Album Review: Jennifer Hudson

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 8:55 PM

No more standin' in the back of the line, cause I'm invisible for the last time...

Artist: Jennifer Hudson
Album: Jennifer Hudson
Release Date: 9.30.08

It’s often said that hindsight is 20/20. Maybe that’ll explain why Simon Cowell doesn’t need glasses. After her early dismissal from the 3rd season of American Idol, Jennifer Hudson has risen to become arguably the most successful contestant in the show’s history. Her self-titled debut album is everything you’d expect from the former American Idol contestant – gi-normous vocals, soulful melodies, and an album full of content that compliments her character. With production from Ne-yo, Tank, Stargate, Timbaland and Polow Da Don (to name a few), this is undoubtedly one of the strongest R&B releases of the year – minus a drawback or two.

The sound of this album is very independent, very strong and even sassy in parts as shown on the lead single, Spotlight, which also opens the album. If This Isn’t Love (Brian Kennedy) is the first of a few amazing power ballads found throughout the album and reintroduces the voice that brought us Circle of Life during her stint on AI. One of my top picks for this album is the upbeat (surprisingly) Pocketbook, which features a cameo from Ludacris and production from Timbaland. I like it because of its personality and lightheartedness – and it has that Jenny-from-the-block flavor to it! My Heart (Polow Da Don) is a smooth to-the-point mid-tempo that address the need for honesty to build a solid love. One of the more vulnerable tracks is Can’t Stop The Rain, as it recounts questions and mixed emotions behind a tragic loss. More power vocals shine through on Invisible, which could have easily been the uplifting American Idol single, minus the cheesy factor that usually accompanies. Effie White pays a visit on Hudson’s rendition of And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going, which precedes the final song on the album, Jesus Promised Me a Home Over There. I find this to be an appropriate closing number as it revisits the birthplace of Jennifer’s amazing voice – church.

The shortcomings on this album are on the duets. Fantasia Barrino joins her one-time competitor on a stunning diva-duet with I’m His Only Woman. This song is a cross between Woman to Woman (Shirley Brown) and The Boy Is Mine (Brandy and Monica). It’s a great song, but the problem here is that the women seem to think they’re still vying for votes, and that leads to a lot of over singing and too much “church” for one song. But even worse is the collaboration with T-Pain, which is T-Painfully annoying at best. He tries desperately to match Jennifer’s natural sound on What’s Wrong (Go Away) with his infamous AutoTune-enabled vocals but he is really no match for her voice. This duet would have been better suited for a stronger, REAL vocalist, namely Tyrese or even Jamie Foxx.

Despite it’s minor drawbacks, this album is the real thing – in stereo. A monumental team of R&B producers and writers made noteworthy contributions to this album, giving it just enough spark to set the R&B world on fire. On her next album, I’d love to hear some more mid-tempos; I think one upbeat track is enough for her. And please, no more T-Pain! It’s a safe bet to say that Oscar and Globe will have a new friend in about 6 months; that friend’s name is Grammy.

Related Post:

Your Prescription is In: R&B Edition
The Spotlight Is On
Sex And The Soundtrack


4 comments and counting...

  1. Sound-Savvy Said,

    excellent review for a wonderful album.. Jennifer if ur reading this, Sound Savvy would love to rap to ya!

    Mellomusic's fav track: We Gon Fight

    Posted on September 30, 2008 at 11:43 PM

  2. I agree totally with the review, it was perfect for her initial effort. She showed her versatility and I really dug "Can't Stop The Rain", it was so real. Needless to say, you've done it again with this review dude ! Good work.

    Posted on October 1, 2008 at 11:07 AM

  3. Good review. I found you on urban Blogger. I'll continue lurking for now :)

    The Cocoa Luv Chronicles: Jennifer Hudson

    Posted on October 1, 2008 at 5:45 PM

  4. Anonymous Said,

    I just came across a song that did not make her album:

    Posted on October 4, 2008 at 10:30 AM


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