Amanda Black gets up close and personal with another heartfelt body of work, we review the singer/songwriter's latest album Power.
Artist: Amanda Black
Available on all streaming platforms
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It has never been a question of whether or not Black possesses talent. She is a great vocalist and this has been evident since reaching the top seven Idols SA season 11 and her multi-award-winning debut album that went platinum just three weeks after its release.
However, listening to Power, I can’t help but wonder if the singer-songwriter can withstand the test of time. Can she transcend the typecast of the Afro-soul soprano voice laced over stellar musical production, going back and forth between isiXhosa and English, singing songs about triumph and love? Although her latest album is a powerful testament to her musical journey, I’m still on the fence about Black’s longevity and ability to evolve.
Power is a great album, but after a while of hearing her sultry voice soaring throughout the album, it quickly gets monotonous and repetitive.
After a while, Phambili starts to sound like Baninzi, Bayile, Hamba and then it all becomes a blur of the same storyline with the same vocal arrangement over and over again. I appreciated the liberties she took with Mmangwane and Egoli, which are more on the Afro-pop and upbeat side, and I wish she explored this form more.
Notable favourites that stood out were Ndizele Wena, a beautiful love song that had me in my feels. I thought featuring Anthony Hamilton with the backdrop of the Soweto Gospel Choir and, similarly, with Khumbula featuring Ami Faku were really cool treats for fans. Other than these pockets of vocal surprises, the 18-track diary entry is too elaborate and similar.
Black’s songwriting skills have also matured and improved since her first album. I’d like to see her take more risks with her music. Many of the other songs play it safe and lack memorability. In a fickle industry, in which year after year there are new hopefuls who steal the hearts of music lovers, I don’t see her lasting if she remains in her comfort zone.
I appreciate how personal she got with this album. Overall, it is a well-produced body of work that could do without certain tracks. It is intimate and uplifting, and displays her maturity since the release of Amazulu. It does, indeed, reclaim her power.