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Wednesday, August 26, 2009
3:34 PM

Lady Love


Regardless of whether or not we’re forced out or left to leave on our free will, most of us are afforded the privilege to be able to move forward and never look back once we make an exit from a given situation.

But, when it comes to fame, how audiences first come to greet you is how they’ll always remember you. For LeToya Luckett this is a gift and a curse.

She’ll always be able to gain some bit of press for the novelty of being one of the original members of Destiny’s Child. Unfortunately, she’ll always have to deal with titles like “Destiny’s Other Child” and jeers from those who placed their loyalties with the members who stuck it out.

And even though that group is officially done (until they need a reunion tour) LeToya still can’t escape her ex-band mate Beyonce.

Whether it’s fair or not Beyonce has become a person viewed as the standard bearer for contemporary R&B. That means LeToya – like every other R&B female singer out there – will always be compared to Queen Bey.

That’s unfortunate, because not everyone is meant to be like Beyonce and that should be OK to people. Beyonce is not the end all be all to R&B.

Judging LeToya solely in comparison to Beyonce takes away from the obvious gains she’s made with her sophomore album, Lady Love.

When LeToya first started making the rounds for her debut album, I was taken aback by how much she repeated that she didn’t think she could do a solo album. She was adamant that she saw herself more so as a group artist. There’s nothing wrong with that, but when trying to sell yourself as a solo act you needn’t remind people that your move towards a solo career pointed more towards your own ambivalence than confidence.

Because LeToya seemed a bit uncomfortable as a solo artist, while she certainly managed to score a hit song and album in her own right, it was hard to picture how she could flourish in future projects.

I’m glad that she’s found the confidence and direction she needed.

Though I don’t necessarily buy the press release from her management comparing her to Millie Jackson, LeToya certainly comes across a lot stronger, forceful, and blunt on songs like “Regret.” More in touch with her sensual side on tracks like “I Need A U” and “Tears.” And vocally a lot stronger on the obvious best choice for a first single “Regret,” and urban radio friendly “Over.”

Then are songs like “Take Away Love” which shows LeToya is open to exploration with her song. It also proves she should tap Ryan Leslie for future album collaborations. The same can be said of other collaborators like Tank (“Over,” “Good To Me,” “Regret”) and Marsha Ambrosius (“Matter”).

I could live without her foray into more pop-leaning crossover airplay yearning choices like the Chris Brown penned “Drained,” but there’s no one song on here that’s bad.

Arguably, minus the few spots on the album that rely too heavily on materialism and cliché’s to make the case for love, this is one of the most mature solo offerings from any of the 87 members of Destiny’s Child yet.

Based on some of the other reviews I’ve read, I’m disappointed to find people judging it on its potential to “crossover.”

I’m really annoyed by the notion that one has to “crossover” in order to be successful.

Instead of focusing on trying to attract the attention of fickle pop music fans, LeToya’s label should’ve have thrown out “Regret” as the first single. It would’ve been the best way to reintroduce her onto the scene and would’ve help cement her place as a nice alternative to all of the other R&B acts out there who dilute their sound in order to “crossover.”

My worries about LeToya’s music career aren’t that she’s not capable of creating music than you can remember an hour after you’ve heard it. This album proves she’s able to grow as a singer, songwriter and vocalist.

My fear is that she’ll be limited by people’s perception that she must stay within Beyonce’s lane – then be mishandled by a label who seem dead set on doing all of the things that will prevent her from creating her own.


The Cynical Ones.
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