This is not a conventional Soul/R&B album by the former Brigette McWilliams, as it's organic instrumentation and unique arrangements lends itself more to jazz and even Chill Out with a style termed 'BossaHop' coined for this CD by producer Steve the scotsman Harvey. Musicians on the album include Dori Caymmi, Heitor Pereira, Bobby Watson (Rufus), Hubert Laws and Al McKay (Earth Wind & Fire) Sekou Bunch Louis Van Taylor, Ryan Cross.
This is Brigette's first album since Too Much Woman, also produced by Steve Harvey for Virgin Records in 1997. Brigette played a cameo role in the movie 'Starsky & Hutch'.
From the first few bars of the new album you'll instantly feel the luxurious Bossa Nova-ish musical setting with rich rhythms and instrumentation. The producer on the album is Steve Harvey, who seems to improve all the time and he can definitely modify his sound according to the artist, and not just try to alter their style to his own sound.
Starlite Lounge is really a fine album, I also adore Brigette's mature, mellow vocal style, which perfectly fits the warm atmosphere of this CD.
There are so many classy tracks that listing the prime cuts is extremely difficult. During the daytime, you'll probably enjoy the sunny and rhythmic uptempo tracks like the flute and saxophone coloured Much too Much, the more soul-oriented melodic mover Star (featuring Al McKay on guitar) or the joyous Take Me, again spiced with flute (by Luis Van Taylor).
Then in the evening you probably prefer the more mellow mid-pacers like the title track Starlite Lounge, which has a seductive Bossa Nova rhythm laced with strings and acoustic guitar, while Sekou Bunch plays the bass lines. Yes My Dear, Betcha and Agua de Beber (from the Antonio Carlos Jobim songbook, familiar from Astrudo Gilberto's repertoire) continue in the same, tasty Bossa Nova mould and represent the mixture of soul and Bossa Nova at its finest.
Finally, in the night-time it feels that tracks like the gentle ballad song Is It Love, the moody Lonely Girl or the elegant Somehow are the most attractive tunes on display.
One Wish, its string arrangement is pretty impressive. Also, the dance remix version of Take Me is far inferior to the more relaxed and airy original version on the same album. But this still leaves us twelve superb cuts from this extremely talented songstress. Highly recommended! (Rating: 8/10)
Brigette's STARLIGHT LOUNGE is a sweet urban contemporary album that blends jazzy textures, Latin inflections, and an organic feel suitable for kicking back and relaxing. The album, produced by Steve the scotsman Harvey, includes "Much Too Much" and the alluring title track Starlite Lounge
A lot can happen in the span of eight years. You can release your second album. You can get dropped by your incredibly foolish record label who aren’t even bothering to push your albums. You can get married & have children. You can sign up to an independent record label, release your third effort & take complete control over your work. It turns out that every single one of those things wound up happening to relatively unknown R’n'B singer Brigette McWilliams. “Starlight Lounge” is her third studio album released by independent British label Expansion Records, and just like its predecessor, it features a reasonable amount of input from world renowned R’n'B producer Steve Harvey. Don’t worry, I’m not talking about the comedian of the same name! As I said earlier, Brigette got married to the film director Mark Romanek, which is why this album was only released under her first name……which reminds me – check out the movie “Starsky & Hutch” for a very brief cameo appearance from the lady herself. She can be seen singing the old Carpenters hit “Love will keep us together.” Anyways enough of that, here’s my review for you to check out:
Starlite Lounge: Unlike her previous two albums, Brigette has decided to kick the album off with the title track, instead of putting it somewhere else on the record. The result is a very nice, breezy type of track that features lots of strings, acoustic guitars & of course, some very soothing lead vocals. In the lyrics Brigette is constantly telling us that she’s “off to starlite lounge” and that nobody’s going to stop her from going there. I think she may have been singing about going off to a night club to perform a gig. If so, then this song perfectly sets the scene for the rest of the album.
Much Too Much: On her last album, she declared that she was “too much woman,” but this time around, there’s a fella in her life who is obviously too much man for her to take…not cause he’s overweight, but because the woman is in love. No doubt about it – and this relatively upbeat Latin influenced track further proves the point. Yet another keeper from the artist formerly known as Brigette McWilliams…or TAFKABW for short.
Star: We all knew Brigette wasn’t going to be doing a whole album without at least one nod to her Rufus & Chaka Khan background. The song “Star” fits that description perfectly, as it’s a great slice of straight up Funk. Its lyrics are telling me that Brigette thinks of her husband as a star, which could also make it “Love Song #2″ on the record….and there’s plenty more where that came from, let me tell you!
My Oh My: Here’s another upbeat one from Brigette. The only difference now is that even though you could also dub it as ‘funky,’ it’s definitely more of a straight up Brazillian sounding cut. Personally that’s something that I have absolutely no qualms with. As far as I can see, this is just about how she’s proud to have her husband in her life, cause she thinks he’s so great & what not. I guess the fact that it’s called “My Oh My” should pretty much tell you what the song is gonna deal with……provided you don’t have a one track mind that is!
