Marsha Ambrosius - Fvck & Love

Marsha Ambrosius
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Marsha Ambrosius - Fvck and Love

Sometimes, you luck out, align chakras, link destinies, and find “The One”: her conversation is cool, your chemistry with him is hot and there are as many hours spent together vertically as you do horizontally. Or, there’s the flipside----you go from wanting to drink their bath water to looking for a hair dryer to toss in when they…never mind.  The point is, that relational ebb and flow is a common conundrum, so Marsha Ambrosius will describe whatever state your union is in with her third full-length release, Fvck And Love (review is for the explicit version).

Marsha Ambrosius - Fvck and Love

Sometimes, you luck out, align chakras, link destinies, and find “The One”: her conversation is cool, your chemistry with him is hot and there are as many hours spent together vertically as you do horizontally. Or, there’s the flipside----you go from wanting to drink their bath water to looking for a hair dryer to toss in when they…never mind.  The point is, that relational ebb and flow is a common conundrum, so Marsha Ambrosius will describe whatever state your union is in with her third full-length release, Fvck And Love (review is for the explicit version).

In the years between Friends and Lovers and now, Marsha’s added the titles of ‘wife’ and ‘mother’ to her already-extensive resume. Bringing a daughter into the world in December of 2016 uncorked a creative side she told fans and publications would be explored in a project entitled Nyla. That still may be a goal of hers soon, but for now, Mrs. Dez Billups is exploring the gamut of emotions that one’s special love (or soon-to-be ex) inspires in this sprawling, sex-driven collection of jams.  

…And Love, intentionally or not, is almost separated into two halves: the soft, sensual section is what we encounter first, utilizing her intricate wordplay and signature vocal trills to create, then expand upon, whichever mood you’re wanting to evoke. For those in the throes of binge-level, ahem, activity, there’s the ode to his sexual skill set, “Come,” the shimmering, breathless balladry of “Slow Motion,” the straightforward bedroom buffet, “Take It,” and the bittersweet Teena Marie-recalling “Friends and Lovers,” one of the collection’s most conventional and enjoyable cuts: “The truth is I’m so lost without you, I’m asking you right here and now/can we be friends and lovers? Will this all end, with us hurting each other?” Also, because the mattress mambo isn’t always enough to build a ‘happily ever after’ on, there’s the ‘one-for-the-road’ sendoff (“FCKINGITITOVAWID”), the ‘I’m over it’ soliloquy (“Expect this S***”) and the “X-Factor” feel of “Summer,” where the relationship’s a boxing ring and Ambrosius is down for the count and waving her last white towel in defeat: “If loving you is easy baby, then you’ve made me a failure,” she wails. “…I’m nothing nice and cold as ice in the dead of winter.”

But as she’s displayed in earlier releases and mixtapes, Marsha can still mix the bow-wow-chicka-wow-wow and the boom-bap, as the bottom half of …And Love is some of the most hip-hop flavored soul this side of Mary J. Blige: boasting such names as Don Cannon and DJ Active, the collabos are simultaneously raw and rich, boasting of her b-girl skills (“Dat Sh*t”), paying homage to her Philly roots and UK foundation (“Forget About You”), the remorseless, hard-hitting “R.I.P (It’s Over)” a feel-good spring-ready jam (“Sunshine”) and an unexpected nod to His Royal Badness, using a slower send-up of the opening chords of Prince’s “I Wanna Be Your Lover” to proclaim her new boo a “Supastar.”

Some performers can take awhile to successfully toggle each new dimension of life, having to learn balance to keep their back-in-the-day fans satisfied as new followers decide whether they’re down or onto the next. …And Love reminds us of why Marsha Ambrosius is still someone we will check for----she’s charismatic, captivating, and gives our emotions wings to fly with as her chords underscore them with a passion we can’t deny. Yes, some parts are too long, too transparent and, well, just too much period (hearing intonations of “DJ ACTIVE!” and “Cannon, Cannon, Cannon” imprinted within the beats gets old. Fast.), but that’s what real love is about: playing up strengths, overlooking the flaws and becoming enhanced by the whole process. Highly Recommended.  

By Melody Charles

 
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