I am truly excited to be able to review this album on dooyoo as I thought it wouldn't be available on here as it's quite an obscure album. I will touch on this more later.
Complex Simplicity is Teedra Moses' debut album and what a debut it is. I first heard of Teedra in 2004. Her songs got very good rotation in the sphere of urban radio and she was being coined as 'one to watch' and there was a considerable buzz surrounding her as the new R&B singer with something slightly different to offer.
'Be your girl' is the first song I ever heard of hers- the lead and the very first song on the album. In fact this is the only single to be released complete with video on her album- If you have time do check it out on YouTube. I love this song and it is probably my favourite song on the album although many more come very close. The song has a beautiful guitar rift which is a sample of Ahmad Jamal's 'The Awakening'. This song was a club banger and definitely catapulted Teedra Moses into the underground scene with the promise of further exposure. A few songs on this album contain samples such as 'You'll never find' featuring Jadakiss and the 'Still your girl' remix at the end of the UK/European edition of the album. This I feel however, takes nothing away from the album and even enhances it, as all samples used are soulful and help to beef out the tracks.
For me this album is separated into two parts. The first half from Song one up to song seven has a very laid back and relaxed feel. These songs are very contemplative about the subject of love. 'No more tears' is an anthem for women who have been hard done by and is very poignant. This also contains a sample from Outkast, very cleverly done. 'Rescue me' and 'Take me' are two beautiful ballads which pay back to back. Both empathize with the sentiments of a single lonely girl contemplative of the love of a past and prospective suitor. They have a very 'wintery' feel to them, the type of songs you listen to alone on a cold night with a cup of hot cocoa conjuring up the man of your dreams.
The second half of the album is relatively up tempo. I love 'Doin' you' and the album's namesake 'Complex Simplicity' which reminds me of the bridge in Alexander and Cherelles' 'Saturday Love'. Both are club type tracks and reminiscent of Saturday nights in a dark room with blue strobe lights. I find them quite uplifting and 'Complex Simplicity's' message is beautiful telling us to enjoy our lives and make the most of what we have. 'Last Day' has a very similar message and feel to it and both are inspired by the death of Moses' mother Shirley who is paid tribute to in the Latin jazz/Bossa inspired 'I think of you'.
The one and only song I don't like on this album is 'Outta my head' - I just find it very dreary and depressing and I am not fond of the production on this one.
Overall this album is beautiful. Teedra Moses is ironically recognised as an extremely underrated artist. Her debut can be described as an underground classic. If you are put off by the poppy vocals and tinny production and Auto-Tune which dominates much R&B music today, then you will find this album to be a breath of fresh air. Go ahead and listen to it. You will not be disappointed. This album is a concoction of sophisticated, soulful and mature sounds with echoes of vintage hip hop which is aimed at a more mature audience.
The New Orleans R&B singer Teedra Moses released her debut album in 2004. Her album dropped following success writing for the likes of Nivea, Christina Milian and Teairra Marie. She made a relatively big impact with her hit song, "Be Your Girl", but failed to make any sort of impression on the UK scene following this.
1. "Be Your Girl"
Getting things going you have the song which really got her career going. It was her debut single, and so needed to make an impact, and that it something it clearly did come up with as you find that it is based upon the drum loop of "Billie Jean" and has her doing a Soul track inspired by the raw sound of the '90s and the type of thing which came from the middle of the decade. It is a big tune, and just the way you like things to begin.
2. "You'll Never Find"
This was a radio-only promotional single for the album and finds the artist doing massive collaboration with Jadakiss. You are taken right back to the time where it was Kanye West's style of production which dominated he urban music scene,. And so you find that on some chipmunked sampled and heavy beats, you have the two of them coming up with a banger of an RR&B jam. It is just as big as
You have the Funk continue through this one ne as you her carry through the momentum of the first couple of joints with a gentle groove. It is a nice little one and has clear influence for the sound of the eighties, but with a modern twist which you are used to, but it is just all done in a way so are forced to have fun with it, just as she does.
Here you have her bringing the pace down a bit for a song which he evidently quite original and it seems to display just how unique her style of song=writing is. I felt that it was a very good transitional work as it has here attempting to bridge between the more lively work towards the softer material whilst keeping the standards high.
5. "No More Tears"
Here you have more evidence of the artist trying to keep with the sounds of the nineties by performing something which seems to fit in with the type of thing which was popular during that decade, and with this added throwback twist, it seems to lift it as she takes directly from one of the Golden Ages of R&B, and one which most modern listeners will remember well.
