Ah, now this is the album I’ve been waiting for.
I’m a pretty huge fan of Faith Evans – and what R&B lover isn’t? Her 1995 debut, Faith, is considered one of the pinnacle albums of that era. These days, though, Faith is mainly remembered for her marriage to the Notorious B.I.G. and the never-ending drama that surrounded it. It’s all detailed in her book, which I reviewed here!
But Faith’s fifth studio album is a departure from all the gossip, fistfights, business issues and alleged trysts. Faith’s just having a good time.
The album opens with “I Still,” a starry-eyed proclamation of love. It truly sets the tone for the remainder of the disc. Gone are the days where she pined for her lovers on tracks like “Soon As I Get Home,” “You Used to Love Me” and “You Don’t Understand.” Nope, you can nearly hear her heart bursting on “Sunshine” and the flirty “Your Lover.” The party continues on, um, “Party” with longtime friend Redman and “Way You Move” with Snoop Dogg.
Speaking of collabos, Faith also joins forces with Keyshia Cole on “Can’t Stay Away” and the duo mesh extremely well. Of all of the tracks on the album, it might have the most potential for radio play, sort of like Keyshia’s duet with Monica a couple of years ago. It doesn’t hurt that Faye slides in a reference to Biggie’s “Hypnotize,” which of course makes me smile. “Every Struggle” is another tune that borrows from Big Poppa, this time from 1994’s “Everyday Struggle.” Raekwon shows up to give the track a little edge.
Never fear – even though this is a kinder, gentler Faith, she still has no problem putting dudes in their place. Her latest single, “Gone Already,” sees Faith hitting the door after admitting that her relationship was a waste of time. Those sentiments are echoed on “Worth It.” Those guitar licks sure are a great backdrop for telling someone to get lost.
I do wish this album showcased more of the ballads that made Faith’s career. She gives us a few – the bonus track “Baby Lay,” that conjures memories of R. Kelly’s “The Greatest Sex,” and “Right Here,” which smolders despite awkward “baby boo” references – but we could have used a couple more.
Something About Faith surpasses Faith’s last album, but doesn’t reach the heights of her first three sets (say what you want about Diddy, but that man knew how to produce an R&B album). But after listening to this album, I’m confident Faith isn’t sweating the criticism. I often wondered why it took her five years to give us another album – it’s because she’s content. Faith has moved beyond the tabloid headlines. She’s too busy enjoying love and life.
Best tracks: “Gone Already,” “Worth It,” “Baby Lay”
3.5 stars out of 5