogg, Kelly Price, Keyshia Cole, Jessica Reedy) shows that Evans may have been a bit too anxious to prove a point. That, along with the album’s lengthiness, smudges Something About Faith into a second-rate First Lady. Even if Capitol didn’t accredit Evans with a strong marketing strategy, First Lady was one of her finer, most balanced efforts. With the right brains and personnel in place behind this independent release, things would have been a lot better.

J MATTHEW COBB

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HIFI DETAILS

  • Release Date: October 5, 2010
  • Label: e1/Prolific Music
  • Producers: Faith Evans, Kye Russaw, Chucky Thompson, Malik Pendleton, Orthodox, Ransum, Mike City, Brad Todd, Salaam Remi, Anthony Bell, Darrell Robinson, Devinaire, Ben Briggs III
  • Track Favs: Gone Already, Sunshine

About the Author

J Matthew Cobb

Managing editor of HiFi Magazine


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