It's been six years since Ashanti last dropped an album and she has finally released the much anticipated "Braveheart". Whether it was just to hate or you're actually a fan, many awaited the release of this latest album. To be honest, after a million pushbacks I'd plum given up on the idea that she would release any music at all. In fact, I'd forgotten all about her. It's been eleven years since Ashanti has even had a top 10 hit so I didn't have high hopes for a successful album and her vocals definitely needed work...in the past. I was surprisingly pleased by the vocal prowess displayed on this album. Ashanti has clearly had the vocal training a lot of current artists NEED. Her range, precision, and technique have definitely improved. Hats off to her for taking the time to perfect her craft.
That being said...I expected more. The tracks weren't bad per se but they weren't everything that Jesus intended either, especially after pushing this album back til Kingdom Come. I'm not sure what the direction was supposed to be for this album but it's lacking cohesion (although definitely an improvement from her previous releases). I'm aware that she has her own label now but she needs to find her sound and stick to it. Like WTF was "Count"?!? It gave me terrible ass knock off Rihanna tease. After 12 years in the game I need her to know her sound and stop trying to mainstream her music to sound like popular artists. Nobody wants another Beyonce or Rihanna. We just want Ashanti...whoever that may be. For starters, I could have done without the first five tracks. From "Words" to "Don't Tell Me No" I was in musical bliss! Then came Rick Ross. Just threw my whole damn life off with "I Got It". Followed up by "First Real Love" which was random as all hell. Beenie Man though?!? To each his own...I guess. The bonus tracks saved her in my opinion. Otherwise more than half of her album would've been a no. I wanted an album I could put on repeat and play straight through. Guess I'll be keeping Ariana Grande's "Yours Truly" on repeat.
If you're a fan of Ashanti's then get the album to support her. If you're not a fan then get it anyways. It's an artistic mash-up of a plethora of artists so you just may find a replica of your fave looming in this compilation of pop, R&B, and club songs. I, for one, will choose my faves and scrap the rest.
Don't take my word for it. "Braveheart" is available online and in stores...pick up your copy (if you dare) and see for yourself.
- Natasha Marie