On Etana’s sophomore album Free Expressions she shows a more mature side of herself. She has managed to pen 12 of the 14 tunes and has also collaborated with a variety of producers, including lovers rock specialist Kemar “Flava” McGregor and Curtis Lynch, a producer that shows a new, more melodic side of himself this time.
Free Expressions includes several previously released tunes, such as Mockingbird, Happy Heart, August Town, Heart Broken and I Know You Love Me. And those are some of the best tunes. Other highlights include the gospel-tinged I Got You produced by talented duo Alborosie & Specialist, and War, with an opening guitar hook very similar to Max Romeo’s classic Chase the Devil. On War Etana also delivers with furious energy.
Sadly, there are some dull moments too. It’s tough to cope with My Name Is – a song that certainly has hit potential, but not my kind of music with its synthesizer effects similar to Jon & Vangelis I’ll Find My Way Home and a chorus that echoes from It’s Gonna Be Me by 90’s boy band ‘N Sync.
I’m not over excited about the intense and schizophrenic Venting either. It’s just too much instruments and vocals that fight for my attention.
The album is a fusion of reggae, lovers rock, pop and neo-soul and Etana’s singing sometimes resembles the voice of Alicia Keys. If you like your reggae soul styled and heavenly melodic – then this is a must have.
Free Expressions hit the shelves on February 8.