Candice Glover needs to be taken a little more seriously. Beyond the (highly overrated, since they’re pretty much the same as The Voice’s) ratings doom and gloom surrounding American Idol in the media since its last season starring her as its crown victor, Glover herself is actually a pretty darn talented vocalist and interpreter of music. She had proven that time and time again during her Idol run, producing such moments as her covers of The Cure’s “Lovesong” and Tom Jones’ “I (Who Have Nothing)”. Now, she has finally gotten the opportunity to prove herself fully with the release of her first full-length album, ‘Music Speaks’, released this past February.
My past review of Candice’s first single from off of ‘Music Speaks’, “Cried”, already speaks leagues about how it’s the perfect tone-setter for the album on the overall, representing Glover’s ability to inhabit a song and bring it home with a power-punch of pure emotion. The greatest thing about ‘Music Speaks’, though, is that it presents Glover in an array of varying moods ranging from vivacious and high-spirited to intense and brooding, and paired with these well-conveyed emotions comes a myriad of musical styles hearkening back to both old and new subdivisions of soul. Each individual track maintains an atmosphere differing greatly than the last, but that all fits together nicely into a jigsaw representative of all sides of Candice’s lush vocal talents.
“Same Kinda Man” summons the same type of funky rhythmic guitar and lively brass section spread across a throwback soul kind of melody in the way that overseas artists such as Duffy and James Morrison have become famous for, whereas “Passenger” is best compared to modern gospel in terms of its sound, and is also arguably one of the most potent tracks on the album in terms of its representation of tension in choosing between moral paths. “Kiss Me” is a throwback jam, too, but more along the lines of what was popular in the early 90s, whereas tracks like “Coulda Been Me” aren’t afraid to pull from multiple sources of inspiration (think Aretha Franklin meets modern hip-hop, which, promise me, sounds a lot better than it reads on an e-article). The real wonder, again, remains that, despite all of these clear inspirations in terms of the overall production value of ‘Music Speaks’, Glover does what she does best to the highest of her ability: she interprets each and every one of these tracks in a way that they are completely and unapologetically representative of her own supreme talents as an artist.
The problem facing ‘Music Speaks’ in terms of sales success comes primarily from two separate avenues which ultimately converge into one singular issue which can be affectionately labeled as “The Industry”. A lack of initial advertisement paired with R&B’s overall placement in terms of radio relevance today (mostly just crossover singles have been maintaining success for newcomer artists) have kept ‘Music Speaks’ from being the mainstream success that it deserves to be, but sales numbers are not ever representative of an album’s quality. Glover has arguably crafted the exact album she would have wanted to here, keeping her rich vocals front and center without compromise. Even though looking at the iTunes Top 10 albums list today, ‘Music Speaks’ is a record deserving to be there over at least half of them, ultimately, beggars can’t be choosers and big success is always within reach so long as an artist aspires towards it. ‘Music Speaks’ is one sweeping step in the right direction for Glover as a musical artist and, in the future, it will be intriguing to see just how high she can rightfully soar.
‘Music Speaks’ is a fantastic debut that is astoundingly exquisite in design, offering a homage to all eras of soul and, most importantly, Candice’s prime talents. To realize that this is just the beginning for her as a music artist is crazy in and of itself because, arguably, in terms of Idol winners, hers is a debut that represents all of her artistic sides without exemption. In retrospect and complete honesty, a commercial record featuring more of the Daniel Merriweather/Mayer Hawthorne sound that made “Same Kinda Man” a big hit amongst her fans may have been nicer for outreach, but at the same time, it would not show off who Candice is in her entirety. ‘Music Speaks’ is a sophisticated release that will never be placed on any “Idol’s worst” list, and that in and of itself is a testament to Glover’s own natural talents. There’s no arguing here that ‘Music Speaks’ looks and sounds exactly like the type of album Glover would likely be making had she been wholly independent, and it being true to herself is more important than anything. Perhaps ‘Music Speaks’ is just a slow-burner and will gain some deserved sales down the road nonetheless as more reviews pop up to show just how good it actually is.
In knowing her musical journey is far from over and this is just the surprisingly refined beginning of her showcasing what she’s able to do, whatever the more experienced artist in Candice Glover’s future looks like, I’m sure I’m speaking for all R&B and Idol fans when I say it’s going to be a tough wait for her based on the existing product’s being so darn talented already.
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