JAM Magazine CD Review

September , 2010
Review by Ken Martin

Fantasia

"Back To Me"

Label: J Records

Waiting for an ex-Idol to put out a high quality album, is like entertaining a game of Russian Roulette; the odds are often unfavorable. Just about any American Idol finalist is capable of releasing their first album. The strong at heart, makes it to number two, but only the true survivors make it to their third.

Days after overcoming a calamitous suicide attempt, Fantasia released her junior album, Back To Me. If Fantasia's motive was to emit a new, more mature style to the platform, then she succeeded tremendously. The combination of "grown up" lyrics came across as refreshing, even though it did not suitably fit into Fantasia's core style. The mature-type songs came at a price, however. The usual attack mode voice that Fantasia usually displays was traded out for a more suppressed voice. It's as if someone told Fantasia it would be better to cease her trademark screaming and shouting, and she took their advice. The album is very mellow, and low key, unlike the Fantasia we're used to hearing. There are no 'Free Yourself', or 'Two Week Notice" classified tracks on Back to Me. Instead, Fantasia swapped those impressionable soulful hymns for wisdom laced lyrics.

In the fast paced Man of The House track, Fantasia instructs her lover that if he isn't willing to assume his household role, then she is more than capable of doing so. Teach Me, which contains a sprinkle of reggae melodies, and also has a similar meaningful suggestion as Musiq Soulchild's TeachMe, requests that the singer be taught how to love her significant other. Except for the genuinely refined "I'm Here" track from The Color Purple musical, the other remaining tracks could easily be categorized as decent songs, but none appear to be memorable.

On the other hand, Fantasia gave R&B exactly what it needed...a substantial R&B sound. The album does not feature a heavy dose of rappers, and fast paced tracks which are often misconstrued as R&B in this day in time. Other than a sweet and savory appearance by Cee-Lo, Fantasia ran the show. The album appears to be balanced in it's own right, as long as you're prepared for a new sound.