23rd Oct, 2015

Album Review: Crystal Lewis – ‘Crystal Lewis’


Motown influenced R&B-Soul meets Disco-pop laced with personable and yet relatable lyrics on Crystal Lewis’ long awaited self-titled album.

Artist: Crystal Lewis

Album: Crystal Lewis

Street Date: 9/11/15

Record Label: Metro One

Genre: Motown/R&B-Soul/Disco-Pop

iPod Pick: Be Alright (Feat. Anthony Evans)

I want a friend to throw a pool side barbecue party with Be Alright on repeat and invite me in. it’s that easy and groovy. And Anthony Evans appears on it doing it some justice.

Crystal Lewis self-titled record (which I’m sure took it’s time to morph after 30 albums in her career) is what you get when an artist pours their entire heart and soul into a record.  Do not be deceived by your personal expectations, the music on the record is as shiny as the album art. Crystal Lewis is veteran enough to stick to a theme on a record. Like the bold ‘Fearless’ which released after recording the ground breaking ‘Lean On Me’ with Kirk Franklin, Mary J. Blige and Bono of U2, and later turning down an opportunity  to record a full pop album with a major record label. Fearless featured audacious songs such as ‘Only Fools’ and yet vulnerable one like Trust Me and My Friend included with a tempo throughout that seems to be counting down to the occurrence of a life defining event.

The gentle 2011 ‘Plain and Simple’  (produced by her son) which I have come to love over the years features simple tunes  but yet complexly woven lyrics laced with longings, resolutions, prayers and anthems on starting again. In fact, Crystal features her daughter Izzi Ray on a song reflecting how personal the record must have been to her.

The self-titled seems to depict everything Crystal has stood for her whole music career; The Jesus, The Sassiness, The funk, The personable storytelling that flows into excellent music without being preachy at all. Its raise your hands in the air music, a freedom of sorts, an emancipation. Musically, it some Erykah Badu and some Jill Scott and some Blondie and a LOT of Crystal Lewis.

The album is capsuled in two bang-your-head- on-the-radio songs; the first track ‘Be Alright’ which features Anthony Evans and the last track ‘Brave’ on which Crystal belts with unimaginable passion and conviction these words ‘my health is failing but I know You will save me. Seasons are changing but I know you are for me. Hallelujah. . . God has won’ . To be honest this must be the most powerful notes Crystal has exhaled since Kirk Franklin’s ‘Lean on Me’. These two songs are worth the price of the album.

And it’s studded throughout, even in the middle with gems such as the groovy disco-ish ‘faithful’, the fashion runway styled ‘Let Go’ or the confidently performed ‘In Your Name (For Your Glory)’ which features rapper Christon Gray. Really it’s a press play record; No need to skip a song and definitely like any Crystal record, it grows on you.

In the end, all I can say to you is get on a shiny dress, buy the record and do not forget to put on your dancing shoes because you will boogie it up for most of the new Crystal Lewis record.

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