Chrisette Michele’s recently released her latest effort Let Freedom Reign to a plethora of fans who seem to be relatively pissed off about it’s pop direction. Unlike all them bitches, I like the album.
Her first album, I Am, had a jazzy–feel which highlighted her sultry voice. Her second album, Epiphany, saw a shift towards urban pop. Unfortunately that album was forgettable for me. Her third album, is an even bigger move towards mainstream pop but Chrisette is quite experimental when it comes to incorporating other genres and styles. This has people urked because they like the I Am Chrisette and want more of where that came from.
Funnily enough, Chrisette claims that on this album she’s letting go and being herself. She says, “let is a verb meaning to allow, to make room for. Freedom, we know what that is. And Reign means to be supreme. Freedom can’t reign unless you allow it to. Let Freedom Reign is a challenge to the people who are listening to create freedom and truth in their lives.” So…does that mean that in real life her fans wouldn’t actually like her music taste? Harsh.
I personally like the album because of how musically diverse it is. Her first single on the album “I’m a Star”, written by Ne-yo, is definitely a bubbly R&B/pop radio track which people will tire quickly of but will nonetheless probably make it onto the soundtrack of some chick flick. “Number One” is still pretty settled in the pop genre but it’s a little more fierce, featuring Chrisette’s raspy voice. On “Let Freedom Reign” featuring Talib Kweli and Black Thought, Chrisette alternates between rapping and singing a Mediterranean-sounding chorus. Great track, probably my favourite. Other stands out are “Unsaid” with it’s electric guitar, and the ballads “Nobody Sang” and “I Know Nothing” where you can truly hear Chrisette singing her heart out.
Only really negative thing I have to say is kill the interludes: what are they for other than to be skipped and take up valuable disc space? Oh and what’s up with the circus-esque attire? It’s not that I mind it but I’m starting to think that there’s some sort of rule in the music industry that at some point in your musical career, you have to visit the circus (Christina Aguilera, Britney, Pink, Avril Lavigne, Lady Gaga….those are just a few circus goers).
Like any album there are a few forgettable tracks, but for the most part it’s a pretty solid effort so I’m not quite sure what the naysayers are going on about.
Label: Def Jam
Favourites: Number One, Let Freedom Reign, I Know Nothing