I’ve finally gotten rid of my ten-year-old-plus imac and purchased a Macbook, which means that blogger is much, much easier to deal with. To celebrate, I figured I’d start posting highlights from the back catalog (or I like to think of them as highlights, anyway.) To start I’ll be reprinting some of the music reviews I wrote for Bitch magazine in 2007.)

Because I Like It
Columbia Records

This is Amerie’s first album without producer Rich Harrison, and she takes the opportunity to demonstrate that the signature style they perfected together was more her than him. “Forecast”, “Hate to Love You,” and “Gotta Work” are brutal, unrelenting funk, built around percussive horn samples and beats so jagged that you expect James Brown to jump out of his grave to say “Huh!” Amerie has writing and arranging credit on most of the numbers, and she certainly sings as if she owns the material. On the retro-hip “Make Me Believe,” she gets within testifying distance of Ann Peebles; on “Take Control” she declares “I love the way you kiss my neck in public” wth a sexy-tough exhalation that’ll have you fanning yourself. The cover art may be fashion-shoot girly, but R&B doesn’t get much more cockily virile than this — in comparison, both Justin Timberlake and R. Kelly sound like 11-year olds who haven’t quite figured out which end of the toy is up.

That’s the first part of the disc, anyway. The second degenerates into a bland, ballad-heavy mush, relieved only by “Paint Me Over”, a break-up song with a decent tune and a bit of actual pathos. Some day, I sincerely believe, Amerie will figure out how to deal with slow tempos and the result will be an absolute masterpiece. Till then, half a perfect record will do nicely, thanks.

Svengali?: We don’t need no stinking Svengali.
Columbia Records: Needs a good talking to: as of mid-September this record had not been released in the U.S. Luckily, it has been available by import — and, of course, by download.

Updated fun fact: This album never did get a U.S. release. Stupid Columbia records….