Friday, April 29, 2005

You know, it's not a great album overall, but about half of Fantasia's debut Free Yourself actually is pretty great. It's dragged down a bit by the not-so-great (Jazze Pha's "Don't Act Right" should've gone to Ciara, and the American Idol dreck of "I Believe" and ill-advised cover of "Always On My Mind" don't help), but songs such as the new single, the album's Missy Elliott-produced midtempo title track, are super. "Baby Mama" is fun if you take it with an unintended wink, "Truth Is" is a lovely slice of sorta-old soul, and the Rodney Jerkins creation "It's All Good" is marching band-tastic. Fantasia smolders on "Ain't Gon' Beg You" and opens up on "This Is Me," which is a really marvelous primer on the reigning AI champ. If you're a fan of contemporary R&B - particularly the kind that's not mucked up with lots of guest rappers (Jazze and Missy each toss in a verse, but that's mercifully it) - this is a fine example of, at its best, how good the genre can be. And Fantasia's voice continues to be a marvel. B

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