I have always been a fan of Lalah Hathaway’s voice. However, she really captured my attention when she was featured on Snarky Puppy’s song, “Something”. She did some amazing vocal acrobatics that I still haven’t recovered from. Check out the video for yourself below. I also got a chance to see her live in concert for the first time recently. She was the opening act for Mary J. Blige. The entire concert was great from start to finish. Lalah Hathaway added a really personable element of soul. She debuted her new single, a midtempo love declaration called, “I Can’t Wait”. I immediately fell in love with the song and wondered if it was from a forthcoming album.
Within a few weeks, that question has been answered. Her new album, Honestly, is only 35 minutes long. However, her voice is so mesmerizing, I doubt listeners could take much more. She’s instantly more confident and bold than on her previous live release. Let’s take the opening title track, “Honestly” for example. She isn’t afraid to tell her ex that she’s moved on and doesn’t want him anymore. She sings, “Honestly, I don’t really want you no more/You can walk out that door”. The music video takes the song in a different context. She features highlights of injustice around the world and references the Black Lives Matter movement.
Lecrae lends a verse on the encouraging and victorious, “Don’t Give Up”. The production here, like much of the album, has a jagged feel that marries well with Lalah Hathaway’s smooth vocals. “Change Ya Life” details why her love is superior. She’s confident in a sexy way here and offers up one of the best songs on the album. In her own words, she might “f$%^ around and change your life”. Well, alright then. Tiffany Gouche is the only other featured artist, who appears on the stutter step, bass thumper “What U Need”. If Lalah Hathway was to try her hand at trap music, this would be it. Don’t ask if she pulls it off well; that would be totally disrespectful.
“Call On Me” is a thunderstorm slow jam reserved especially for those rainy, late nights. This song is extremely seductive. I can definitely see this one being a single on the radio. “Won’t Let It Go” is a comical, yet painfully serious tale of an ex that doesn’t get that it’s over. Lalah Hathaway proves she’s more than just a beautiful songbird. She can bring it to the streets if necessary. However, she still saves some room for vulnerability. “Y O Y” asked the simple question of why a love went sour. She recognizes that it’s time to move on, despite how painful it may be. So, honestly this album is a must have in your collection. I’ll definitely keep in heavy rotation for quite a while.