says that his fourth album, I Still Believe
will be his last release as an R&B singer because he wants to spend more time raising his kids. Whether or not this is his actual swan song is debatable - plenty of artists have said they were retiring, only to drop a new album a few years later. But if this truly is the last solo album we'll ever hear from Lyfe, then the passionate, powerful and personal I Still Believe
, released in the U.S. on Aug. 31, 2010, is a fitting end to what's been a very respectable career for him.
Sad & Beautiful
Interestingly, the best song on Lyfe Jennings
' I Still Believe
is a bonus track called "If Tomorrow Never Comes," that's tacked onto the album's end. On this masterpiece of a song, Lyfe sings his goodbyes to his loved ones, sort of like a man who has a terminal disease or otherwise is facing his own mortality. "If tomorrow never comes and you never see me again, I don't want your last memories to be filled with negativity," he sings. "If tomorrow never comes, all that fussin' and fightin' won't mean nothin' when it's said and done." The song is sad, beautiful and even funny at points, as when Lyfe sings "Tell my auntie that I was the one who broke the TV, I know that it happened in '93, but I just had to get it off my chest, I guess."
Another deeply personal song is "It Coulda Been Worse," on which reminds us to look on the bright side of things. And when he sings "It coulda been worse, you could have been dead," you can't help but wonder if the song has anything to do with his October 2008 arrest where he wound up hospitalized after driving into a drive while trying to escape police. But whatever the reasons for him recording the song, the confessional tone and lyrics let you know that Lyfe is definitely grateful for what he's got.
One of the best things about Lyfe's songs is that he doesn't use them to chase trends, or jump on musical bandwagons, or only make mindless party music. His songs' content is always meaty, rich and thick, and he seemingly pours his heart and soul into all 13 tracks on this album.
© Asylum Records.
But although I Still Believe
is chock-full of great songs, there's one song that will hit a sour note for some. On "Statistics," Lyfe proclaims that only 10 percent of single eligible men are any good: "25 percent of all men are unstable, 25 percent of all men can't be faithful, 30 percent of them don't mean what they say and 10 percent of the remaining 20 is gay," he sings on the track. Although the song's meant as constructive advice to women looking for a mate, it's unsubstantiated - and probably factually incorrect - content disses 90 percent of the male population, and instead of seeming like a helping hand, Lyfe comes across as a hater. What's even more interesting is that the song was released and promoted as a single, meaning that his label's promoting a song that could alienate a good deal of his male fans.
The only other problem with the album is that Lyfe tries to kick a rap verse every now and then, and it just isn't his thing. The rhymes skills he briefly displays on songs like "Love" and "Spotlight" are amateurish, but thankfully these displays are brief and don't really detract too much from the songs' and album's quality. So overall, despite it's few missteps, I Still Believe is an excellent album overall. It's filled with three-dimensional, intelligent songs that aren't dumbed-down and don't chase trends. It's obvious throughout this album that Lyfe genuinely loves music and performing. And even though he claims this will be his last album, it's also obvious that he'll be back.