Marsha, Marsha, Marsha, I am writing for PMA because she gave a fan an interview and my adoration for her grew. I wanted to review her album and be objective; not an easy task. I felt the only way to be able to be objective was to take myself back to the kid in Tower Records (no longer in business) at 30th Street station in Philadelphia. I was taking the train to New York and I needed something new for my discman (Old School). I wanted new music, and Floetic was on sale for $9.99 and that wasn’t too big of a risk. That’s how Marsha Ambrosius came into the life of TK. So, I went back there pretending that I had never listened to her before and I enlisted a few people who have never heard of her. What follows is a honest and objective as a huge fan can be.
Marshians have been waiting with baited breath for her sophomore solo album, here is the relief as the album dropped yesterday! Friends & Lovers is an amazing album. It is by far the best work Ambrosius has EVER done. It is soulful, thoughtful, sensual, heartbreaking, and uplifting all at the same time. As I listened, I slipped. I knew that if I didn’t see growth from Marsha, I’d have to call her out on it as I did Trey Songz. I had to compare her previous works to Friends & Lovers. I’m happy to report that there is growth, an amazing amount of growth. Ambrosius is a grown, uncompromising woman and it shows up in Friends & Lovers. For me, there hasn’t been an album since Usher’s “Confessions” that you just put in the CD changer and hitting the skip button NEVER even crosses your mind.
If you’re looking for dance music this album is not for you. The best way to describe this album is that Marsha needs to enclose condoms when you purchase this album and since she hasn’t– look for a baby boom commencing in April. Not since Sade has there been a sexy, sultry body of work that you put on when it’s “That Time.” Oddly enough, Marsha’s “Stronger” featuring Dr. Dre is a cover of Sade’s “Stronger Than Pride.” While “Stronger” is a cover “La La La La La” is reminiscent of Minnie Riperton’s “Lovin’ You,” something only Ambrosius could pull off vocally. Even the interludes are exceptional, something I would’ve missed because I simply don’t listen to them and only did so for the purpose of giving a full review for PMA. “Kiss & F**ck” is the best interlude I’ve ever heard and Marsha, “MAKE THAT A FULL SONG!”
As stated in the interview she gave PMA, this album is a musical autobiography. “So Good” and ” 69″ leave little to the imagination as to what Marsha’s sexual proclivities are. “Night Time,” and “Shoes” are about post coital bliss, something every man wants his woman to be in after they make love. There are the ballads, “Spend All My Time,” a duet with Charlie Wilson makes you want to be in love, to have someone to monopolize all of your time. Vocally, “Run” is where Marsha shines, not unlike “Getting Late,” her vocals alone makes that song. There are tracks that remind me of Janet Jackson’s “Anytime, Anyplace” and “Cupid” reminds me of Michael Jackson’s “I Can’t Help It” (written by Stevie Wonder). In short, the album has everything but a dance track and we have enough of those in my opinion.
I cannot decide which is my favorite track. In all honesty, there are too many that I can feel Marsha through. My sentimental favorite is ‘Streets Of London” it is to London what Jay Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind,” is to New York, but better. London didn’t have an anthem, it does now. London is an aesthetically pleasing city and who better to pen and sing it’s anthem than Marsha Ambrosius? At the end of ‘London” Marsha asks, “Where’s my heart?” The answer is: London, and we will always be home to her. Since I’m forced to pick a favorite song, It would have to be “Night Time.” It’s a smooth ballad and Marsha’s voice just puts me in the zone. One is transfixed my her intoxicating vocals and it’s stayed with me all day. The album is available on iTunes, but I’d recommend going to target and getting the album with the bonus tracks (it is worth it)
***** out of 5
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TK’s Bio: Terrence Kyrell Hodge I was born 9/13/79, in what was then W. Berlin Germany, to Qualise and Lieutenant Tyrone Hodge of the United States Marine Corps. He lived in London England and graduated from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor in 2000 with BA in English and Political Science. Terrence writes about any and everything. Terrence is planning a series of novels that are works of “faction” part factual (nonfiction) and partly fictional. He plans to bring a dual vision of American and European observation and opinions to PMA. He will bring blunt honesty with a sense of comedy. He says “I will write wherever I’m needed as I am NOT a one trick pony.”