Angie Stone - Dream (2015)

Angie Stone
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Angie Stone – Dream

It's probably an understatement to say that Angie Stone has experienced a tumultuous year. The transitions were both personal and professional, from leaving R&B Divas to a broken engagement and yes, the infamous altercation with her adult daughter that generated headline news. Recovering after setbacks like those seem insurmountable to some, but when you've created possibilities out of passions for decades as Angie has, you acknowledge the anguish, internalize the lessons and keep it moving, which is precisely what she did from the sounds of her seventh album, Dream.

Angie Stone – Dream

It's probably an understatement to say that Angie Stone has experienced a tumultuous year. The transitions were both personal and professional, from leaving R&B Divas to a broken engagement and yes, the infamous altercation with her adult daughter that generated headline news. Recovering after setbacks like those seem insurmountable to some, but when you've created possibilities out of passions for decades as Angie has, you acknowledge the anguish, internalize the lessons and keep it moving, which is precisely what she did from the sounds of her seventh album, Dream.

Aside from her years with Sequence and Vertical Hold, the elements of Angie's style---the honeyed husk of an alto, lyrical prowess and the ability to meld classic and contemporary R&B --- have kept the South Carolina native in-demand as one of the most revered and recognizable voices of Neo Soul. Stone is at her artistic best when her vocals and 'wise sister-girlfriend' persona are allowed to shine, a feat accomplished in part thanks to executive and producer Walter W. Milsap III (Timbaland, Alicia Keys,Beyonce). Unlike her 2012 CD, the enjoyable but overlooked Rich Girl, the tracks here employ some vintage touches, yet retain modern flair as Angie offers glimpses into the present and past. There's her new status as a footloose free agent in the plucky, disco-esque "Dollar Bill" ("I'm not searching for a Mr. Right right now/I'm living up in the city tonight, it's going down"), the scold-filled self-inventory fueling the moody, delicate slow groove, "Magnet" ("I wish I had good sense enough to tell when you were just telling me what I want to hear/I told him 'I love you,' he told me he loved me too, but his kisses never felt sincere") and her first-ever duet with Dave Hollister, the lament-filled ballad "Try Again," which posits the two as a former couple deciding to reunite instead of being "back in the club brushing off the dust" to find someone new: "You've got me spoiled Baby," Hollister pleads in his velvety croon, "these [muted] ain't loyal, naw naw...."

Angie's introspection doesn't stop there, however. Yes, she's pleading to be left alone with her sexy fantasies in the tantalizing title track ("Ooh you're making me mimosa, then you lay my body down on the sofa/And I-yi-yi he's handling his business, dark-skinned like Idris/WOO! I could scream, let me dream") and confessing that a particular man is an addiction she needs to shake in the CD's first single, "2 Bad Habits," but she isn't above reminiscing about that well-known former flame in the bittersweet doo-wopper, "Forget About Me" ("No matter how much time passes by, true love will outlast any lie/It's probably best we leave the past in the past, but every now and then I gotta ask...") or channeling the straightforward sass of Aretha Franklin and fervor of Gladys Knight in the searing send-off "Quits" ("You really showed your behind," Stone fumes to her on-the-way-out ex,"and when you try to get through on my line I hope your cell phone dies.") *Bloop*

Stumbling blocks into soliloquies, heartbreak into headway: all of us go through trials in our lives, but it takes a special survivor to set those misfortunes to music that others can take comfort in or relate to. Angie Stone's Dream displays those unique qualities in spades, revealing that being singed by the fire simply burnished her into a stronger woman, mother and performer in the process. Her life's notes certainly veered off-key and some sentiments are likely still too raw for eight bars, but that's what true artists do....transform their pain into power for all to absorb and witness. Highly Recommended.

By Melody Charles

 Listen to Dream

 

 

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