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Lyfe Change (Deluxe Version)

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iTunes Editors’ Notes

What sets Lyfe Jennings apart from so many of his R&B contemporaries is his conviction. When he sings, you feel he is behind his lyrics 100%, and the depth of his life experience — 10 years in prison, starting at age 14 — is embedded in every fiber of his voice. His previous album, The Phoenix, was a deeply personal piece of work that showcased Jennings’ songwriting skills and had him introducing every track with a spoken word explanation. While Lyfe Change is a clear attempt to expand his commercial appeal by working with a variety of producers (his previous works were primarily self-produced) and more mainstream material, the performances never feel cheap or hackneyed. “Never Never Land” and “Baby I’m A Star” embrace a pop-oriented R&B feel and “Midnight Train” is a song in search of an adult contemporary audience, but the majority of the album sticks closely to Jennings’ original vision: passionate songs with a positive, determined message. Nowhere is this better defined than on the roots reggae infusion of “You Think You’ve Got It Bad,” a piece of near-gospel about accepting and struggling in an unforgiving world.

Customer Reviews

Lyfe Jennings-Lyfe Change

R&B artist Lyfe Jennings, first came onto the scene through his gritty realities, serious and truthful messages. With his debut going platinum, The Phoenix going gold, he hopes to continue his streak with Lyfe Change. Keep On Dreaming: Simplistic production, drums, bass guitar and soft strings introduce you, as Lyfe sings quick lines. Lyrically it is nicely written, but kind of lacks that soulful singing, its more of Lyfe just telling you. The hook is where the track shines, as more instruments join in and it is a call to keep on doing what you do, keep dreaming. 3.5/5 Warriors: Piano keys lightly guide this bass bumping midtempo, as electric guitar comes through every once in a while. The hook isn’t bad, but sounds slightly Wyclef-ish. Decent track. 3/5 Never Never Land: A slower midtempo that could have been taken at a slower tempo, it still works. The second single, “Never Never Land” has a nice hook that can get a little annoying after a while, but blends nicely with the track. The smooth and soulful lyrics flow seamlessly, as Lyfe breaks it down at the bridge, singing in a high pitched voice in the background. Solid single that is another good Lyfe track. 4/5 Brand New: Lyfe refreshes The Stylistics “You Make Me Feel Brand New” into a fresher and more modern track. The uptempo production is nicely crafted, as Lyfe puts in some lyrical saying of “click your heel three times cause there’s no place like home”. The hook is nicely done and cleverly redone, about how you were never brand new and is about how, despite the money and fame, you stayed true and never got brand new. Cleverly redone and throw a worthy T.I. verse, you got a solid track. 3.5/5 It’s Real: The track has a slow and droning vibe of fat beats and slight seductiveness to it. The track has a good message of wrapping it up and protecting yourself from AIDS, but it doesn’t come through like it should. The lyrics get a little annoying, due to Jennings’ singing style. He almost sounds a little whiny, and not that strong soulful voice we love. 2.5/5 Cops Up: The first single that truly showed Lyfe was changing his style up a bit, it had a more uptempo feel. The drums were smooth and soft, as the track works as a chilled party track. The vocoderized hook, actually works and sounds really good with the production, about a player who just got his heart shot, so call the cops up. Lyfe blends well with the track and it's a solid banger. 4/5 You Think You Got It Bad: The reggae infused “You Think You Got It Bad” is more of a Wyclef Jean track. He is featured, having a verse and assisting Lyfe on the hook, and helping produce the track. Lyfe’s contribution to the track is minimal and is overtaken by Jean, which isn’t bad, but this is Lyfe’s album. Good track that is chilled throughout, but surprisingly and oddly goes uptempo. 3/5 Wild, Wild, Wild: Bass guitar grooving “Wild, Wild, Wild” has some brass and organs to assist, as Lyfe hooks up with Clef for another track. This one works much better than the previous, due to the increased performance of Lyfe. Clef adds on the hook, while Lyfe croons smoothly and sings about how girls “have gone wild, wild, wild.” The track builds nicely. 3.5/5 Midnight Train: Lyfe tries something new, aiming to a broader audience, as this track is seemingly radio aimed and pop sounding. Its easy listening, trying to be a smooth rolling track that will have success on the radio. The acoustic guitar, solemn strings and building at the hook which has light croons by Lyfe. The track is a smooth ballad that will be enjoyable to a broader audience, but at the bridge it goes a little out of Lyfe’s style. 4/5 Hmmm: The light humming by Lyfe is nice, which fans heard in the beginning of the “Cops Up” video. Its catchy and smooth, as electric guitar joins, while Lyfe connects nicely here. Smooth and relaxing, Lyfe does well here, even if there is a little too much electric guitar and ad libbing at the hook. 3.5/5 Old School: Really liked the vibe of the track, uptempo and filled with some raw soul. Lyfe speaks on his whips, using cunning metaphors “I got this old school, the color of soul food, candy yam raisin stripes, pipes potato whites, corn bread interior, crammed colored collard greens…chicken pork rice and beans”. Strings, piano and light bumping production make this a likeable track, and who better than the laid back cool Snoop to drop a verse. 4/5 Will I Ever: Electric guitar introduces you, as the track goes into a ballad like feel. Light guitars play in the back, as Lyfe sings about finding that one person that is special. The track is nice, possessing an uplifting feel and one for the couples to rock to. 4/5 Baby I’m A Star: Decent production, the track is a little sparse though, singing wise. More of an outro, with a nice hook and production. 3/5 Cops Up Remix: Jim Jones adds a decent verse on this and it fits in well. 4/5 Lyfe’s third album is nicely done. I was a little unsure at first, but Lyfe still proves he’s got it and is able to transition from the gritty soulful street Lyfe to a softer and mellower singer. Lyfe Change was to represent the change in Lyfe’s style, it proves to be a worthy move. Not necessarily topping his other offerings, but another solid album from Lyfe who is building quite a resume of music. I wonder how much Wyclef impacted this album, because Clef loves to play the electric guitar (evident from his Carnival II) and a lot of the productions have guitar solos. Also, Lyfe’s singing has a slight reggae to it in some songs, evident of Jean’s influences. Whatever it may be, Lyfe delivers another great album, “Never Never Land” is a nice midtempo, “Cops Up” is a chilled club banger, and “Brand New” is cleverly redone. “Old School” has a raw old school vibe, “Will I Ever” is a solid ballad, “Midnight Train” is bound for pop success, and “Hmmm” is a smooth listen. Overall the album is relaxed, soulful and smooth R&B that only Lyfe can produce. Rating 7.5 out of 10

