AMBER BULLOCK “SO IN LOVE”
Amber Bullock is the fourth winner in the Sunday Best franchise and within less then 8 months she is already releasing her second full project So In Love, this time with all original material.
Being a fan of Bullocks before she ever crossed the Sunday Best stage, my anticipation for her new project was at an all time high! Were my expectations met? Let’s talk!
The project starts off with the lead single “Lord You’ve Been So Good,” where an older version of this same song can be found on The Experience: Oakwood University USM Compilation CD, but was never commercially released. Bullock’s 2012 translation has an infectious, New Orleans swing that makes it nearly impossible not to get up, bob your head and snap your fingers. The funky bass line and live horns give you that old juke joint feel that makes you want to grab somebody and cut a GOOD rug! I love the fact that she wasn’t afraid to drop an up-tempo single instead of going the safe route with a ballad.
On “Done For Me” Bullock gets a little help from Sunday Best host and everyone’s favorite nephew, Kirk Franklin! The mid-tempo bounce offers just the right amount of friendly and happy. You can’t help but smile on this track.
The title cut “So In Love” gets easy, breezy on the infectious calypso vibe where Bullock’s velvety alto glides like a calming ocean. The message rides seamlessly as Bullock sings, “I’m so in love with You. Whatever You want me to do. I’ll do, cause I’m so in love with You.”
“Second Chances” is sure to be a standout among listeners as Bullock’s voice soars sweetly over some of the purest lyrics on the project. Surprisingly this is not one of my favorites on the project, but I know it will resonate with many listeners. But speaking of favorites, “Changed” is at the top of my list. She sells every note, every lyric and inflection that by the time she really gets into her ad libs, you truly believe she’s been changed. I’m not really sure what Isaac Carree added to the song. Honestly, I could have done without him on this track altogether because she holds it together superbly all on her own.
The urban driven “Yes” is another standout. This song takes a page straight from R&B vocalist Jazmine Sullivan’s “Love Me Back” project, which is a great CD. Their vocal styling is so similar on this particular track; I have to remind myself I’m listening to Amber Bullock.
“Nobody Else” strikes a jazzy, R&B chord where Bullock appears to feel most at home. Any Lalah Hathaway and Joe Sample fans will find this one especially pleasing. This is Gospel easy listening at its best! Amber’s flawless runs on the vamp, “that’s where I find tranquility….secret place” seals the deal as one of the brightest moments on the project!
The latter part of the CD ends with my least favorite song “Take It Back” followed by the Pop/CCM “Ruler” and “Same God.” “Ruler” takes flight midway through the song right at the key change. The commanding background vocals bring this one full circle. And while “Same God” is a nice song, it just felt very familiar…like I had heard it before or heard something similar to it on the CD.
If I’m judging the overall solidarity of So In Love, it definitely has a cohesive sound and flows well. And if I had one qualm about Bullocks sophomore release, I would say it felt a bit safe. Where at times it started to sound monotonous at certain points. I would like to see Amber pushed out of her vocal comfort zone particularly in the area of her range and the keys of the songs. With that said, she sounds absolutely flawless from track 1 to 10, which is what I have always loved about Amber.
So In Love gets 1 CRICKET! This is definitely a great start for Amber Bullock and when an artist is this good at the beginning it makes you wonder how much better they’ll be in a few short years. So In Love gets my stamp of approval, so it’s safe to go and buy this one!