Wednesday, May 11, 2005

CC Briefs: "La Dona" by Teena Marie

Artist: Teena Marie
Album: La Dona
Label: Cash Money


If it sounds like a duck, quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, chances are..it’s a duck. The old saying reverberates time and time again when one thinks of basic logic during the course of examination. This can also be used in the case of "La Dona"; another unexpected return from one of soul’s mighty divas. Teena Marie’s voice has not changed over the years, even though her distinctive vibrato sticks out a little more when singing on her lower register. This is a major plus - because her voice has always been one worth cloning. And because her voice is eccentrically soulful and engaging and so crafty that many will still imagine her as a black chick, this album is sure to slide her even more into the R&B genre. In the mid 80s, Marie cashed in heavily on the pop charts with "Lovergirl" and was her last pop offering. If you expect any pop-ish deliveries on this return, you will be searching a lifetime. This is a urban/hip-hop styled collection and is decades away from her past odysseys. But is this a fateful attempt? Most would believe that, since Marie is known for her funk foundations and her groovalistic gems. But this new-aged reinventing is probably one of her best modern projects ever released. And the reasons are clear. Marie has more artistic freedom and more control over the album’s main production and she even showcases, once more, her unique song writing capabilities. "I’m Still In Love" bounces off a familiar sample from Al Green and is infectious enough to fall into urban hip-hop and smooth soul formats. "A Rose By Any Other Name" takes you back to the Rick James’ duets, with Gerald Levert singing alongside Marie with grace and finesse. It almost sounds like a Isley/R. Kelly musical crossover; which definitely proves Marie has improved over time in her artistic developments. But Marie jumps into hip-hop flavor with "The Mackin’ Game" (featuring MC Lyte on a heavy bass groove), "Off The Chain" (with Baby a.k.a. Birdman) and "Makavelli Never Lied"; the latter track pays homage to fallen music warriors Tupac Shakur and Alliyah while assembling a vocoder effect reminiscent of Roger Troutman. Smooth quiet storm ballads including "My Body’s Hungry", "I’m On Fire" and "I Love Him Too" make their appearance and are pretty numerous, but not overwhelming. Even the late Rick James makes his last musical appearance with Marie on here ("I Got You"); which becomes a collectable artifact and is sure to generate attention for years to come. The album is pretty lengthy - hosting seventeen tracks and scaling to a full hour and seventeen minutes in length. And even though there are many tracks that will fall on dead ground for most conventional R&B lovers or even hip-hop fans, but this album is a perfect balance of music styles. She’s not all hip-hop, she’s not all jazz (which she perfectly exhibits on "Black Rain"), she’s not all R&B and she’s not all soul. She’s all of that and she knows how to divide it all up without sounding like she’s trying to appease everyone. Maybe because she sounds so good on all of that. But there is one important, obvious statement that will come from observing this musical documentation. Marie did not need all of the guest appearances from some of "rap delights" (other stars include Common, Medusa and Lady Levi) to pull this album off. It didn’t hurt her, but none of them are truly necessary.

CC USA SCORE: 9.15
MUSIC STYLE: R&B, Urban, Funk, Hip-hop
RELEASE DATE: May 11, 2004

SONG SELECTION:
1. La Dona - Intro (2:15)
2. I'm Still In Love (4:16)
3. Honey Call (4:21)
4. Baby I'm Your Fiend (4:56)
5. My Body's Hungry (5:33)
6. LiA Rose By Any Other Name (5:27)
7. Off The Chains (4:37)
8. Makavelli Never Lied (5:06)
9. Revelations 3:8 Introduction (0:30)
10. Recycle Hate To Love (4:52)
11. The Mackin' Game (5:34)
12. I Love Him Too (5:28)
13. I Got You (4:21)
14. Hit Me Where I Live (5:05)
15. High Yellow Girl (4:58)
16. Black Rain (4:27)
17. I'm On Fire (5:32)

1 Comments:

At 6:39 AM, Blogger Gandalf said...

and where is the link to download?

 

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