Jennifer Hudson "JHUD" Album Review

Jennifer Hudson

Prime Cuts:  Moan, I Can't Describe (The Way I Feel), He Ain't Going Nowhere

It's a tell-tale sign something's seriously wrong with our current state of pop music when artists have to constantly harken back to the past to borrow the sounds of bygone eras.  The latest fad seems to be going back to the dazzling disco sounds of the late 70s.  Daft Punk's "Get Luck" and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" seem to have caused quite a shine as they give their old mirror balls a few polishes this passed summer.  Now the finalist of American Idol's third season Jennifer Hudson has decided to jump on the same bandwagon too.  "JHUD" is Hudson's back to disco record where she jams to the souped-up dub sounds calling to mind those everlasting records by the Supremes, Gloria Gaynor and Donna Summer. 

"JHUD," Hudson's third release and the first since the demise of Arista and J Records,  has been in a long time coming.  In fact, as early as September of last year, Hudson has already been whetting the appetites of her fans when the album's first single "I Can't Describe (The Way I Feel)" was released.  But with the tepid responses and the frustration of not being able to find her niche in the current market, the album has been delayed for almost a year. One of the reasons why Jennifer Hudson finds it such a challenge to gain traction with radio these days is that she doesn't fit radio's format.  While many of her peers have gone the EDM route with auto-voicing being the the autopilot modus operandi, Hudson is just too overwhelmingly great to stoop to such a mess.  With her sturdy soulful pipes, Hudson is one of the few remaining R&B greats who still can sing.

Unfortunately, the midtempo disco-titled tracks don't give Hudson much of an opportunity to display her multi-octave vocals.  Rather, like a bird caged in a tiny confinement, Hudson's booming vocals has been domesticated by the far too many mid-tempoes here.  Though she professes to be one who takes chances in the album's latest single "Dangerous," she is so vocally restrained that she can only safely purr through what is a second class late 70s B-side throwaway.   Relying more on her star-studded guests and A-listed producers than a well-crafted melodic composition, her R. Kelly co-written and co-performed "It's Your World" doesn't live up to the hype.  Though the Pharrell-produced "He Ain't Going Nowhere," with its thick bassline and its club-driven beats, is quite infectious.  

Hudson did take to heart some of her own advice in the mantra sounding "Bring the Music Back."  And this is manifest in the album's lead single "I Can't Describe (The Way I Feel)."  Featuring T. I. rapping on one verse and having Pharrell Williams  in the production chair, "I Can't Describe (The Way I Feel)" is one of the few songs these days with a discernible melody accompanying a tasty throwback 70s funk sound.  While the album's far too many mid-tempo cuts have curtailed Hudson the opportunity to simply sing her soul out, "Moan," the album's final track, is an exception.  A jazzy piano is Hudson's companion as this American Idol alumnus lets her Gospel roots show on this rare showcase of her raw and limitless vocal prowess.

Despite the titlar of the album opener "Dangerous," "JHUD" is a safe record.  Though there are a few exceptions, this album in many ways have gagged Hudson of her true potential.  In her desperate attempt to curry for a hit, she has miserably silenced her own true voice.  And at the end of the day, with the largely ropey material, it's not going to win her the votes via radio either.  

Tags : jennifer hudson jennifer hudson album review jennifer hudson jhud review jennifer hudson news jennifer hudson new album jennifer hudson walk it out single jennifer hudson dangerous single american idol jennifer hudson jennifer hudson cd review

Hot Trends

Most Popular

popular videos