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>Standards were set sky high with Jennifer Hudson‘s self titled debut album released in 2008. And though the album was decent, it felt underwhelming somehow. It just didn’t manage to stand above the other R&B offerings out at the time, we all knew she could sing but there wasn’t much personality to go along with it.

With her recently released follow up “I Remember Me“, she seems to bring more confidence and character to her voice and it works out well. Along with that, the album offers a more diverse range of sounds to show off her versatility. To be honest it’s not all great, some of the material is just too common and similar to other R&B acts, but there’s enough here to show some major growth and Hudson comes off as a totally different singer and artist than on the last album.
The album opener, a nice bouncy Urban track “No One Gonna Love You” has her in a really confident and sassy stance and breezing through the song with major vocal strength with the ease of a real professional. As does the albums first single “Where You At”, whose repetitive hook would have resulted in disaster if it was any other singer however Jennifer makes it work. The albums best tracks takes Hudson in a 70’s 80’s Soul and Funk direction which she performs with the appropriate attitude and grit. The Alicia Keys penned “Angel” has Jennifer channeling divas like Chaka Khan and Teena Marie but still putting her own stamp on the sound. “Everybody Needs Love”, which stands out primarily because of it’s unique fresh and new production (a mix of 90’s House specifically the Dub sound, and smooth R&B) is elevated by her commitment to the sound. This and “Don’t Look Down” are the Dance numbers her debut was missing, and these are destined to be remixed into thumping House anthems for the Club crowd.
And even the songs that aren’t total winners are still passable and possible growers like the anthemic “I Got This” and the title track, which is slightly predictable in lyric but given a different light thanks to her voice. “Gone” suffers from a terrible boring hook, but you have to appreciate her taking a risk on a pop/rock song that you’d imagine a Kelly Clarkson singing. The rest of the album is just average, while the closer “Believe” is just stunningly beautiful lyrically and vocally. The album may not be one of the stand out R&B albums to be released but it shows even more promise and gives listeners even more reason to celebrate her immense talents. While her first album may have left people wanting more, this album shows that she is indeed a true vocal artist — and that there’s no reason why she won’t be around for a long time.

Rating: 3 of 5
Best: Angel, No One Gonna Love You, Everybody Needs Love