Fantasia, "Side Effects of You" (RCA Records)
Fantasia's fourth album, "Side Effects of You," reminds us exactly why she captured our hearts to win 2004's "American Idol."
The Grammy winner, who mostly collaborates with producer Harmony Samuels on the new album, declares a whole new lease on life, delivering a more mature, no-nonsense version of her former self.
The lead single, "Lose to Win," is a heartfelt anthem, and she delivers her vocals with intense emotion. Having faced her fair share of public scrutiny over the years, it's evident Fantasia is singing from experience and the message here is clear.
"Without Me," a killer track with Kelly Rowland and Missy Elliott, has a captivating chorus, while "Supernatural Love," featuring rapper Big K.R.I.T., bumps with great hip-hop flavor.
Fantasia also shines on the reggae-influenced R&B jam "Ain't All Bad" and the title track, a ballad written by breakthrough Scottish singer Emeli Sande. On the latter track, you'll feel Fantasia's pain and appreciate her realness.
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- Harmony Samuels