piano riff, light female vocal
So, this would be the single we've been hearing about, then. The woman who turned Lopez's "Ain't It Funny" from a flameno bop to a slow R&B ballad and actually improved the record no end. The woman who has been on more collaborations and guest vocals than anyone on the planet. The woman who has held down the top slot in the US for ten weeks with this record, 15 with others.
restrained vocals, tearing at the chains of the restriction.
Is there anything particularly outstanding about this record? Not obviously, but there's a subtle depth in there that repays careful listening. British radio rewards the disposable, the first impact, the "I've heard this once and know everything about it" track. US radio prefers the deep, the complex, the record that takes 30 or 40 listens to be able to fully appreciate. Therein lies the difference.
that piano riff is getting a bit annoying.
We have a vocalist who *could* employ the vocal histrionics of a Mariah or a Whitney, but knows that her voice is a tool, not a means in itself. This restraint is worth points, and stops the record from becoming dull before its time.
chorus that heads high, then falls away.
The lyrics are complex, almost devoid of instantly quotable lines. And some of them are not so much sung clearly as mumbled into her beard, not entirely unlike early REM. There's no excuse for that piano loop, though, nor the way the song just peters out.
This is not the greatest record of all time. It may not be the greatest work of genius this year. But it's a very good record, and I don't begrudge it a minute of its success. Not yet.
Ashanti, is out in all good stores. And HMV. The commercial single will be out July 15.