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Album Review: Keke Wyatt - 'Unbelievable!'

Believe it or Not ...

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Album Review: Keke Wyatt - 'Unbelievable!'
© Shanachie Records.
On her third official album, Unbelievable!, which was released in the U.S. on June 14, 2011, Keke Wyatt gives listeners some very thrilling moments as well as some very forgettable ones. Not coincidentally, most of the thrills occur during her songs that feature other voices with hers, such as Kelly Price and Tweet on "Mirror" and Ruben Studdard on a cover of 1980s hit "Saturday Love." But there are occasions on Unbelievable! where Keke's talent shines all by itself, such as on a powerful remake of the Gospel hymn "His Eye is on the Sparrow." Unfortunately, these moments of sheer sonic beauty are too few here.

Renewed Relevancy?

During her career, R&B singer-songwriter Keke Wyatt has recorded five full albums, but in a remarkable case of bad luck, two were shelved due to record label drama that was mostly beyond her control. Her latest effort, Unbelievable, which follows her 2010 release, Who Knew?, continues her efforts to get back on track as a relevant, consistent artist. And she does a good job making her case for renewed relevancy on about half of the albums 11 songs, the strongest of which is clearly "Mirror," a three-woman tour de force that features Kelly Price and the formerly missing-in-action Tweet. The song, about a woman who blames herself for getting back into a bad relationship (something that Keke, who has a documented history with domestic violence issues, may be able to relate to more than others). But the singer who steals the show is Tweet, who absolutely knocks it out of the park. Likewise, on the remake of Cherelle and Alexander O'Neal's "Saturday Love," it's Ruben Studdard who shines the most.
But Keke has her own moments here and there throughout Unbelievable, particularly on her remakes of "His Eye on the Sparrow" and Miki Howard's hopeful "Love Under New Management." She doesn't fare as well on another remake however, an indistinct version of Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven," though. And it's this song and a few thers, with their bland singing and unimaginative song arrangements and production that ultimately drag the album down from the heights that it manages to reach during its best songs.
Disclosure: a review copy was provided by Shanachie Records. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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