Because I Love It (released May 15, 2007)
Poor Amerie. I don't think there has been an artist who has consistently dropped smash singles - you couldn't escape 1 Thing back in '05, and don't forget Why Don't We Fall In Love in '02 - but hasn’t been able to break though the R&B glass ceiling.
Maybe that's why she released her third album, Because I Love It, overseas. Through the magic of Amazon.com, I acquired it the other day. See, the Internet is good for something other than blogs and facebook.
Unlike the rest of those tone-deaf tarts on the radio, Amerie actually takes her music in a different direction. The album blends 80s pop and early 90s R&B - picture Cyndi Lauper and early Mary J. Blige, minus the drugs. The results are really refreshing. And even her more traditional R&B tracks are very well-written and a throwback to the good ol' days.
Despite that, there are a few slight missteps. Her single 'Gotta Work' received a little airplay in the U.S. last year, and I have no idea why she chose that song. It's an inferior 1 Thing ripoff and doesn't measure up to most of the other tracks here. Also, Amerie is still plagued by her biggest flaw - she occasionally tries to hit high notes and often doesn't have the pipes to do it. She tries to sound like Mariah Carey, but winds up pulling a Drew Carey. But most of the time you’ll be too busy dancing to notice those imperfections.
But those nitpicks are few between. This is by far the best R&B album I've purchased this year. Stop pretending that Rihanna can sing and listen to some real talent. Go to Amazon and cop it.
Best tracks: Crush, When Loving U Was Easy, Paint Me Over
4.5 stars out of 5