Review: Raven-Symoné – Raven-Symoné
Raven-Symoné is Raven-Symoné’s eponymous fourth studio album. It was released in the United States on April 29, 2008 and features production from Eric Hudson, Sean Garrett, The Clutch, Kwamé, and more.
This girl owes most of her success to the Disney Channel for her stint as Raven on the hit TV show That’s So Raven. It’s a well known fact that none of the entertainment on Disney Channel goes past PG, and Raven-Symoné seems to have taken that into account with all of her previous releases; making them safe for children’s radio, and, usually, bland for everyone else.
But on Raven-Symoné, she lets her hair down a little bit and steps at us as a grown woman who just happens to have a tame lifestyle, instead of a caged bird who feels trapped under the restraints of Disney.
This album is still G rated, as is the rest of her catalog, but she throws some stomp into it this time with tracks like “Green“, “That Girl“, “Girl Get It“, “What Are You Gonna Do?“, which sounds like it could be a Britney Spears B-side, and, the Sean Garrett produced, “Stupid“.
Raven makes it a point to remind any players trying to get her attention that she’s not stupid; all-over a wild, electronic jungle-beat. “Stupid” is innocent enough for a ten year old to go crazy to without their parents worrying about the lyrical content, sans one curse word thrown in by Mr Garrett toward the end, but it’s adult enough for an eight-teen year old to bump in their car without feeling embarrassed. And that seems to be the case with a few of the standout tracks on the album.
“Keep a Friend” preaches words of wisdom on friendship, which is something that we can all benefit from, regardless of our age, and “Shorts Like Me” is literally a bass-heavy empowerment song for short, overweight women. However, it can be upheld as a universal anthem for everyone with image issues; with the use of a little imagination.
Even the pop tunes, “Love Me or Leave Me“, “Anti-Love Song“, “In the Pictures“, all straddle the line between pop and R&B, which grows thinner each day, and deliver some pleasant melodies and lyrics about heartbreak, self-acceptance, and reflection.
In its most common state, Raven-Symoné is simply Raven at the mid-line between being a children’s music celebrity and becoming secular radio royalty. And if she wants that crown, she’s going to need to pack a little more punch next time and be unafraid of leaving her Radio Disney days behind. Raven doesn’t need to turn into a skank, but she does need to release herself from seemingly passing every song through a focus group full of protective parents.
Raven-Symoné isn’t quite the full package I was hoping it would be, but it has songs with hit potential scattered throughout. It won’t be a chart topper, but it will give the ‘tween’ market some quality songs to enjoy.
KEEPERS: “Anti-Love Song”, “In The Pictures”, “Green”, “Stupid”, “Keep A Friend”
What do you think about the album? Do you agree with this review?