US My Naked Soul Productions CD, 2011
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1) You Got Me 4:32
2) What About You 5:37
3) Moma Said 4:35
4) The Night I Fell In Love 5:28
5) My Violin 4:43
6) Making Love 4:42
7) I'm Wondering 4:43
8) Simply Beautiful 4:26
9) I Confess 4:32
10) Do You Still 4:57
11) This Time I'll Be Sweeter 4:19
12) Over and Over 5:12
13) I Can See Through It All 5:05
Five years has passed since
Terisa Griffin's previous album My Naked Soul,
which was our album of the month in December 2006, and also my
album of the year in 2006. In her record label introduction, it took
"4 years of writing and soulful tears dropping to form this masterpiece", her
latest album Soulzophrenic, and I can assure you it has been worth the wait.
The new album is even better than My Naked Soul - again a very strong candidate
for the soul album of the year.
Frankly, the competition for "the album of the year" has not been tough this year, at least
at this time time of the year when first eight months have soon passed. Only Aretha Franklin's new album
A Woman Falling Out of Love competes in the same league, but it was withdrawn
from the market when the CDs that were on sale were all defective on one track. Let's see
if it's ever released officially!
Terisa Griffin was interviewed in our magazine after the release of her
previous set, and in her interview she mentioned Aretha as one of her influences,
whereas Ledisi and Jill Scott were her favourites among the younger
generation of soul singers. Her own vocals have been compared to Ledisi, but also to
Anita Baker and Oleta Adams, all of which describe what kind of a talent Terisa is.
The biggest difference between Ledisi and Terisa is now that while Ledisi has
found great success from the teen oriented R&B market, Terisa is still singing Real Soul.
Only on one or two tracks on the new album we can hear strong programmed beats in the
R&B tone, but great majority of the album represents classic soul.
The first half of the album contains nothing but ballads, and I first wondered if
Terisa had decided to record an albumful of ballads. But then on the latter half we
are offered a couple of uptempo tunes, and they are actually so good I would have
rather heard even more of them. Especially Over and Over has an almost
type of quality in the arrangement, featuring wonderful trumpet and piano playing over
the bass-y backdrop, and at the end of the song Terisa does some scat singing - superb stuff.
Simply Beautiful is built on a meaty bass line over which Terisa adds her
churchy vocals, whereas This Time I'll Be Sweeter is NOT the old Angela Bofill
song but a relaxed new mid-swayer written by Terisa and producer Terry Hunter (who did
the remix of Sunshine). In the previous decades, this could have been a major hit
Still, the main course on the album are the big-voiced ballads. All tracks on the new
album are new and at least partly self-written by Terisa, and the most memorable
songs include the powerful opening You Got Me, the equally arresting
What about You and the string-laden My Violin. I'm Wondering
has a hint of R&B in the form of loud programmed beats,
but the actual song carries socially conscious lyrics that were once a feature
that was popular in soul music - whereas nowadays it seems that only hip-hop artists
continue the old black music tradition of message songs.
The bonus track on the CD, I Can See through It All takes Terisa into
completely different territory, electronic dance music, and actually Terisa's second release
this year is a house version of this album, entitled Soulzophrenic Dance.
- Ismo Tenkanen