The First Lady

Studio Album by released in 2005
The First Lady's tracklist:
Goin Out featuring Pharrell and Pusha T
Again
I Don't Need it
Stop N Go
Mesmerised
Tru Love
Jealous
Ever Wonder featuring Mario Winans
Catching Feelings
Get Over You
Until You Came
Lucky Day
Hope Twista featuring Faith
Do My Thang (bonus track for Japan)

The First Lady review

Despite a successful career as a solo artist (Love Like This) and as a guest vocalist (Heartbreak Hotel, I'll Be Missing You), former session singer and Notorious B.I.G. widow Faith Evans has still not become the household name she should be. But with this new album the former first lady of Bad Boy is poised to rectify that situation. By turns playful, sexy, soulful, funky and passionate, Evans showcases the full range of her talents on her most consistent effort yet. Her voice has a lived-in grace that you don't hear from a lot of competitive wailers on the R&B charts. On some tracks she is an R&B princess with a jazz diva's sense of timing and on the others she slinks into a ‘70s soul place that leaves us wishing we could time-travel together more often.

Whatever dip in quality that transpires during the latter half of the album has more to do with the first half's excellence and numerous dimensions, including the punchy Neptunes production Goin' Out, the sparkling I Don't Need It, the uplifting Again, and Stop n Go — a gorgeous ballad with a devastating chorus. Whether clubbin' with the girls (Goin' Out) or assessing love and its inherent issues (Stop N Go), Evans confidently holds center stage. But she really lets loose on the raw and funky Mesmerized, paying tribute to recently deceased James Brown Revue queen Lyn Collins. Until You Came is a tender slow jam that compliments Faith's voice nicely. Although Goin' Out provides a high-stepping hit, The First Lady is more remarkable for its warm reliability. Having been dealt more than her share of drama, Evans avoids attention-grabbing gimmickry. Compared to her last three records, the production on The First Lady is less trendy and relies a bit more on live instrumentation, but the street sensibility remains.

Evans, as always, does the bulk of the songwriting and some of the production with some key help. Jermaine Dupri, Chucky Thompson, Mario Winans, and the ubiquitous Bryan Michael-Cox also assist, but Carvin "Ransum" Haggins and Ivan "Orthodox" Barias deserve a lot of credit for their work on half of the songs. The First Lady is as well-rounded as an R&B album gets, regardless of the age it's part of. It smartly incorporates throwback aspects into state-of-the-art pop-soul. This album proves that Faith Evans only gets better with time, as she goes through more ups and downs and continues to absorb her inspirations. At less than an hour in running time, it's her shortest album to date, which also helps make it her tightest. The First Lady is terrifically balanced in its distribution of club tracks, midtempo grooves, and slow jams and its tactful sequencing should give a lot of skip and delete buttons a break.

(11.05.2005)
Rate review4.33
Total votes - 9


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