Thursday, December 04, 2008

It's (almost) Christmas With Ledisi (again)

Much earlier this year I wrote a piece about Lost & Found , the third album from R&B artist Ledisi . When I caught wind of a Christmas album from her coming out this season (titled simply, It's Christmas ), I was seriously anticipating listening to it and loving it as much as her last album. When I finally got my copy and threw it on, I'll be honest with you, it wasn't quite what I expected.

I loved the last album for it's wide mix of R&B, hip-hop, and funky soul ingredients, and was eager to hear how she'd apply her flavor to holiday music. Because I set myself up for those flavors, my initial experience was somewhat disappointing. I set it aside for a week and came back to it, this time minus my expectations, and after letting it play on its own merit, I enjoyed it MUCH more the second time around, and increasingly so as I have listened to it more.

Try it this way - you go to your favorite restaurant where you always get the same meal that absolutely makes your mouth water only to find out they're not serving it that night (either they changed the menu, they're out of the ingredients, whatever...). So instead, you get a new choice and realize it's just as good (if not better) than the usual and now you have two different meals that you alternately eat when you go to that restaurant now. It was kind of like that.

So what does the album feel like if not completely her previous sounds? Although still exhibiting Ledisi's soulful voice, the album has more of a traditional jazzy feel to it overall. There are a few exceptions along the way including her upbeat funky version of the traditional gospel song Children Go Where I Send Thee and Be There For Christmas , another upbeat and playful original. Of the album's twelve tracks, five of them are new tracks written for this album, a Motown number (Give Love on Christmas Day ), and some traditional ones that we're all familiar with (Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, What Are You Doing on New Years Eve?, Silent Night , and the not necessarily holiday Louis Armstrong's What A Wonderful World ). Most of the traditional X-mas songs are performed in a traditional jazzy approach, which while not necessarily anything new, are enjoyable never the less.

Taken as a whole, the album is a breath of fresh air to the Christmas mix. Below you'll find the opening track of the album, I'll Go , which has a gospel type nobility to it that leads into the above mentioned Children, Go Where I Send Thee . Then you'll find another cut I mentioned above, Be There For Christmas . Both are Ledisi's own songs. I know that it might feel a little early to be thinking Christmas at this point, so if you're not quite ready for the holiday spirit yet, keep this album in the back of your mind.

stream Ledisi - Be There For Christmas : It's Christmas

Visit her website, her label Verve Records, and become her friend on MySpace.

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