Album Review: LeToya - 'Lady Love' - Celebrity Bug


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Album Review: LeToya - 'Lady Love'

With one certified platinum album under her belt, LeToya Luckett returns with a new chapter on her sophomore album, Lady Love, which was released on Tuesday.

Packed with earnest ballads and mid-tempos that profoundly document the ups and downs of love and relationships, the songstress struts a new found confidence that wasn’t effectively present on her debut album. For the most part, she kicks the hip-hop and H-town representing tracks to the curb and offers a journey that cohesively fits as the fifteen tracks (plus one bonus) transition from one to another.

“Lady Love”: With Ron ‘Neff-U’ Feemster (Ashanti’s “In These Streets” and Keyshia Cole’s “You Complete Me”) taking the reigns with production, this track forcefully exudes a winning and retro 80s vibe, as well as, a heavy dose of swagger from the songstress. Towards the middle it can start to feel a slight bit cheesy, but it still encompasses all the makings of a really solid track.

“She Ain’t Got Shit On Me”: This is one of the few times that the album dives into upbeat territory, as she assertively allegates a mistress failing to embody a bulk of her characteristics, a declaration filled with electric guitars and heavy drums. The track was produced by Corey Bold and features Chris Brown on writing duties, which probably helps explain why the sound is a bit more pop.

“Not Anymore”: As the past shows, Ne-Yo has a niche for crafting massive female anthems, which is most adequately showcased with Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” and Rihanna’s “Take A Bow”, and this one is no different. It served as lead single and offered a nice reintroduction to the star, and rightfully takes its place as one of the best female summer anthems.

“Lazy”: This track is what one might call a slow cooker, given it doesn’t immediately hit you until you listen to it a couple of times and finally realize that it is a realization of how love can make you feel at times. It has an ore that could easily find solace in the arms of Urban radio, as she chronicles not being ready to give your heart to another.

“Good To Me”: She gathers a list of all the things she wants in a man, one that goes to church with his mama and doesn’t mind cooking her dinner are just a few of the things that make the list. The track itself just mirrors amazing, but the best thing about it is that it focuses the attention on her vocals, which have greatly improved since her debut album. Third best track on the album.

“Over”: Standing as the album’s best offering, it sees the singer declaring that if she’s wronged in a relationship, then that will mark its end. It simply embodies all the making of the word stellar, and the piano melodies, in addition, to the great vocals from Ms. Luckett, quickly help sail this one into the winner’s circle.

“Regret”: The songstress strongly tell an ex, “you must regret the day that you left me”. As I previously noted, a couple of things sell this track, which entails the changing in dynamics, the Ludacris feature, and her beaming presence on the track. I've heard a couple of people and bloggers compare this track to Kelly Rowland’s “Ghetto”, which I guess is a safe assumption since they were both crafted at the hands of Tank, but the key element that separates the two is that this track is actually good and the other is on the opposite end of that spectrum.

“I Need A U”: Calling this track sexy would easily fall into the understatement pile, as she seductively coos in a light whisper that matches a sense of sexiness only rightfully own by Janet Jackson in the past. It blows your mind in more than one way, and for me, easily take residence as the album’s second best offering.

“Take Away Love”: Embraced with a laidback vibe, the songstress finds a conflict in not wanting or being ready for a relationship. It is a throwback to R&B of the 90s, but still equipped with a sound that is very reflective of today, and even Estelle makes a nice contribution.

“After Party”: There is a hidden appeal to this track that I can’t quite put my finger on, maybe it's the slight transition of dynamics or the winning melodies and adlibs. Either way, it is a really solid contribution that slightly indulges into upbeat waters.

“Drained”: A solid track on which the songstress admits not giving her all to a relationship and draining her partner’s energy in the process.

“Tears”: This track originally surfaced as a demo in 2008, which was sung by Asia Cruise, it was beautiful then and it remains so here. It travels with a laidback essence that again captures a throwback to R&B of the 90s.

“Matter”: Penned by Marsha Ambrosius of Floetry, this one rides the rails of solid as she serves up another helping of ‘I Can Do It Better Than Her’.

“Love Rollercoaster”: This track originally saw placement on Mims’ 2009 album Guilt, and LeToya simply serves as the featured vocalist. For me, its appeal is very limit and most will probably cast it off as a filler, which likely won’t be disputed.

“Don’t Need You”: Produced by Madd Scientist, this one after a few prior bumps, brings the album to a nice finish. Her vocals are great and the production, which entails piano melodies and slight beat boxing references, is top notched.

“Swagger” (Bonus Track)”: With a reference to Beyonce’s “Upgrade U” and features from Killa Kyleon, Slim Thug and Bun B, it does contain the essence heard in the uptempos on her first album, but as I originally stated, it is more deserving of placement on a mixtape than a studio album.

Final Verdict:
The album lacks the presence of a bad track, but it does encompass several that tend to run together with the extremely restricted subject-matter. That said, it does follow an effective transition from her debut, but elaborates the blueprints with growth in vocals and a confidence that made it hard to sell pieces of the first album.

Whether it sees success or not has yet to be determine, but Lady Love is the best female R&B album so far this year, and the second best R&B album (No.1 is Maxwell’s BLACKsummers’night).

4 out of 5

Celebrity Bug’s Key Tracks: “Lady Love”, “She Ain’t Got Shit On Me”, “Not Anymore”, “Good To Me”, “Over”, “I Need A You”, “Take Away Love” and “Don’t Need You.

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