6. "Rescue Me"
This was the first of the album where I felt as though I was loosing her as it gets her doing a song which didn't really seem to come across as successful as the others which we have encountered up o this point as she drop it to something quite original with production which you don't typically expect to here, but she makes it work to a degree.
7. "Take Me"
This is a very original one, and although initially I wasn't quite sure what was going on or why she had chosen to use only one side of the stereo for her vocals, once you hear it in its entirety, you are able to appreciate what has gone into constructing it as she works with, former Tony! Toni! Toné! and Lucy Pearl vocalist, Raphael Saadiq in a duet.
8. "You Better Tell Her"
This one really stands out as it finds her doing something very different as she is able to work on production from Crunk populariser Lil' Jon, who drops something which fits in with her style as a southern R&B singer. Although this album dropped at the time when Crunk & B first blazed into the mainstream as Ciara dropped her debut single, this doesn't quite into all that, but it is one that the Dirty South fans will enjoy.
9. "Outta My Head"
This is a banger of a jam from the artist and it gets her dropping one which really shows how strong her vocals are. It is a powerful recording, and seems to get her showcasing just how to adapt this to dramatic production which empowers her and gives her what is required to get all she can out of the recording. I felt that this improved over time as you get a feel of how well her vocals work with the powerful composition backing her up.
10. "Complex Simplicity"
The titular song to the album finds that she opts for something which takes from her lead single with the type of hard-hitting drum break used to drive it, and I felt that it made you focus into it and really connect to what she comes up with on it. It is a nice one and finds her doing a mellow club tune, but it seems to be at a fairly plain level, and doesn't lift as other tunes do.
11. "For A Lifetime"
I felt as though things weren't really going the way that I would have liked to have heard from here, as on this occasion she feels that it is about time that she goes for something which puts her Pop influence into action as she does a pretty light ballad m in which she attempts to push things forward with progressive beats, but it just wasn't saying anything to me.
12. "Caught Up"
Luckily she saves herself by going for a two-stepping jam for this one, and it seems to brush over the poor quality of the song prior to it. I felt that she really couldn't go wrong in this kind of thing, and she certainly didn't go wrong with it as she does a nice little one where she gets back into the style of those who she received the most influence from.
13. "Last Day"
On this one you have her revisiting the kind of Pop thing which she did a little earlier, and once again I wasn't particularly feeling the kind of things which she came up with at the beginning, but I felt that as things progressed it all changes as you take in the quality of the lyrics and how she puts this to some ever-changing production.
14. "I Think Of You"
Ending the album you have a highly emotive one which finds her doing a song which she wrote for her mother who passed away. Initially what sounds like a video recording of her doing it at her mother's funeral, before she drops a studio version which has her doing it at her best and with new perceptions. You can't complain about this, and i felt that she did it well.
Although at times the quality dips a little, generally, this is a pretty good album and it acts as a great way to kick-start the musicians recording career with lots of top-quality R&B in some original styles and variations which you don't often see mix.
Teedra Moses is still a relatively unheard of artist in the UK but slowly growing in recognition in the USA. Her music is very much within the genre of r n b with a little pop thrown in for good measure. If I had to compare her to other artists Id say shes got a similar sound and style to that of Ashanti or Christina Milian for example, shes more upbeat than someone such as Alicia Keys and fits in perfectly with Brandys style. Her first single Be Your Girl was released back in 2003 followed by Youll Never Find A Better Woman in early 2004 over in America. Complex Simplicity is her first album and was released at the end of 2004 but didnt officially reach music shops in English until June 2005. The album was produced by Paul Poli who has worked with quite a few successful artists. Her songs focus very much on the typical themes of love, heartbreak and reconciliation which seem to be a common theme for music these days.
Be Your Girl is the first track on the album and sets the mood entirely for whats to follow. Its a cute, light and upbeat pop track with sultry backing music letting her voice shine through. The song basically tells of how she wishes she was a certain guys girlfriend who she knows but he doesnt really seem to see how she feels such a classic situation! And I wonder if you even notice me, you gotta feel me, and I will love you boy, just wanna be your girl. This is followed by the more mature sounding Youll Never Find which was her second single release over in America and has a much more rounded r n b feel to it. It features Raphael Saddiq an American rap artist although his part in the track is actually kept to a minimum. The track is basically about how her man buys her all these gifts to keep her sweet but how shes doubting how much she actually knows about him and his faithfulness, Youll never find a better woman or a bigger fool, Tell me what you know about breaking up and getting back together.
