If Tiffany Evans can’t make it, then America is in trouble. It’s no secret that the only thing this country loves more than bacon cheeseburgers is sex and celebrity scandals (preferably involving celebrities having sex), but the constant media barrage of booty, cash and coke can get old for even the roughest thug. Now before I get accused of preaching, let me point out that most nights you can find me watching American Gangster while listening to American Gangster, but I’ve still got to believe there’s room on the airwaves for a talented, self-respecting, intelligent …
DJBooth Album Review
In fact, I know there’s room. If you need comparisons I could easily call Evans a young Ciara (minus the dancing), a female Chris Brown (minus the dancing) or even an r&b version of Miley Cyrus (I have no idea if Cyrus dances). But if her debut album, the self-titled Tiffany Evans, is to make any real impact she’s going to have to escape all the comparisons and become her own artist, a supremely difficult task she largely accomplishes. Tiffany Evans isn’t a great album, she is after all only 15, but I’m man enough to admit it’s far better than I assumed. Hey, I may be miles outside Tiffany’s target demographic, but that doesn’t mean I’m a grizzled old man.
Did I mention she’s only 15? Now girls mature quicker than boys, as my girlfriend can attest to, but even for a member of the female persuasion Evans is advanced. Just take the aptly titled I’m Grown, a Darkchild-produced single featuring a guest verse from Bow Wow (who himself is still struggling to complete the boy-to-man transition). Most listeners will be paying attention to the lyrical content, but it’s Evans surprisingly developed voice that impresses – go ahead, close your eyes and tell me she’s only 15. Most young singers with something to prove fall victim to Aguilera syndrome (the compulsive urge to constantly hit every note on the scale) but Evans displays a vocal restraint beyond her years. On the more lyrical side, Girls Gone Wild is a track that urges women to keep their clothes on (imagine that) while staying musically hot, thanks in large part to another electronically addictive Timbo beat. If you’re a teenage boy Girls Gone Wild will likely go down as the most disappointing song of all time, but for the rest of us it’s a refreshing switch from the usual “women minus clothing equals record sales” formula. Someone should play this song for Danity Kane.
Make no mistake, Tiffany Evans is still a teenager (despite what may claim). The album may be surprisingly adult, but I wouldn’t exactly recommend replacing your Jagged Edge collection. On the lead single Promise Ring, Mr. Collipark continues his “producer to the teenage stars” role with a catchy but recycled beat (I’ve been hearing that same drum line since the late 80’s) and Ciara stops by for a minimalist contribution that allows Tiffany to take the lead. If the only Tiffany Evans song you ever heard was Promise Ring you’d be right to call her just another fresh-faced fad, but remarkably the track’s teen-pop appeal is more the exception than the rule. Just take Impossible, a slowly grinding track that would have sounded at home on Rihanna’s last album, especially with the golden pen of Ne-Yo behind the lyrics. Here Tiffany puts away the promise rings and throws some emotional depth behind her voice; at times Impossible even reveals Evans as a possible Keyshia Cole in the making. I say possible because there’s just no substitute for going through life’s inevitable pains and joys, and there’s no escaping that while Evans may be long on talent, she’s short on experience.
It’s hard to figure out if I like this album so much because it’s that good, or because it’s so much better than I was expecting, but either way I have to say I’m impressed. Just when the album starts to move towards understandably juvenile material, like the cutely bouncing Can’t Walk Away, she comes right back with the legitimately fresh Lay Back, Chill, And Be Free. Listen, if you’re like me and you can remember the Reagan presidency, I seriously doubt you’re going to buy this album, but that doesn’t mean us old(er) folks can’t give some love to the younger generation. So how about it America? Can we drop the swagger for a minute and just have a good time. Can we?
DJBooth Rating - 4 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 04/22/08
First DJ Booth Appearance:
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