In an industry where successful artists adopt alter egos and media-crafted images even as they extol the virtue of “keeping it real,” Temika Moore is a stylistic and substantive oddity. She has released a string of projects in which the songs are about real people confronting real struggles, expressing real doubts and confusion and seeking real answers. She delivers these musical stories with a soulful and mature voice. It’s not too surprising that word about this Philadelphia native doesn’t stretch much beyond places where those virtues are viewed as…well…virtues.
Moore received kudos for her previous two recordings – Moment of Truth and Doing Just Fine – on SoulTracks. And she continues down the path of telling intimate, spiritual and inspirational stories on her new EP, The End of Me. Moore has been labeled as a gospel, jazz, R&B and soul vocalist during the course of her career, and the five tracks on The End of Me show that Moore has no intention of limiting her musical palate.
For example, the track “Let It Go,” first appeared on Doing Just Fine as a mid tempo R&B tune. Moore opts to give the version heard on The End of Me a sparse arrangement. The percussion and keyboards give the cut more of a neo-soul feel. Moore explores her jazz leanings on the title track, which is the last tune on the CD. She sings with a piano as her only accompaniment. The song’s theme makes this arrangement of vocal and piano appropriate. “The End of Me” tells the story of woman looking back on her life and concluding that her attempts to solve her problems or seek find happiness through her own efforts have failed: “If I burned a bridge/It’s not what I meant to do/if I broke some hearts/I didn’t mean that too/I believed the myth/and now there are some things I have to come to terms with/I don’t know who I am anymore/I don’t know what I’m fighting for/things that once were/are no more.”
The End of Me, in many ways, may be Moore’s most revealing and real work. Some might even call the record somewhat of a downer. The tunes that bookend this EP – the title track and the opener, “I’m Not OK” – talk about being overwhelmed and disillusioned. The modern R&B track “I’m Not OK” is a tune that many working women (are there any other kind) will appreciate. On this track, Moore sings about being worn down from being everything for everybody else and trying carve out a little room to deal her own issues.
While some of the tracks are not uplifting in the common use of the term, these songs are real – which means that the tunes are classic Temika Moore. Anybody who has struggled to maintain their sanity and their integrity in a world that often savages both will appreciate Moore’s musical candor as well as her virtuosity. Recommended
By Howard Dukes