Amerie Avoids the Sophomore Slump

Rating: B-

Amerie was one of the notable breakout stars of 2002 with her debut album All I Have. Her new album Touch, will not disappoint fans, but it will not have them jumping for joy, either.

The Washingtonian gave a nod to her hometown with her first single “1

Thing.” With help from Rich Harrison, its “o-go” influenced drums and beats, gave the impression of a new sound from Amerie, a slight departure from the sweet sounding 2002 top 20 hit “Why Don’t We Fall In Love?” This is the first example on the album of a definite lyrical growth in the amount of variety provided because whether she’s tackling issues from a cheating boyfriend in “Not The Only One” or, with help from Nas, asking her man to act like her man in “Man Up” she’s showing that this time around, everything’s not lovely and beautiful and she’s not afraid to talk about it.

“Touch” is another standout song on the album, as is “Can We Go,” which

features Carl Thomas.

However, many of the songs make the attempt to be commercially different, but all use the same formula to convey its uniqueness. For example, many of songs sound like “1 Thing” minus a certain instrument or device. The listener might also find themselves waiting for Amerie to make a vocal departure from her soft-sounding voice because it is unclear whether Amerie stays vocally safe for lack of talent or whether it is a conscious choice.

The good thing about Amerie’s voice is sounds unforced, solid and consistent throughout, which is more than can be said for most of her colleagues in the industry, automatically putting her ahead of the pack.

However, the album also still allows for more growth than is showcased. Amerie leaves room to not be an artist that will not have trouble, the next time around, living up to the hype of her previous albums and more than likely won’t, as most artists do, fall short and easily disappoint.