After winning an Oscar, a Grammy, singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl, and becoming a spokesperson for Weight Watchers, Jennifer Hudson, has had quite the career accomplishments in a very short time-span. Sadly, she’s also been through a lot of turmoil in her personal life, but has emerged a stronger individual from it. Recently becoming a mother, JHud is back on the scene again with her sophomore album, I Remember Me, a memoir of sorts reflecting on love and loss.
Enlisting in a mix of current R&B and pop producers/songwriters/artists (R.Kelly, Ryan Tedder, Alica Keys, Swizz Beatz, Ne-Yo, Diane Warren, among others), I Remember Me is another solid entry in the 29 year old's discography. The thumping opener “No One’s Gonna Love You” gets the record off to a great start and the empowering throwback “I Got This” follows in suit. The first single, “Where You At” might take some time getting into, but by third listen you’ll find yourself shouting “DELIVAH!” in her signature gospel tone. Each song gives the multi-octave singer a chance to show off her powerhouse vocals, staying restrained in the verses and then soaring over the music by the bridge. Some of her ab-libs can come off as a bit too showcase-y, a style not uncommon for divas with her vocal range, but depending on who you ask that can be positive or negative criticism (i.e. I love a good growl haha).
Unfortunately, I Remember Me suffers from some of the usual filler that plagues R&B albums. "Gone" never really finds its footing and the ballads pale in comparison to the more mid-tempo tracks even if they try to illustrate a sense of melodrama. Thankfully, the co-efforts of Alica Keys and Swizz Beatz keep the album from stalling with the funky almost disco-like “Everybody Needs Love.” The uplifting, snare-driven “Angels” shares some similarities with Keys' “Wait ‘Til You See My Smile” and is another strong production. The inclusion of "Feelin' Good" is an odd choice especially it's placement towards the end of the album. It's hard to deny that JHud absolutely killed the record and one can only think of how fierce she looks in that commercial.
When compared to her debut outing, I Remember Me feels more cohesive as a whole. It's a much more mature and traditional sounding album, and is better for that reason. Jennifer's voice is a force to be reckoned with which helps in putting this album above some of the other R&B albums out there. After seeing her and Christina Aguilera at this past Grammy Awards, I can only wish a collaboration is coming in the near future. Can you say "DIVA-OFF?!" One thing is for certain, Hudson has the voice and character to deliver that "classic" song, the problem is finding the right producer to harness it.
3/5 Wigs Snatched
- No One Gonna Love You
- I Got This
- Where You At