Album review: "Pieces of Me"
A self-portrait in song, Ledisi's "Pieces of Me" could be a lot more tuneful and reflective, but then listening to it wouldn't be nearly as much fun.
In fact, nothing is more enjoyable than hearing the R&B singer when she's really fired up. She offers hard-won advice midway through the album on "Shut Up," her imposing voice growing more defiant with each passing refrain: "Please forgive me, I don't mean to be rude / This is not my normal behavior / When people saying things to knock me off my dreams I gotta tell 'em, 'Shut up.' "
Similarly, "Hate Me," also co-written by the multiple Grammy nominee, immediately stands out, though this time Ledisi's increasingly stirring vocal performance is inspired by a tale of obsession with a twist: "One call, two calls, three calls, is that what I do to you? / Outside my door, scared to be alone / I know you're addicted, too / I know it's hard to understand / Sometimes a woman gonna act like a man."
True, the level of songwriting drops a notch now and then. Some of the affirmative ballads are trite or slight, and the production sounds routine at times, especially on the rhythm tracks. But thanks to Ledisi's passionate brand of soul - and a neatly tailored duet with Jaheim - it's easy to overlook the album's occasional miscues.
--Mike Joyce, Oct. 21, 2011