Yolanda Adams is arguably the hardest working woman in Gospel.Producers: Various
album release date: December 4, 2001
After a smash hit debut with Elektra Records back in late 1999 (see review of Mountain High, Valley Low) she has not rested, having delivered a Christmas album (see review), a live album (see review), her baby girl and now Believe all in that short time.
The polished and refined imagery on the cover is an indication of the laid back sweep of tunes inside.
Adams surrounds herself again with her tried and true corps of hitmakers. Shep Crawford and the Drop Squad produce "I Gotta Believe", a sparkling pop anthem in the encouraging tone of "I Believe I Can Fly". Guitar by Jay Williams is sprinkled about amidst a growing background vocal that winds up with the Greater Philippian Youth Choir and the New Life COGIC Youth Choir.
Labelmate Karen Clark Sheard joins Adams on mildly funky "Fo' Sho'". Both ladies show amazing vocal restraint. There's a bit of vocal sparring towards the end of the track, but it's remarkably tame considering the breadth of each woman's vocal skills. Surely, it's by design, and it works well.
Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis produce a glistening song in "Never Give Up". Co-penned by Jam, Lewis and Adams, the ballad that talks about persevering in pursuit of divine destiny. Adams begins by stretching downward as the verses to the tune are done in her lower range. She escalates to her glowing upper register with a never faltering but elegant keyboard track rendered by "Big Jim" Wright.
On "Since the Last Time I Saw You", Kevin Bond comes back to the Adams production crew, coupling with writer V. Michael McKay here and also on "Thank You".
"Thank You" has Adams' signature power vocal atop a masterfully arranged background vocal, make this simple song stand out. Also notable are the blaring horn lines on the piece, delivered by Mark Douphit and Chris McDonald.
Bond pens and produces "Only If God Says Yes", a ballad fitted to the clarity in Adams voice. Adams and Bond pair up on background vocals. Orchestration and conducting by Chris McDonald elevates an already towering song. Strings and Adams soar on this one.
Just like last time, Trecina and Erica Campbell (aka Mary Mary) kick out another tune (along with Warryn Campbell, Adams and J. Smith). "Anything" is a mid-tempo song also written to encourage.
The feel-good winner of the project is without contest "Darling Girl", written for Adams' daughter. Joining the writing process were Buster and Shavoni, Bobby Ross Avila and Joseph Avila. The song finds its strength in its simplicity. Not digging too deep, and posessing an infectious chorus, the light lullaby is certain to sway the masses.
If that doesn't work, the coo's from little Taylor at the end are sure to do the trick.
— review by Melanie Clark —
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