Two decades have flown by since we first became familiar with R&B songstress Tamia, five studio albums and multiple Grammy nominations later we are here to mark the release of her sixth studio album; Love Life. It’s been three years since we heard some new Tamia material, so this release has been highly anticipated and it will be interesting to see her pick up where she left off, after signing a new deal with Def Jam last year so perhaps we could expect something edgier.
Love Falls Over Me is this breezy R&B infused jam with some smooth and luscious vocals, Tamia sure knows how to carry a tune; that sound is also prominent in the more swingy and catchy Chaise Lounge. At first you would think that lead single Sandwich And A Soda was going to explode into a more dance/club track, but instead we are graced with a more subtle and relaxed ode to a potential love interest; we are treated to a more thumping drum beat though when Nowhere comes around, it stays true to the atmospheric style of the album. The percussion shines on Lipstick, the finger clicks and the slight taps here and there really create a warm and ambience; Special continues the concept of love written into this album, which is not a bad thing, even when Tamia isn’t belting her heart out she still wins you over with her voice.
Like You Do goes back to the catchiness we experienced a little earlier, it’s fun to hear Tamia explore her melodies the way she has been, her falsetto vocals in Stuck With Me also manage to capture your attention and give us this rawness and versatility. By the time you get to No Lie you kind of wonder what else could be done, the answer is up to you, but the sound of the album doesn’t really explore other options at this point; thankfully, the sound of the keyboard and a more lifting melody makes heartfelt ballad Day One the temporary saviour. The sound of the acoustic guitar introducing Black Butterfly was also a God send, but it’s not long before the percussion and the melody takes us back to familiar territory; You Give Me Something takes you by surprise, a bit of soul lifts the album’s sound and regains your interest. Final track Rise gives the lasting impression of Love Life by reminding us what we have been listening to, which is a collection of R&B music that is a little out of the box compared to what’s on radio.
Love Life is a welcome return for Tamia, it stayed true to her R&B roots and there were moments with her that you shared rather than heard; her luscious voice and the top notch production helped its sound stand out. There was a moment or two however where you thought that versatility between tracks lacked, which was a bit of a shame as it temporarily halted complete enjoyment of the record, but prayers were answered as the album evolved towards its last third. There’s no denying that Tamia still has the talent to write and deliver a decent R&B album, and she will for the years to come, Love Life is great for an easy listen or for the die hard Tamia fan.