Trina Broussard - Inside My Love (Reissue) (2008)

Trina Broussard
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Soul music fans have heard Trina Broussard's voice even if they aren't all that familiar with the performer behind that voice. Got a copy of the excellent soundtrack to the movie Love Jones?  Throw it on the CD player (or play it on your iPod), and listen to Broussard blowing her pipes out on a wonderful cover of Minnie Ripperton's "Inside My Love." Broussard also provided backing vocals for some of the R&B's biggest stars in the 1990s, including Bobby Brown, Toni Braxton and BeBe and CeCe Winans.  And she figuratively lent her "voice" to Aretha Franklin when she co-wrote "Love You So Much," for the Queen of Soul. Surely, someone with that much talent had to have the inside track to stardom. However, Broussard's fate was to become the female Anthony Hamilton. Broussard signs a record deal, and actually releases two singles from the album Inside My Love in the late 90s, but the album gets shelved.
Soul music fans have heard Trina Broussard's voice even if they aren't all that familiar with the performer behind that voice. Got a copy of the excellent soundtrack to the movie Love Jones?  Throw it on the CD player (or play it on your iPod), and listen to Broussard blowing her pipes out on a wonderful cover of Minnie Ripperton's "Inside My Love." Broussard also provided backing vocals for some of the R&B's biggest stars in the 1990s, including Bobby Brown, Toni Braxton and BeBe and CeCe Winans.  And she figuratively lent her "voice" to Aretha Franklin when she co-wrote "Love You So Much," for the Queen of Soul. Surely, someone with that much talent had to have the inside track to stardom. However, Broussard's fate was to become the female Anthony Hamilton. Broussard signs a record deal, and actually releases two singles from the album Inside My Love in the late 90s, but the album gets shelved. She releases the album Same Girl in 2004 to critical acclaim but lackluster sales. She then stays busy while waiting for times to change and musical tastes to be more open to the kind of music she performs.

Sometimes, though, an artist moves ahead by looking back, and hopefully what worked for Hamilton - mainly releasing a long sat on album - will also pay dividends for Broussard. Inside My Love - Broussard's debut album - has been around for the better part of a decade. Promotional copies of the record have been much sought after by hard-core soul music fans, and I hear it takes a lot of money to get one of the promos still floating around.

The temptation - especially for fans of the movie Love Jones or lovers of the music of Minnie Ripperton - will be to put single "Inside My Love" on repeat. However, I suggest that you give the entire album a spin.

Inside My Love opens with a slow, pensive pace. That's not a bad thing because it's clear that Broussard is building to something.  "Losing My Mind" has the feel of Denise Williams' "Silly." Both songs tread in the same territory thematically. Like "Silly," "Losing My Mind" tells the story of a woman who is painfully self-aware of the fact that the power of love, infatuation or lust has put her in a situation where she is not fully in control of her emotions or actions. The mid-tempo song has a pop-influenced beat and an easily remembered hook. Broussard remains in that self-aware mode on the next tune, the slower and more mournful sounding "Why Do I Feel So Sad."

However, Inside My Love really finds its groove around the mid-point with the dreamy ballad "Sailing." Broussard follows that up with a funky, mid-tempo torch song called "Not Around" and then there's "Inside My Love." Listeners might still want to marinate on that song for a while, but Broussard follows the Minnie Ripperton classic with three very strong songs - the bluesy "All Night Long," the head-bopper "Remember Me," and the hip-hop influenced "Love You So Much" before closing with the bluesy holiday song "It's Not Really Christmas."

Inside My Love showcases Broussard as a singer who is not easy to put into a box. The album features pop tunes, classic soul joints, slow, burning torch songs and funky mid-tempo numbers. Like many soul singers, Broussard's focus is on the affairs of the heart. However, her strong voice, intelligent lyrics and use of a variety of tempos ensure that listeners won't lose interest. Highly recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 
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