Album review: Ashanti - The declaration

Album review: Ashanti - The declarationAshanti is back on the scene with her album The declaration. I have no clue what the chick is declaring with this new album because it sounds alot like her old shit. But let's muck through it anyway!

As with Ashanti's previous albums, The declaration swings between sample heavy uptempo's about a n***a who did her wrong, swoony bell laden mid-tempo's and a ballad or two. So it's very much business as usual. The album kicks off with the lead single "The way that I love you" which has the same dark vibe about it that Ashanti's smash "Only U" had. The song is hot, but suffers from loose production. The stop and start piano sample at the beginning of the song sounds raggedly put together, the vocal production is weak and the drums don't knock how they should. A good track regardless, but tighter production would've made it miles better. With the melancholy tale of a love gone wrong out the way, things get more light hearted as the album progresses. "You're gonna miss" is easily an album highlight with it's old skool 80's R&B inspired sound. Ashanti's breathless backing vocals sound great over the beat and the song bounces along with an airy, Summer vibe. This would make a great single and sound great on the radio. The female kiss off continues with another album highlight in the form of the Rodney 'Darkchild' Jerkins produced "So over you". As with "You're gonna miss", the song has a heavy 80's R&B sound and again: would make a hot single. Aside from these songs there isn't really anything on the album that bangs or sticks out. "Good good" has a nice bounce about it courtesy of Jermaine Dupri, but after the likes of Usher's "Confessions" and Mariah's "Shake it off" being played beyond death - you can't help but roll your eyes at hearing yet another song that has those sharp, low key piano chords over a kick, hi hat, handclap drum pattern whilst Jermaine Dupri goes "Ugh!" every 30 seconds. Album closer "The declaration" has a cool, dark, ominous beat - but there's too much going on with it and Ashanti's vocals sound thin and lost within it.

Even though Ashanti draughted in a collection of heavy weight chart topping producers and some relatively unknown names - little was done to have Ashanti's personality or sass shine through. Also, many of the songs skirt around the same subject matter: a guy who isn't putting as much into a relationship as the woman. Same subject matter, different beat each time. It gets tired. None of the songs on The declaration are completely rubbish, but there is a definite sense of Ashanti not doing the songs as much justice as somebody else possibly could. The likes of Teedra Moses would've absolutely nailed all of the songs on this album because the has the grit, the vocals, the emotion and the sass to sell a song. When Ashanti is trying to be hood, she doesn't sound hood. When Ashanti is trying to sound sexy, she doesn't sound sexy, and this is the problem. You get stuck with songs that have good foundations, but aren't sold through Ashanti's delivery. She's great on the bubbly Summer jams and the dramatic story laden songs such as "The way that I love you" and her previous hits "Only U" and "Rain on me" because she has that light kind of voice which makes you feel sympathetic towards some big ol' n***a having done her wrong. But give Ashanti a song which requires more sass or sexiness and she doesn't sound right.

The declaration is a pretty boring album because very little if anything about it sticks out. You get a couple of solid songs at the start, a couple at the end and then 20 minutes of dead pan songs in the middle that do not entice. If you're an Ashanti fan then you'll like this album. But if not, then approach with caution. Ashanti needs to work with writers and producers who can push her. Her vocals sound nice over the beats - but they never stand out and neither does her personality. The album would've fared better if it played more to the bubbly uptempo's such as "You're gonna miss" and "So over you". But Ashanti gets lost way in over head with boring midtempo's and tracks that have too much going on beat wise and drown out her vocals.

Those looking for an album that is radio friendly, has more impact, a bit more sass , and a 'play all the way through' quality are better off checking out Mariah's E=MC². Those looking for something with a bit more drama, attitude and soul and pretty much what The declaration should've been would be better of checking out Teedra's Complex simplicity.

Ashanti needs to step her game up in a big way as there is very little growth between this album and her first. This is not the kind of album an artist who has been off of the scene for 4 years comes back with.


Album highlights:
■ The way that I love you
■ You're gonna miss J's fave
■ So over you
■ Good good
■ Mother

Comments

  1. Damn...don't let that dude aZn see this! lol

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  2. aZn knows I got no love for Ashanti. I've said as much on every Ashanti related topic he starts.

    Her music does so little for me and it's not even that I find her so interesting and stunning that I can give her that. She's just a pretty chick with another 'okay' album out.

    It's a shame, because she has potential. But she needs to be working with music producers, vocal producers and song writers that can bring it out across a whole album and not just 1 or 2 tracks.

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  3. lol. I did like the first single, and I was shocked to actually see the video on TV!

    So I guess "Girlfriend" wasn't that hot? I've only heard the sample, but it sounded like a nice little song.

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  4. I'm sure there are people out there that love "Girlfriend", but I'm not one of them. Ashanti just doesn't sound sexy on the song. She sings it with the voice of a 12 year old and it creeps me out and puts me off. A real shame, because the beat is nice.

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  5. go to hell all u haters, ashanti rules, shes so much better than beyonce & alicia keys!

    ReplyDelete

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