One Wish: Wow this review is starting to look a bit repetitive me thinks!!! What we have here, is yet another song where Brigette is on sum Latino isht, as far as the music is concerned. As far as the lyrics are concerned, it’s just her saying that she’s going to love her man forever & ever & ever & ever & nonstop & all that stuff.
Is It Love: This one’s just a tad bit different….it’s more of a typical r’n'b cut. I’m sure if you’re playing this one in the background when you’re with that special somebody in your life, some sparks may fly….cause it’s definitely one of those “bump ‘n’ grind” type of songs…. only with a significant amount of class.
Betcha: As far as the music on this cut is concerned: it’s basically a combo of R’n'B and a slightly Latin-influenced sound. The acoustic guitar is definitely giving me that impression. So is the flute, for that matter. Lyrically, I suppose you could say that this is pretty much one of those “girl power” type of songs where Brigette is noticing that another woman who’s also pretending to be her friend is actually trying to steal her man away from her. Obviously she’s not gonna let that happen! While I’ve heard all of that before in other women’s songs, I can honestly say that this one is just a little bit different, in that it’s not a verbal or violent attack on the other girl…..so in that respect it’s quite a refreshing song to hear.
Somehow: I don’t know what it is about this song, but it’s the one that I’m always playing almost every single day of my life. It really caught my attention when I first heard the record. Basically it’s a very jazzy song with an even jazzier flute, which is totally outta sight in my eyes…..no pun intended. Aside from that, Brigette is just wondering what’s happening to her, because she’s just so overcome with love & affection for her man. The way she sang the line: “You should know/I give up/You win,” also stood out in my mind, for some unknown reason.
What Would You Say: The lyrics are not printed in the booklet for this song. Underneath the title it says, “”Lonely Girl” lyrics coming this weekend.” Looks like somebody effed up there. But anyway, again this is another love song which features Brigette telling her husband that she wants to run away with him…..obviously off to some secluded island or what have you. Musically it’s yet another Brazilian influenced song.
Take Me: According to the liner notes, this one was co-written by Brigette’s mother Paulette McWilliams. I know I must be soundin’ like a broken record by now, but this song also features a very Brazilian influenced sound….in
fact, there are even some phrases being said throughout this song in her man’s native tongue.
Lonely Girl: One more R’n'B styled track for the road. If I listen to this song very carefully it even sounds like there’s a harp being played by one of her musicians. I guess that’s not true, cause the liner notes don’t say anything about a harp at all. This song’s lyrics are just a tad bit different to the other songs, because they openly discuss Brigette being lonely & wanting to be in love with a man, as opposed to already being in that situation. It’s a nice song though. Harp or no harp!
Yes My Dear: Here we go again with the Brazilian sounds. Only difference now, is that she’s telling another guy that his love is no good, so she’s bidding him farewell. Whether or not that was based upon a real life event or if it was just made up I don’t know.
Agua De Beber: This one’s a cover of a song by an artist called Antonio Carlos Jobim, whose Wikipedia page suggests that he was more or less one of the pioneers of the whole Bossa Nova sound, so obviously you know what kind of song this one’s going to be. I don’t think I even need to describe what it sounds like. Wikipedia also states that he’s written songs about polticial repression, betrayal, the natural beauties of Brazil, and of course – love. I’d say this song falls into the latter category.
Take Me [Remix]: This is basically just a house mix of one of the previous songs on the record. I’ll be straight up & tell you I really don’t care for it. Cause I don’t.
Verdict: Let’s take a look at the evolution of this particular artist. Her first record was your typical r’n'b/hip hop record, with plenty of sexual innuendos and basically no input from her at all….aside from the little interludes, which she wrote herself. Next up was a much more mature type of album, which bore a so-called “Neo Soul” sound….a spectacular merging of Funk & Soul if you will……..lyrically she was still gettin’ dirty, but nowhere near as blatantly as she was on the previous record…..then again, lyrics like: “I feel the heat when you’re all up in it” are definitely a lot worse than: “flip it smack it rub it down.” Still, she only ended up writing about three of the twelve songs that were featured on that particular album. Then on her third record she took that whole “mature” sound & she took it to an even higher level, because at the end of the day, this record is way more mature than her last one. Better yet, it was almost completely written by her, which is probably the other reason why it was released under the one name – cause it’s essentially just Brigette. Therefore, “Starlite Lounge” is her best album so far. Hands down. If you love organic soul with a twist, then go forth & check it out.
THE ADAMO OPINION
5.0 out of 5 stars Brigette is Best, 17 Oct 2005
When you listen to this album, the first track, Starlite Lounge is the perfect mid-tempo moody feel to get you going. It is a great intro track, but the fun doesn't stop there, it just gets started and gets better and better. My fave track 04 a uptempo latin composition with a samba feel and is awesome - worth buying the album for this track alone ! For lovers of class Jazzy Soul and Latin grooves, this is for you. If Cooly's Hotbox - "Don't be Afraid" and The Rebirth- "This Journey In" is up your street then this album becomes a must. It is also on the Expansions label so quality is expected. I have bought albums by Brigette before but this is in a different ball park !
New York Times