Music – For your listening pleasure

2010-09-24 11:57

Tender, sincere, gentle and self-assured is how Seal sounds on this, his sixth studio album.

Commitment (Gallo)
Seal

He has been married to supermodel Heidi Klum for five years and they are raising four children.

The title of the album points to how he’s settled into his role of husband and father.

Accordingly, he sings of family, marriage and optimism.

“Family, friends, memories, and everything else in life is transient,” is a mantra Seal says he lives by.

He told the British Sunday Mirror: “I’m married to one of, if not the most, wonderful women in the world.

“She is everything – funny, attractive, hard-working, she has integrity, and she loves me to bits.

“Honestly, if I was looking at myself and I cheated, then I’d just think: ‘Wow, how disappointing, I actually thought you were better than that’.”

So, the music is all about appreciating loved ones.

He does so over the 11 tracks of Commitment in an elegant manner.

They are sung well and sincerely.

Best in Me is a touching tribute to Heidi.

You Get Me is another impassioned ode to the love of his life.

This album is a beautiful celebration of life, love, relationships and commitment. It is produced and arranged by David Foster.

8/10 – Lesley Mofokeng

Love King (Universal)
The Dream
Singer-songwriter and producer Terius Nash, aka The Dream, penned mega-hits like Rihanna’s Umbrella and Beyoncé’s Single Ladies.

Love King, his third studio album, continues from his previous album Love vs Money.

On the title track The Dream brags about all his girls.

Then he claims to make every man irrelevant with his sexual prowess on Sex Intelligent!

On Make Up Bag, featuring T.I., he disses materialism and discourages men from buying women expensive designer bags after a fight.

Clearly he discovered it doesn’t make a difference since he recently divorced his wife, Christina Millian.

Apart from all the baggage, this album delivers quality and sexy R&B.

6/10 – Mokgadi Seabi

Inceba Zika Jesu (Gallo)
Betusile Mcinga
After being in the shadow of his mother, Lusanda, for years, Betusile Mcinga has gone solo.

With Inceba Zika Jesu, Mcinga tries to carve his own niche, but it’s not easy as he sounds like because of how gospel singers sound the same these days.

The fact that there are not that many hymns to go around doesn’t help either.

His renditions of Kubobonke Othixo, ­Kanye Nawe and Jesu wase Nazareth stand out.

Lusanda features on the ­traditional Xhosa hymn ­Masibulele ku Jehova.

He bids a sad farewell to a departed friend on Ntlungu Ziphelile, while Uzokhonzwa Ndim is a relaxed jazzy tune.

I give him credit for his “different” voice and raw talent though.

6/10 – ­Lesley Mofokeng

Back to Me (Sony)
Fantasia
In what I’d call a publicity stunt, the American Idol’s season three winner attempted suicide two weeks before she released this album.

But listening to the music there are no clues of a troubled life.

Instead there are some good, smoky, soulful R&B jams here, such as the retro Collard Greens and Cornbread where she samples Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s Motown classic Your ­Precious Love.

The sampling continues on the reggae-tinged Teach Me where she borrows Bob Marley’s I ­Wanna Love You.

Man of the House, Move on Me and Who’s Been Lovin’ You stand out.

She raises the roof with the soaring ballad I’m Here, from the Color Purple musical.

7/10 – ­Lesley Mofokeng

Woman (Universal)
Various
While it’s punted as the “essential collection 2010” of the finest female singers, some of the songs have gone stale.

Amy Winehouse’s Rehab is so 2008, Cheryl Cole’s Fight For This Love is so last season along with Keri Hilson’s I Like.

Having said that this compilation is still fun and diverse. Pop by British girl bands is alive with Girls Aloud’s The Promise and Sugababes’ Get Sexy.

Soul sistas India Arie and Erykah Badu represent.

Impressive talent on this 40 track double CD comes from the lesser known names like Colbie Caillat, Pixie Lott, Melanie Fiona and ­Esmee Denters.

This one is for long road trips and not necessarily for women only.

7/10 – Kagiso Seate

Diane Birch (EMI)
Bible Belt
Birch had me at “Goodbye my love/I will be seeing you when the lights go”, the first lines of her first track, Fire Escape.

Birch’s debut album is classified as folk, but it’s more old-school soulful folk music.

This 13-track album could fit in well with a Norah Jones collection – even Tracy Chapman.

Only in her mid-20s her lyrical content is imbued with depth and maturity.

It makes sense, considering that one of her producers is soul legend Betty Wright.

She sings about love and everything else in everyday life.

Rewind deals with love that could have been.

Rise Up urges you to stand up for what you believe in, “even if it don’t make your mother proud”.

7/10 – Tokiso Molefe

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