So Dissapointing

I am a gigantic Lyfe fan and Lyfe 268-192 and the Pheonix are two of my all time favorite albums. With that being said, this album was terrible. Nothing that made his first two albums so special remains. Almost every song on here is overproduced and Lyfe abandons his raw and powerful voice for T-Pain synethizers and fake accents. Neither the gritty reality nor the simplistic beauty of Lyfe's music are anywhere to be found in this mess. I understand Lyfe wanting to branch out 2 a more diverse audience and try something new but he shouldn't have to completely alter who he is as an artist. Hopefully this album will not be well recieved so Lyfe can realize why his fan base loves him and return 2 making some real music.

Change of direction makes a great album 4.25

One of the few knocks on Lyfe Jennings' first two albums, 2006's The Phoenix and 2004's Lyfe 268-192 was that they were too similar thematically. Both were basically about the singer's ongoing life saga, and even featured spoken between-song narratives that pushed the story along. But on his third album, the appropriately-titled Lyfe Change, Lyfe scraps the familiar formula in favor of a more traditional approach to album-making. The results are both good and bad; good because it's his most cohesive, best-produced album yet. But bad because it lacks the beautiful grittiness of his first two albums. The into track on Lyfe Change, a spoken-word track called "Change The Game" very cleverly explains Lyfe's new direction. I won't spoil the track, but in less than two minutes, it manages to chart a new course for Lyfe's career via a not-too-subtle metaphor wrapped around a funny anecdote. For anyone who listened to and loved Lyfe's first two albums, this one might not be for you. On his other albums, he was reaching out to the streets more than the 'burbs with his gritty tales of struggling through life on the block. But on Lyfe Change, the script has been flipped and Lyfe is instead making a concerted effort to appeal to the mainstream. This is made crystal clear on the album's second track, the inspirational Keep On Dreaming, which practically sounds straight out of a high school play, or maybe the soundtrack to Fame. Not many of the others songs on the album are that egregiously commercial, but the love song "Midnight Train," which sounds like something Crosby, Stills & Nash might have recorded back in the '70s, is pretty close. Love and being in love are a major focus of the album, with another for-the-masses song being "Cops Up," in which Lyfe complains about falling hopelessly in love: "Somebody call the cops up, lil' mama done stole my heart," goes the chorus, sung by the vocal duo Luke & Q. "She's makin' me fall in love, she's not gonna give it up/Somebody call the cops up, somebody call 911, tell them I've been shot through the heart, I've fallen and I can't get up." And yes, the chorus is just as corny as the lyrics seem, but is balanced by Lyfe's vocal gruffness. To be fair, Lyfe hasn't completely abandoned songs about struggle. One of the album's absolute best, most substantive tracks is "Old School," an uptempo anthem about havin' nothin' but trying to get somethin' out of life: "I swear to God, if they keep raisin' the gas price, I'ma sell the Chevy and go buy me a bike/I'm a king, but my crown's in the layaway and I'm just a day away from givin' up," he sings. That's real talk right there, the kind that put Lyfe on the map. It's just too bad there's not more of that realness on this album. Of the few that are here, all are superb, such as the anti-immorality tale "Wild, Wild, Wild" (which is reminiscent of his previous morality song "S.E.X.") and the safe sex warning "It's Real." A reggae-tinged song called, "You Think You've Got It Bad," about counting life's blessings, is also good, but suffers from way too much Wyclef Jean. Of the song's more sunny material, one of the best of the bunch is "Never Never Land," a love song in which Lyfe manages to address those who say change is bad, by saying that they live in "Never Never Land, right next to Peter Pan," and that "they'll never understand what it's like to be in love." The song is smart without being sappy, romantic without being too redundant. Overall, Lyfe Change proves that change simply for the sake of change isn't necessarily good thing. However, Lyfe's change seems to be more of a maturation, rather than a cynical attempt to sell out. So although not all of his new material works, Lyfe definitely deserves props for being open-minded and trying new things.

Biography

Born: June 3, 1978 in Toledo, OH

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Not that he'd wish it on anyone, but it was during his ten-year sentence in prison that Lyfe Jennings developed his honest sound, thanks to isolation and Erykah Badu. It was an arson charge that put the Toledo, Ohio native in prison. His musical aspirations started in the church choir and grew in the Dotsons, a teenaged group that Lyfe formed with his brother and a couple cousins. Prison made his music deeper, according to Lyfe, and when a copy of Erykah...
Full Bio
Lyfe Change (Deluxe Version), Lyfe Jennings
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