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Jennifer Hudson

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Album Review

Vocal effects, T-Pain, and Ludacris have their place — pop-oriented R&B singles fronted by life-like automatons with limited range, for instance — but beyond cynical sales interests, they make zero sense on a Jennifer Hudson album. Anyone who has heard Hudson sing, whether through American Idol, Dreamgirls, or even that baffling duet on Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell III, would know she is capable of carrying an album without trendy gimmickry and guest MCs. Few vocalists as young as Hudson have a voice that is as versatile and expressive, proficient enough to pull off a multi-dimensional set of R&B songs, yet her debut is as tricked out as that of an artist with a small fraction of the talent. Neither the treatments nor the accessories were necessary. She got them anyway. Lead single "Spotlight," released four months prior to the album, was both promising and satisfying, nearly a dead-center bull's-eye — dramatic but not over the top, powerful but not a gratuitous fireworks display, a melancholy but striking midtempo track with a gently thumping four-four pulse. It's also the first song on the album and sets up a sequence of wild swings between direct hits and flailing misses. The latter is more common than the former. Hudson's voice is smoothed out through the fluttery "If This Isn't Love" (not to mention spiked with grating male grunts of "Hey!"), nearly unrecognizable until the point where she belts. During "Pocketbook," Hudson is in top attitudinal form, but she is washed out by Timbaland's overstuffed beatbox-driven production and Ludacris' outlandish freakishness. "What's Wrong (Go Away)," a ballad written and produced by T-Pain, who also guests, would be just fine without the auto-tune that is streaked across it. Excepting "Giving Myself" — as in "Spotlight," she triggers flashbacks to the late, great Phyllis Hyman — the slower material that allows her to stretch out tends to be dry; only so much life can be breathed into Diane Warren's "You Pulled Me Through," while "Invisible" is low-wattage self-upliftment suited for a vocal competition. Album number two will hopefully make drastic reductions in moments like these, as well as the guest spots — unless, of course, Fantasia is onboard for a sequel to the old-school-flavored duet "I'm His Only Woman."

Customer Reviews


And I am telling you that this ain't going! Never before has such a long and eagerly awaited debut, from a very gifted and promising vocalist, been such a disappointment. Not at all what you were led to expect from the tease of 'Spotlight', Jennifer Hudson is vocally lost in riffs gone past, sinking into the sound of banality that has become all to prevalent in contemporary neo soul music. The voice that we hoped would liberate us from cliche has become one with her first major full length offering. The two stand out tracks on offer have already been released prior to the cd, one as single and the other on the Sex and the City soundtrack. So, with the exception of the glorious gospel track 'Jesus Promised Me a Home Over There', the remaining songs are anticlimactic, directionless, redundant fodder - replicating everything you never wanted to hear again from neo soul and weren't afraid to ask. And did we really need another release of "And I am Telling You'? Pulling the "Dreamgirls" card didn't trump jack on this disc. Surely a diva of this stature would have had the choice of some major musical offerings to pack her pipes into for this important release. Where are they? I think back to debuts by the likes of Jill Scott, Me'Shell, Lauren Hill, Erykah Badu and Chrissette Michele, and the voice that should have and could have joined the ranks of these ladies who transformed the genre has, with this self titled dropping, perhaps become America's First False Idol. Plastic Soul!

5 stars, good actress and singer, u go DIVA

The best of best, i can't wait for her to make more, she's on the road to Diva life, i was amazed, the CD isn't released in stores cause they were all defective so you can only download it on itunes until store release Oct 14th

always been a fan...

loved her ever since we met her on AI... Knew she would do great things... Some great tracks here... Spotlight, Pocketbook, Invisible, but most of all, "If This Isn't Love." And u even get her big songs from the movies she's been in as well as some of what she does best.... gospel. She could sing the phone book :)


Born: 1981 in Chicago, IL

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Best known for her role as Effie White in the 2006 film version of the Broadway musical Dreamgirls, vocalist/actress Jennifer Hudson was first brought to the public's attention while a contestant on the third season of American Idol. Born in 1981 in Chicago, Illinois, Hudson sang from a young age, first performing in her church. Various talent shows and school musical productions followed until she eventually secured a role in a local Chicago production of the musical Big River. Prior to auditioning...
Full bio

Top Albums and Songs by Jennifer Hudson

Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Hudson
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Customer Ratings