8th Jun, 2015

Album Review: Tina Campbell – ‘It’s Personal’


Artist: Tina Campbell

Album: It’s Personal

Street Date: 5/21/15

Record Label: Gee Tree Creative 

Genre: Gospel/R&B

iPod Pick: Speak The Word (Feat. Teddy Campbell)

Right on from its first track, we hear the passion with which ‘It’s Personal’ is laced through with. Big voiced Tina takes very fragile sounding songs, songs that groups like Kye Kye, Phantogram and artistes like Regina Spektor and Plumb (Tiffany Arbuckle Lee) would choose off a setlist and dishes them out firmly. I think the success of the record is that you get to look beyond the music, looking for a story, some guide and something to lead you to a cause beyond the record thereby  making it your own, thereby making it personal to you.

The usual is often the most upbeat track to kick off the record. I think its daring to start a record off on the slow. You are saying something when you do this. Artistes like Hillsong United, Selah have pulled this off having great records none the less. Tina starts off the record with the revolving and surrounding  Holy Spirit followed closely by the serenading Disney character theme song like or say opera like ‘Only Jesus Did it’ before the radio ready jazzy ‘Love,Love, Love’ which features the legendary Stevie Wonder. It is a feel good song but might come across as fluffy cause all you might hear in its lyrics is Love, Love. . .

I totally love how ‘Woh oh oh’ enters in with a sweet African esque beat. Another beautiful thing about this song is it’s call and response format as it’s accentuate with modulation following a very simple sing-along style until the end. I really think we need more simple sweet songs like this one.

Life’ turns things up instantly like Tina was on a playground all along from the beginning of the record and switches quickly to a runway. For a feel of the momentum of the refrain of this song, picture models walking as fast as they can down a Paris fashion show runway. Somewhere in between Tina yelps ‘Lord every blessing you give is better than anything money can buy’. For the life of me, the singing on Destiny made me press the repeat button and  go GIRRLLLLL! ! !

I like how Tina communicates often overlooked simple spiritual truths on the record (Destiny, Speak The Word feat. Terry Campbell, I’ll Wait). The record comes off with raw moments and more-like live performances with the usage of choir (Forevermore, I Call You Jesus, I’m Everything With Ya Feat. Thomasina “Honey” Atkins ), children talking (Woh oh oh) and very organic voices in BGVs. A vintage Motown like sound is heard throughout most of the record, even on the very contemporary Life.

The album rounds off with a heart felt prayer (Aaron’s Worship) which puts in context what the album was all about. It is an offshoot of Forevermorebut the piano on the track is solid.

Tina’s ‘It’s Personal’  feels much like art. Picture an artist before a canvas morning after a night of say a hangover, heartbreak, lover left or even new baby in the family and decides to paint where they are, the joy, the emotion, just paint everything. I listen and I honestly I hear the vulnerability in every sound so I am not quick to say it was not what I expected. Good art anyways is never what is expected.

Unlike Erica Campbell’s record which was systematically creative, well structured, starting off with the profoundly deep and creative ‘The Question’, I would say Tina’s ‘It’s Personal’ is daringly creative, just like offering what American Art teacher Julia Cameron calls your ‘morning pages’ to the world. Not comparing, not at all but placing the two records (Erica and Tina’s) side by side gives us a clear idea who is Mary and who is Mary.

If you liked Erica’s Help and everything Mary Mary’s every recorded, this is for you and definitely, Tina is bringing on fresh and new fans onboard with this one.

Download ‘It’s Personal’ here!

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