Album Review: Love Life by Tamia

After founding her own imprint in 2005 and realeasing two albums independently, Canadian R&B artist Tamia signed back to a major (Def Jam Records) last year and gave us her 6th studio album.

Love Life has been in stores for the past two weeks now, but we think it’s an album that should be savoured slowly so that’s the reason why we haven’t discussed it yet here at EST1997. While it didn’t get a warm commercial response, it debuted at #24 on the Billboard 200, quality is what matters to us. And on Love Life there is plenty of that.

First of all, Tamia’s voice is as crisp and smooth as it was when she was belting out “Stranger In My House” 15 years ago. It still has that richness to it and her tone is still one of the best in the R&B world. Add to that the lush and sensual production of Love Life and the result is exquisite. Aided by Pop & Oak, Chuck Harmony, The-Dream and Polow Da Don, among others, Tamia recorded this album in 10 days in her rented studios in Atlanta.

The main themes of the album are love and relationship, but it’s not sad. Tamia herself has stated that this is a “happy album” and it shows. The sensual productions provide a warm atmosphere and her crooning is just scorching. The first single, “Sandwich and a Soda,” is an example of this sexy side of hers, one that pushes her to convincingly explore her low registers. The sweet waltz tempo of “Chaise Lounge” is met with Tamia’s passionate vocal  serenading her lover, while the highlight of the album “Stuck With Me” gives us a few falsetto moments over a thick bassline.

The short tracklist keeps the album fresh and tight. There is no room for filler, although the only faux pas might be “Day One,” a piano ballad that doesn’t really fit the glossy sound of the album. But things pick up with the album closer “Black Butterfly” where Tamia gifts us with a powerful performance.

Love Life is a great album not necessarily because it’s about experimenting or bringing new elements to the table, but because the artist stays true to herself. Even staying in the comfort zone can lead to surprising results, as long as there is something to be said and the execution is right.

 

Grade:
80/97

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