Declaration: Time for Growth

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 9:27 PM

Artist: Ashanti
Album: The Declaration
Release Date: 6.3.08

Okay, so I know it took me a while to get this review up, but let me explain…. I tried, really tried to give Ashanti a fair shot on this one. I had to listen to it in different places, and different modes, and after about 4 weeks, some of the songs were alright to me, but this one is another coaster collectible for me. But before her fans and stans decide to bash a brutha, hear me out and read the whole review… Listening to this CD is like watching a 4 year old play dress up with big sister’s clothes. I’m usually the one that looks at an artist for what they are, but here all I can see is what she’s trying to be. Ashanti goes for the diva look in her styling, and even tries for some of the belted out notes here and there, but the sound doesn’t quite work here for a number of reasons…

Now to keep it all the way real, Ashanti looks great on the album cover and when the day arrives that good pictures equal good music, we won’t have a problem. As is customary, she launched this album with a catchy and likeable first single, The Way That I Love You. Much respect to her for showcasing slightly stronger vocals, however it’s unfortunate that this formula wasn’t used for the remainder of this project. Ashanti’s vocals really aren’t the major problem with this album. It’s plagued by a lack of maturity all around. There are some songs on The Declaration that defy this stigma: The Things You Make Me Do which features Robin Thicke is probably the smartest choice for a next single, but is really only worth the listen because of his presence. Then there’s Struggle and the Babyface-helmed Mother. But then there are the poppy teenage anthems like You’re Gonna Miss or In These Streets and the lyrically disastrous Switch, which even made me shake my head in dismay at Nelly. After 4 albums, Ashanti hasn’t really found anything worth singing about, or that fans really care to listen to. Her content does not suit the demographic she should be marketing as these songs would be better suited on an artist like Tiffany Evans or a group like 3LW.

The music industry isn’t a game of dress-up, and even if it were, it’s clear that the shoes are too big for Ashanti to fill. Four albums into the game and she still hasn’t made a classic album. We all know there should be better content there and she looks as if she’s ready to deliver, but when the CD comes out, we’re hearing songs more suited for high school locker talk rather than grown woman lifestyles. The Declaration is a CD littered with inconsistencies in her ability to deliver vocally and in content. It’s time for someone in her camp to tell her the real deal: Come hard or go home, Ashanti


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