Anytime someone garners legitimate comparisons to the likes of female sensations Norah Jones or Lauryn Hill, you've got to take notice.Producers: Maurice Henderson, Lisa McClendon
album release date: September 23, 2003
Perhaps no comparison could be more fitting than for Florida native and neo-soul diva Lisa McClendon. McClendon drops her sophomore follow-up on the free world, aptly titled Soul Music, and while this serves as McClendon's debut with Integrity Gospel, she maintains that incredible flava that stunned so many on her early 2002 debut, My Diary, My Life (see album review), bringing a touch of maturity that puts her in a class all her own.
McClendon maintains her partnership with the versatile Mo Henderson, as he collaborates on writing and production on the bulk of the project. McClendon, a prolific writer and poetess, tackles varying subjects and indeed bares her soul on Soul Music (read the interview).
She kicks the project off with "Hey Now", a declaration to rejoice because 'today is the day that the Lord has made.' The track is an appropriate opening for a special journey that touches all areas of life, from family to worship.
McClendon's writing style is absolutely special. Her ability to put a story into words makes her songs both infectious and thought-provoking. "Stuck (Love's Anthem)" is a fitting song for all marriages and views the God-ordained institution from an honest perspective, citing the ups and downs that all marital relationships go through. This tune sees
McClendon team with both David Hackley, Jr. and RockSoul Entertainment mogul Lee Jerkins, as it addresses the responsibility and commitment that both husband and wife are required to bring to marriage.
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McClendon's maturity leaps out with the earthy track "The Truth Is". Penned by Ezekiel "Zek" Haynes and Leon "Timbo" Seymore, the song speaks of the battle that the world has with absolute truth and reminds believers that the truth of Christ will prevail over the world's system. With Rick Whatford on acoustic guitar, the track brings the point home. McClendon then continues her earthy feel with the title track.
The artist's comedic side becomes evident with "Old School", as she speaks of her experiences growing up in church. Any true church kid will have an appreciation for this track.
Perhaps McClendon's writing ability best shines on "Has Anybody Seen Love?". Here, she crafts a story of someone looking for love, someone who comes with failed experiences. The song builds to a well-crafted resolution, where the answer is identified as Jesus Christ.
Amidst all of this, McClendon can get her worship on. She goes to a heavy praise and worship vibe with "You Are Holy". Worship is a natural fit for this praise and worship leader, but she raises the game to a whole new level as she brings in neo-soul with her remake of the Marie Barnett classic, "Breathe". If you've never heard soulful worship before, you've got to hear this track McLendon takes everything that's right with both genres and fuses them into sheer perfection.
This fifteen-track project is a gem and McClendon has a sheer masterpiece on her hands. In fact, there's no need to acknowledge her as the second coming of Lauryn Hill or Norah Jones. She's simply the first coming of Lisa McClendon. Open your ears and feel this Soul Music.
review by Gerard Bonner —
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