released January 1, 2004
What a voice. What solid musical arrangements. What a CD.
This is a solid urban project with a whole lotta soul that mercifully avoids a lot of the neo-soul musical cliches that have taken the luster from the genre within the past couple years. "Same Girl" is refreshing for this fact alone.
Producers and musicians: you are on point here. THANK YOU for the real instruments used on this project, something missing from so much of today's R&B.
But the real treat here is Trina's voice. How can I begin to describe it? It just flows all in and through these top-notch songs like hot caramel. She doesn't have to shout and go through all kind of acrobatics to be soulful. Her rich voice "speaks" for itself, if you will. A combo of Angie Stone and Chaka with a little Whitney thrown in is the best way I can describe Trina's sound, but she's still better heard than written about. Hopefully Amazon will have some sound clips up soon.
"Same Girl" is easily one of the best projects of 2004. Treat yourself to what will surely also be remembered as one of the best albums of the decade.
(Motown: please give this project the promotion it deserves...and while you're at it, re-release Trina's "Inside My Love" album and let us get a chance at that one, too!)
US Motown, 2004
These Are The Days - Still The Same - Dreamin' Of One - Losing My Mind - Out / Gone - Joy - Thinkin' Boutcha - Just Another Way - I Never Thought - Will Things Ever Be The Same? - Lies - No Way Out
Now, quality music connoisseurs, read this carefully. Perhaps this, and the upcoming Remy Shand CD, will be the last decent records released on Motown. Why? Kedar Massenberg has left Motown and been replaced by Sylvia Rhone who has hotfoot from Atlantic Records. We can be absolutely certain now that quality releases such as this will be dropped like a hot potato. In fact, with this Lady's arrival it really should be the case that they just close down the label. It no longer is Motown in any quality form, and if you look at the sheer undiluted sewage that crops up on it (Conway, AZ, etc, etc the list is endless) then this will speak for itself. We all acknowledge that the musical climate has changed - but who is changing it and why? And what for? It is certainly not for the benefit of the music, longevity or the betterment of Black America that's for sure. I have said it before and I say it again: BLACK AMERICA WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE. I have been looking forward to this album for a long time, and I bet you have too, but hopefully you will savour this in the knowledge that albums of this kind will soon be history.
Essentially I was rather nonplussed with the album. It is rather cold, clinical and sterile in delivery. It reminds me of a joke losing its humour after it has been explained. However, there are 5 GEMS to be had and it is thanks again to our heroes Steve Harvey, Van Hunt, Jamey Jaz, Rahsaan Patterson and some chap who calls himself Commisioner Gordon (!) that we owe that debt of thanks.
The opening song owes more to the 90s style of Steve Harvey more than his organic approach, but is a superb opening cut that treads the current R&B midtempo path very well indeed without going anywhere near tat. The following gem, too is just beautiful and I was instantly reminded of the flow of "Talk To Her" from India Arie's last set. I really do appreciate this folky, acoustic soul feel and this style works very well with Trina's gentle, if oftentimes uninspiring vocals.
My favourite moment is the ESSENTIAL "Dreamin' Of One" which beautifully unfolds from the flute into a summery floater of immense magnitude. This is the Motown that I WANT and NEED to hear, Sylvia. NOT, I repeat NOT Missy Elliott, Brandy and the rest of the talentless rag tag and bobtail that is peddled at Atlantic. Thanks to Steve Harvey for the inspired production and Rahsaan Patterson and Van Hunt for the writing.
I LOVE the Stevie Wonder inspired "Will Things Ever Be The Same" which has traces of Stevie's "Songs In The Key Of Life" atmosphere. The superb 70s tapper, "Lies" is really gripping and has in irresistible bassline that works well, especially when pootling along in the car! Not dissimilar from Erykah Badu's "Didn't Cha Know". Just sung better.
- Barry Towler
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