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Fantasia (Barrino) released her self-entitled second album in 2006. It found that the third American Idol winner progressing with her music as she goes from the typical Soul material, more towards the more contemporary R&B field here as she dropped this sophomore record which was aimed towards a more diverse audience.
1. "Hood Boy"
The album start with what I saw as the best single from the singer up to that point as she came with this as the first single of the album as she shows that she is capable of much more than what her first record offered with this one getting her doing things in the style that was seen on Destiny's Child's "Soldier" with her working with Big Boi of OutKast about the type of men she's into (and how the rapper fits this description).
2. "When I See U"
This one for me was just as strong as the first single as with this on she was seem to get into one of the most emotive tunes you will find form her. The vocals are put to the test here, and she really makes the most out of this opportunity to come up with a killer track which has her working on some soft beats whilst doing her Soul thing.
3. "I Nominate U"
I saw this as a rather unexpected track on the album as you see that with this one she shows what she can do with some well-written material which has her performing roel play in an intimate one about how she would like to nominate her partner for various awards in order to show just how much she appreciates him.
4. "Baby Makin' Hips"
With some new names on the production scene working with her, out see that you get a rather fresh-sounding one here as she appears to move towards he more general R&B style here and does so as she incorporates contemporary techniques which were found throughout this field and in Hip Hop at the time.
5. "Not The Way That I Do"
With this you get her moving over towards the club end other here material and I felt tha tit was done in one of the most impressive ways that had been heard fro her as she jumps on pounding beats and is suited perfectly to the grimy track which you get in this song. It does its job and get you moving.
6. "Only One U"
This was the least most impactful single which you get from her here, but I have to say hat she certainly deserved attention for this one as she works with Bryan-Michael Cox and he shows that he's still got what is needed to make big hits for the biggest R&B talents (as he had with many including Aaliyah, Toni Braxton and Usher).
7. "I Feel Beautiful"
With the acoustic approach taken with this one, you find that in this case she slows things down somewhat in order to get into the much more emotive material where she can really show how far her voice can be taken when working in a more traditional format as she does here on a empowering breakup joint.
8. "I'm Not That Type"
This is a one of the flyest tunes on the album and one which really stands out here as the producer decides that its about time that fantasia get into some Crunk & B here I felt that this amongst that you get from it as it sounds to be of the standard you would expect from a single and it brings out the best in her abilities when working with some of the best talent in the R&B and Hip Hop production game.
Although at first I through that this was a tune I could potential feel over time, I felt that it simply wasn't something on the release I was ever really going to feel as you find that here she gets into one where she turns towards the commercial side and does a pretty plain Pop tune in what can only be described as an off-putting manner.
10. "Two Weeks Notice"
I felt that this one showed the highest standard of writing on the album, and this certainly had a massive effect upon my enjoyment for it as she is seen to sing emotively about how she wants out of the relationship she is in with her man and so uses a employment resignation as a metaphor for how she can't cope anymore.
11. "Surround U"
Here you find that you get a fly jam which has thing moved on quite a it as Swizz Beatz gets on the beats and does the expected thing by getting on some samples, and in this case chooses to go for a classy one to get the listeners two-stepping along (rather than going where he usually does with the hyped club jams).
12. "Bore Me"
The production for this one is funky and has you grooving along as she tries out new things of this one as she lifts thee tempo here and forces you to really engage you with the song as she talks of how she has too much life in her to be tied down with a partner who is out creeping around with others at this stage of her life.
You get nice and floaty tune here to cause things to lift somewhat as she gets into more of the contemporary R&B and jumps on to of the style of beats from the time where it is all based on some powerful bass and other things which make up a Hip Hop-inspired cut which has her making the most of what comes through here.
14. "Bump What Your Friends Say"
The album ends with her getting into a big tune where it appears that she gets well into a bald tune which has its traditional form altered partway through in order to show that she isn't going to put people off by this sort of thing, it seems to support the emotional journey she goes through as she discovers that she needs to ignore her friends in order to get what she wants in her love life.
Aside from one clear lapse in quality in a single track, the whole of this album is strong and shows great progression from the singer and she makes full use of the opportunity to work with big names in the R&B production game to create what you get in this release and so I would have to recommend it to anyone who was into the kind of material which you found a this sort of time.
