Fantasia - Fantasia (2006)

Fantasia
Fantasia_-_Fantasia.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase

There is a tendency among Old Schoolers to argue that modern R&B is a poorly mutated descendant of Classic Soul, where basic song structure and melody have been sacrificed (or discarded) for the sake of beats and attitude.  And while that is an oversimplification, it rings true on enough new releases that it can't be totally dismissed.  How else to you explain the fact that the finest moments on Fantasia, the self-titled sophomore album by American Idol alum Fantasia Barrino, are based on liberally borrowed samples of classic tracks by the Supremes ("Hood Boy" borrows from "Happening") and Al Green ("Baby Makin' Hips" uses ""I Tried to Tell Myself")?  Barrino remains a wonderful talent, an expressive singer with a classic Gospel/Soul voice and the ability to wring emotion out of even mediocre material.  Unfortunately, that's mostly what she gets on Fantasia.  The disc has modern, crisp sound that explodes from the speakers, providing a noticeable immed

There is a tendency among Old Schoolers to argue that modern R&B is a poorly mutated descendant of Classic Soul, where basic song structure and melody have been sacrificed (or discarded) for the sake of beats and attitude.  And while that is an oversimplification, it rings true on enough new releases that it can't be totally dismissed.  How else to you explain the fact that the finest moments on Fantasia, the self-titled sophomore album by American Idol alum Fantasia Barrino, are based on liberally borrowed samples of classic tracks by the Supremes ("Hood Boy" borrows from "Happening") and Al Green ("Baby Makin' Hips" uses ""I Tried to Tell Myself")?  Barrino remains a wonderful talent, an expressive singer with a classic Gospel/Soul voice and the ability to wring emotion out of even mediocre material.  Unfortunately, that's mostly what she gets on Fantasia.  The disc has modern, crisp sound that explodes from the speakers, providing a noticeable immediacy that is much more cutting edge than Barrino's successful 2005 debut.  But while the album sounds great, the sonic quality is a two-edged sword that accentuates the mediocrity of the songs themselves.  The aforementioned sampled tracks as well as the playful "Bore Me (Yawn)" and "I Feel Beautiful" all work well, but far too much of the remainder of Fantasia relies on technology to make up for melodically inferior, lyrically vacuous tracks like "I'm Not That Type" and "I Nominate You."  Fantasia is at a crossroads in her career, and she unfortunately appears to have chosen to focus on a "Flavor of the Month" sound that may increase her short term urban sales but which will not create a memorable discography worthy of her substantial vocal talent.

by Chris Rizik

 
Album of the Month - Juewett Bostick - Shades of Blu
Choice Cut - Kea Michaels - "Not My Friend"
Song of the Month - Bryan Andrew Wilson - "Only You'

Leave a comment!