Review: Ashanti – The Declaration
After the disappointing performance of Concrete Rose‘s singles, I was interested to see what Ashanti would do to bring some attention back to her music. Would she find a new sound? Would she get a drastic makeover? Would she learn that she can only do the same thing so many times before people stop caring? No, she didn’t do any of that. And it isn’t like a physical makeover was necessary, but her sound definitely needed a new ‘do.
The Declaration doesn’t declare much more than the fact that Ashanti will continue to make the same mistakes, over and over again.
“It could be yours if I was your lady,” Ashanti sings on the Hutton produced, mid-tempo “Girlfriend“. It’s one of The Declaration’s high points and that doesn’t bode well for the rest of the album. “Girlfriend” is a solid track, but it doesn’t really grab the listener’s attention. It fades into the background with its laid back, sultry vibe, making it a good filler track, but not much more.
In fact, this entire album is comprised of mid-tempos and ballads. Most of the songs are listenable, but some are headache-inducing messes (“So Over You“, “The Declaration“), or just plain boring, like, the Robin Thicke featuring, “Things You Make Me Do“.
On some occasions, throwing a high profile artist on a dead track will help breathe life into it, but Robin Thicke’s voice was designed to soothe and relax. And “Things You Make Me Do” was already doing that, along with putting listeners to sleep.
Luckily, The Declaration has its fair share of tracks that won’t leave you wanting a refund. “Good Good” and “You’re Gonna Miss“, which seems more suited for Ciara, save Ashanti’s fourth album from being a rotten apple. They have that bouncy, sun-bright energy that made some of Ashanti’s earlier work worth listening to. And keep her diva persona intact, reminding us that she is capable of releasing good music.
As if it wasn’t expected, The Declaration closes with a whimper as the Christina Aguilera knock-off, “Shine“, and “The Declaration” don’t do much to leave a pleasant taste in the listener’s mouth.
Ashanti shouldn’t win any awards with this one, but she did succeed in recording a coherent album that won’t leave her fans upset, just wishing they had gotten a little more from her.
KEEPERS: “The Way That I Love You”, “You’re Gonna Miss”, “Struggle”, “Girlfriend”, “Good Good”, “Mother”