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Music Review: Chrisette Michele releases gutsy 3rd album

Music Review: Chrisette Michele releases gutsy 3rd album

Chrisette Michele, "Let Freedom Reign" (Def Jam Recordings)

December 1st, 2010 by MELANIE SIMS, The Associated Press in News

Chrisette Michele has never been a run-of-the-mill R&B singer, and the Grammy Award-winner pulls even further away from the pack with the gutsy "Let Freedom Reign."

Now on her third disc, Michele bends her vintage vocals to take on love, loss and headier topics - and she raps too.

"Oh American citizen/ come collect your freedom/ no matter what you're living in/ no more giving in," sings Michele on the title track. She also drops this rap verse: "Keep us in the four walls of our church we'll be quiet/ Most of us ain't even Democratic or Republican/ and by coincidence/ we love the elected/ until they're detected of being human."

The track also features Talib Kweli and Black Thought and fits right in with edgy anthem "I'm a Star" and the self-empowerment track "Number One."

But Michele also reveals vulnerability, singing over machine sounds, chimes and harps on "So In Love" featuring Rick Ross.

She recaptures the classic, piano-driven sound that drew fans to her 2007 debut with the grand "I Don't Know Why, But I Do," written by John Legend and Jazmine Sullivan, and brings her elegance to "I Know Nothing," and to a smattering of sweet interludes that range from thoughtful to funny.

"Let Freedom Reign" shows an incredible balance in both its content and in the way it contrasts Michele's demure vocals with a bold sound.

CHECK OUT THIS TRACK: Michele imagines a life in and out of the spotlight, singing over melancholy piano and cello on the beautiful "If Nobody Sang Along."