Artist: Ayiesha Woods
Title: Love Like This
Label: Gotee Records
Part of what made Ayiesha Woods' debut disc so alluring two years ago was her constant genre mash-ups and unpredictable vocal register. One second the supreme singer could be addressing her soulful side, then touching on jazz and oftentimes rocking out with R&B backbeats.
Some of those elements permeate her second project, Love Like This, though perhaps not to as potent of degrees in favor of safer, radio-ready formulas. Though accessibility isn't a negative trait, the singer/songwriter seems slightly watered down from the first round, though is still in fine form amidst these less adventurous explorations.
The front half of the project slickly switches between the building guitar pop of the title track, the keyboard saturated Mary J. Blige-like jam "Alive" and the neo-soul scoots of "One Day." And as pleasant as all those tracks are, Woods seems to hold back a bit until the project's second half, unwinding with the old-school soul slant of "Take Me There" and the joyous, rock-meets-R&B jumper "New Beginnings." "Fight" also evokes the acoustic soul of Woods' mightiest influence, India.Arie, but falls slightly short of the mainstream entertainer's charisma.
Lyrically, the collection follows dual paths of showing love in all circumstances and empowering listeners to fully realize the gifts God's given them (making her an especially strong role model and ultimately hip presence at Women of Faith events across the country). While Love Like This falls a ladder rung short of Introducing Ayiesha Woods, there are still enough points of musical and topical connection to stick close to this fresh faceâ ”even if she left a little room for additional artistic expansion.
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