Fantasia Barrino is yet another success story in the history of American Idol. The North Carolina native made a name for herself during the Third season of the show back in 2004. You may not have known this but she comes from quite a musical family with her cousins Cedric and Joel Hailey of KCI & JoJo and Jodeci fame and also distant cousin of Dave Hollister of Blackstreet fame and solo singer Calvin Richardson. Fantasia had a tough life as a teenager and whilst a student at Andrews High School in High Point she was raped by a classmate and her life took on another challenge when she got pregnant at sixteen (not related) she raised the child on her own after her partner used to beat her.
Fantasia impressed from the first audition In North Carolina with her unique vocal style and her infectious personality. She was also joined in the series by Jennifer Hudson who has since gone on to be a star herself with her performance in Dreamgirls alongside Beyonce Knowles and her debut album which she performs a song with Fantasia. Advancing through the stages Fantasia eventually won the series after receiving just over 1.2m votes more than runner up Diana DeGarmo. She released her debut album Free Yourself later in 2004.
Fantasia began work on her second album in early 2006 and the album was released on 12th December. It features production from some very well known producers. Including Babyface, Bryan Michael Cox, Danja, Dre & Vidal, Missy Elliott, Kwamé, Harold Lilly, Midi Mafia, Tone Mason and finally Swizz Beatz. The album features 14 tracks and collaborations include Big Boi from Outkast and Missy Elliot.
1. Hood Boy ft Big Boi
2. When I See You
3. I Nominate You
4. Baby Makin Hips
5. Not the way that I do
6. Only One U
7. I Feel Beautiful
8. I'm not that type
10. Two weeks notice
11. Surround U
12. Bore Me (Yawn)
14. Bump what your friends say
Opening up the album we have the impressively catchy "Hood Boy" ft Big Boi of Outkast. This has a funky beat with some 70's soul horns in the background. A very flowing opening. Next comes "When I See U" which is a very catchy track with a heavy beat and some nice keyboard tones. Fantasia's voice flows well with a fine purity and this track works really well with the beat on a more ballad like track. Next up is "I Nominate you" which is a very soulful track with Fantasia's vocals sounding like a modern day Aretha. This is a brilliantly flowing track which is up there with the best on the album.
"Baby makin hips" is a catchy up tempo track which has a great feel and some very catchy melodies. "Not The Way That I Do" Is a very funky up tempo track which sees Fantasia in a Beyonce like bootylicious mode if she had been doing the same kind of material she was back when she was younger as she is now."Only One U" is up next and this is a very flowing slice of R&B, It has a good beat and some very nice backing vocals with Fantasia's voice sounding centre stage. This is a very good track.
"I Feel Beautiful" is up next and this is a great Babyface penned track which has a great flow and a nice beat. This track is about how you feel when you come out of a bad relationship and you feel so much better for it that you feel that you can take anything on and win. "I'm not that type" is a catchy hip hop/electro track which sees Fantasia blast women who act a certain way. This blends the beat of the hip hop with the synth of the electro rather well and it makes for a different feel.
"Uneligible" is a funky up tempo track which has a great flow and is one of the best up tempo tracks on the album. This track does not show her vocal potential but what vocals they are are well defined and emotive. Next up is "Two weeks notice" which is a gorgeous ballad that slows the album down with gentle piano and then the beat comes in. Fantasia really excels with this track and the backing vocals add a nice touch. This is a brilliantly done track which is probably the best on the album.
"Surround You is up next and this is a funky old school slice of Fantasia. This has a good flow and although it does not really develop it's still a good track that you should enjoy. Next up we have "Bore Me, Yawn" which is a funky Prince like track about when you just get annoyed with someone's constant beating around the bush. A very flowing track that showcases the speed of Fantasia's voice at times.
"Sunshine" is up next and is a very pleasant mid tempo track which has some great hooks and sounds. Fantasia's vocal is very flowing and a lot less full on than usual which shows her tonal quality to good effect, Now we come to the final track on the album and this is a duet with Missy Elliot callled "Bump what your friends say" You may be surprised at this one as it's a smooth ballad which you would not expect Missy to be on but this is brilliant despite the addition of Missy.
This is a very good album which has some very good tracks and two stunners, It is better than her debut but there's still some work needed if Fantasia is going to have the career her voice deserves. I would like a few more ballads on her next album which is to be released next year. Although Fantasia won American Idol it was her Idol competition of Jennifer Hudson that has produced the better album so far. Time will tell how the two careers will go but one thing is clear, At her best Fantasia is an amazing singer with grace and power in spades. Good album.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Hood Boy ft Big Boi (Outkast)
2 When I See U
3 Not The Way That I Do
4 I Nominate U
5 I Feel Beautiful