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Album Review: Jazmine Sullivan - 'Fearless'

Strong & Confident

About.com Rating 3 Star Rating

By

Album Review: Jazmine Sullivan - 'Fearless'
Image © J Records.
Although she's still relatively young at 21 years old, Jazmine Sullivan is a longtime veteran of the music business. She's been singing since the age of 5, and at 11 made her first nationally televised appearance (on the syndicated Showtime at the Apollo). And her youth and her experience are both on full display within her debut album, Fearless, released in the U.S. on Sept. 23, 2008. Jazmine has a strong, confident, assertive voice and displays an amazing maturity on some songs. But on other songs, the vocals are loud but generic and lack emotion or urgency. Fortunately though, there are more hits than misses here.

Power & Conviction

Vocal inconsistency is usually to be expected by young artists, especially on their debut albums. But for the most part, Jazmine Sullivan's voice is solid throughout Fearless, her 12-song debut album. That said, the cream of the crop here is definitely the first four songs: the deliciously wicked "Bust Your Windows;" the Carribean-flavored anthem "Need U Bad;" the relationship-gone-bad song "My Foolish Heart;" and the scared-to-love song "Lions, Tigers & Bears."

What's most impressive about the songs is two things: first how Jazmine manages to belt out the songs with such power and conviction: her fiery passion on the tracks is huge. The second attribute is the songwriting; Jazmine is already being compared to such greats as Alicia Keys and Mary J. Blige, but one appropriate comparison that hasn't been made yet is to Ne-Yo, due to both artists' talent for writing on-point, introspective lyrics. Like Ne-Yo, Jazmine has a knack for crafting intricate, deeply personal verses that make you feel at one with the singer. Even on the weaker songs on Fearless, the songwriting is still above par.

But speaking of weaker songs, after the album's first half, the quality takes a dip. Songs like "Dream Big," "Live A Lie" and "In Love With Another Man" are well written, but lack the originality and urgency that made the album's first half so enjoyable. It's not that the songs are bad, it's just that they can't measure up to the album's best material. So to sum it up, Jazmine is a star on the rise, but in order to reach her full potential, she needs to be more consistent.

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