Friday, August 28, 2009

Album Review: LeToya Luckett - Lady Love (3.5 / 5)

In 2006, former Destiny's Child member, LeToya Luckett released her first album, LeToya, which turned out to be a surprisingly solid effort--packed with both cutting edge Hip-Hop and R&B flavored tracks and great mid tempos and despite a couple duds still managed to feel compact. Sadly, Luckett's follow up, Lady Love, isn't nearly as good--calling it a disappointment would be somewhat harsh as I do give credit to Luckett for wanting to switch up the formula a bit, she could have easily cut tracks from the same vein as the first album to be on the safe side, but in this case it's more of a 'hit and miss' situation.

There's no doubting Luckett has vocally grown as she struts and swaggers it out on the glossy opening title track. She also hits it right on the mark on the drum machine and piano key laden "Good to Me" and gels nicely with Estelle on the mellow "Take Away Love." The singles "She Ain't Got..." and "Not Anymore" are also winners. The latter being a firey disco number--fronted by Luckett's somewhat unconvincing expletive's as she repeats in the chorus: "she ain't got shit on me." This would explain why this is her first album to be tagged with an Parental Advisory label and "Not Anymore" stirs up a more laid back, contemporary R&B ambiance, backed with drums and piano keys.

Where the album falls short is a mix of where it tries to duplicate songs from the same vein and songs that just don't click. "Over" thumps a slick rhythm, it's a fine ballad that seems to wear itself out too quickly. "After Party" also has nice rhythm to it, but could some livening up--for a party track, the results seem pretty bored. Luckett attempts a Janet Jackson styled sensuality on "I Need a U" which falls short--as it comes across more weak singing to a fragile beat rather than an oozing dose of sensuality backed onto a soothing composition. The closing track "Don't Let Me Get Away" isn't too bad.

With a lengthy 15 track set, it's not surprising that there is a pretty decent balance between the lackluster, the somewhat listenable and the great. Possibly among the best on the album is "Tears" which gives off a distinctive Aaliyah reminicent. The cool click and clap mid tempo styled "Regret" with Ludacris, is pretty good. Showing a bit of pop crossover presence is "Drained" it sounds like something that wouldn't seem out of place on JoJo's The High Road album. Apart from the distorted layers of vocals in the chorus, it's quite a neat track--she really sounds good on the verses.

Lady Love, is far from a perfect follow up to its predecessor, but it's nothing disasterous either--there are a handful of great tracks on here, which should solidify Luckett as a force to be reckoned with within R&B and soul boundaries (if only she had the sales to back it up).

Best: Tears, Good to Me, Take Away Love, Not Anymore, She Ain't Got..., Regret, Drained

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