Alice Smith
She


3.9
excellent

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
March 25th, 2013 | 26 replies | 6,707 views


Release Date: 03/19/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Whether it revolves around reassuring pop anthems or bitter break-up ballads, She is a deeply sincere soul record.

There's something horribly wrong with large record labels. In 2007 Brooklyn-based singer Alice Smith signed to Epic Records that re-released her critically acclaimed debut For Lovers, Dreamers & Me, yet despite a Grammy nomination Epic refused to support her recording music, or even touring. After many years of “unrealistic and imposed expectations,” she finally came up with her second record that in turn was rejected by the label. In the face of such discouraging events, many artists would give up making music altogether. However, Alice kept her career afloat constantly composing and performing on stage. Another step was starting a kickstarter campaign to finance the recording sessions for her new album. In consequence, She is an independently released affair that most definitely wouldn't exist without the overwhelming support of the artist's fans.

Alice is clearly a more experienced person than she used to be six years ago, and that finds its perfect reflection on She, a more mature album than its robust predecessor. The vocalist tends to use her impressive four-octave voice with soul-minded intensity and jazz-laden prowess. The subtle keys-based arrangements allow her to be in the spotlight most of the time. Her genuine talent gets revealed as soon as a 40-second a cappella introduction for “Cabaret” makes its presence felt. It's easily the best track on the album retaining an ideal balance between infectiousness and sophistication, accentuated by a resplendent operatic bridge. In addition, the lines: “I see no reason for chasing/In Hollywood, got to lose my patience” in the song's vigorous chorus make it feel relevant, closely corresponding to the singer's unwillingness to compromise her artistic integrity.

Further on, Alice expands her deeply personal take on soul music with the assistance of Rebecca Jordan, Reginald Perry and Syience. The ballads they craft are decidedly diverse in style though. “Ocean” contrasts gorgeous folk-derived verses with a bit too lightweight chorus, while piano-driven “Another Love” is a bitter, if painfully honest break-up song that finds Alice at her most earnest and resigned. Plenty of tunes overflow with grace that defines old soul music. The wonderfully subdued rumble of “Shot” is juxtaposed with dignified “Loyalty,” a superb throwback to the 1960s that wears the Etta James leanings on its sleeve. Another highlight is the elusive title track which ends the disc on a reassuring note with its darkly-tinged production. On the other hand, the sole cut that feels redundant is the Cee Lo Green cover, “Fool For You.” Even though the song borrowed from The Lady Killer is amazing, the reasoning behind its inclusion without any alterations to the original version seems questionable at best.

It's safe to say that Alice Smith won't achieve commercial success with She: it's too refined to be appreciated by masses, and seems best suited to be experienced in an intimate setting. As minimalist as its approach may be, the album bursts with sincerity the singer is renowned for. After all, it's not only a testament to her sheer persistence as an artist, but also a powerful soul record that showcases her remarkable vocal talent with a concise collection of expertly performed songs.



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user ratings (16)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 25th 2013



7315 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Cabaret:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9b83KxMj8A

Another Love (live):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kG2VnXpDP6U

The One (live):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocdEUptIUcg

Digging: Dog Fashion Disco - Sweet Nothings

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 25th 2013



14987 Comments


i was gonna listen to this and maybe review it

you bitch

will read in a second

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 25th 2013



5918 Comments


Great review, will listen to the links tomorrow.

Digging: Essence Beyond - Carnivalism

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 25th 2013



7315 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

I'm surprised that anyone but me on here really wanted to listened to it. I loved Cabaret when it came out at the end of last year, so yeah... checking this out was a no-brainer for me.

tragic.details
March 25th 2013



624 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cabaret is a sweet little groove.
Great review, I really wanna check this out now.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 25th 2013



14987 Comments


idk i dont wanna piss off people who find opinions like this distasteful but it really seems like you can check any new r&b release on allmusic and it'll be like 3.5/5 minimum. have you heard elle varner from last year? kills it

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 25th 2013



7315 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Nah. I haven't heard this one. I'll check it out though. Out of new releases, definitely the Laura Mvula debut is worth checking out. Also, Lianne La Havas if you haven't given her a spin yet.

breakingthefragile
March 25th 2013



2943 Comments


It appears our ratings have been reversed greg lol. Seriously though, one of my favorite pop albums of the year so far. I'm assuming you added this to the database? If so, thank you, have been wanting to rate this for about a week.

Digging: Glassjaw - Everything You Ever Wanted To Know...

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 25th 2013



7315 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Guilty as charged. It's definitely my favorite pop album of the year so far. Cheers.

Jethro42
March 25th 2013



12377 Comments


The lady has an incredible voice, the acapella was well done, but it's not my cup of tea. Review was excellent.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 25th 2013



7315 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

I wouldn't recommend this to you, but thanks for reading pal.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
March 25th 2013



4940 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

something about her voice bugs me. not bad by any means, just pretty indifferent. i wish the production was more interesting

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
March 25th 2013



10003 Comments


I see you're switching it up, Greg! Nice work in foreign terrain here. =]

Digging: Deniro Farrar - Rebirth

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2013



7315 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Well. It's an independent release so obviously she didn't have enough money to make it sound flashy. Anyway, the production isn't even the most important thing about this.

I don't know if it's an entirely foreign terrain for me tbh. I listen to quite a lot of soul every year, but yeah... it's not my most frequently reviewed genre.

RadicalEd
March 26th 2013



2553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

review is good.

But 2013 is getting out of hand.

Can't keep up with all those releases.

Also greg.
Get an avatar.

Digging: Depth Connection - Fever Dreams

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2013



3335 Comments


Nice genre change. She has a great voice.

Digging: Karma To Burn - Arch Stanton

MasBarHigeuoris21
March 26th 2013



1530 Comments


Don't know if it's just me, but she looks like Rihanna on that album cover.

Scum
March 26th 2013



379 Comments


yeah, she does

RadicalEd
March 26th 2013



2553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

she has a great voice. Cabaret is a good song.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2013



7315 Comments

Album Rating: 3.9

Yeah. Cabaret was my favorite pop song of 2012 (it was released a couple of months ago).



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