Caution is the third track on the album and again creates a light, summer sounding r n b mood. Its rather a self centered track when you actually listen to the lyrics which talk of how hot she is as a person and how so to date me must be hot! If only we all had confidence like that wed be fine Im sure. With respect to the track its a cute sounding song, with a constant beat to it and optimistic in mood but as for being memorable it is lacking a certain something, possibly length in that its only just over 2 minutes long. Backstroke is one of my favourite tracks of the album and distinctly Ashanti or Christina Milian sounding with that same sultry music and sexy vibe to it. She basically hates her guy but cant seem to leave him due to there being something in his backstroke which to me is quite a vague expression. I sit and think about all of the things that we go through, And I wonder why I stay with you, But theres something in your backstroke and it keeps me yearnin you. I really like this track; its catchy and will have you singing along in no time.
The fifth track on the album is No More Tears which has a deeper, hardcore sound to it in a sense. The story told by the track is basically how she deals with a relationship by getting high with her friends, fair enough! Happy, sipping, puff and passing, Relaxing with my family, no more tears for you. Rescue Me is another highlight of the album in my opinion and is the most ballad like track on the album so far. Its rather non eventful in terms of progression and stays at the same slow speed throughout which can sometimes make me want to skip this track but overall its a pleasant love track. I gave him good love, Made him feel like a man, Now I need someone new, And I want someone like you. This is followed by Take Me where the opening sounds distinctly like a Disney film theme tune but I cant quite put my finger on which one. Again it sounds like something that would have fitted in perfectly on Ashantis latest album with the same girly appealing touch to it yet still managing to be quite fresh. However the main difference here is that unlike Ashantis music this track never really seems to get going, its laidback throughout and I almost wish shes added a bit of beat and liveliness to it. Take me back to the day when you made me fall, I want to go I want to go, Make me feel like you did the very first time we ever touched, I want to go lets just go.
Finally with the track You Better Tell Her theres some upbeat energy injected into the album with this r n b slash very soft dance track. The basic gist of the track is that another girl is talking about being with her man which worries her as its affecting her reputation, but shes not overly worried as everything is in her name anyway what a girl! I don't give a damn what's real what's fake, What's truth what's lies, See darlin I don't feel it's relevant to me, I don't wanna know her name where you met, If see some crazy chick just stalking you, I don't care it's irrelevant to me. This is followed by Outta My Head is quite slow at first and takes a while to get going but it is actually a pretty good track. The beat and lyrics are very catchy and youll soon be tapping your feet along in time. The whole song is sung at quite an up tempo beat despite the backing music being much slower which gives quite an odd hearing sensation really. Its a track about heartbreak and how you just need to let go of an ending relationship, but how its not always that easy, I think Im going outta my head, cos my heart keeps yearning for you, Though I know that we are so dead, Gotta let it go.
For A Lifetime is up next and is quite a mellow, relaxed track that is very soothing. Its got a distinctly sad romantic feel to it and this is reflected in the lyrics, Your guards up and your hearts cold, This might be the one, But you will never know, Youre holding onto pain from so long ago, You gotta let it go you gotta let it go. Its quite a simple track and one that almost fades into the background of other, more energized tracks on the album. Caught Up follows on from this and returns to the more bouncy feel of the start of the album. Shes basically caught up in their relationship and wants it to remain that way forever, I want to be none less than wifey, You half-arse the rest but you watch your step with me. Teedra was meant to sing at her mothers funeral but she was too upset to do so and instead choose to include the track on this album, I Think Of You. Its a moving track that makes it all the more emotive as we know the reason behind it, but strangely personal that she should choose to include it on the album. Its got a distinctly gospel feel to it as she was brought up in a gospel household, I think of you and somehow I can make it through another day. The last track on the album is Last Day and is quite a reflective track with strong links to the previous one. Its not really a highlight of the album and I do normally skip the last two tracks. If this was my last day here on earth, If this was my last day.
So in conclusion Id have to say that this album is a bit of a mixed bag of goods in all honesty. The first half definitely shines out above the second half of the album where the last couple of tracks are rather depressing and unmemorable. If youre into your classic American, female r n b music then shes certainly an artist to know the name of and look for in the future, however I personally found the album to be lacking life in a sense for the majority of the tracks. I do still listen to it occasionally but probably only about 5 or 6 of the tracks for the most part and therefore its getting 3 stars from me!
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Be Your Girl
2 Youll Never Find (A Better Woman) Feat Jadakiss
5 No More Tears
6 Rescue Me
7 Take Me Feat. Raphael Saddiq
8 You Better Tell Her
9 Outta My Head
10 Complex Simplicity
11 For A Lifetime
12 Caught Up
13 Last Day
14 I Think Of You (Shirleys Song)