STYLE: R&B RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 153212-22826 LABEL: eone 0015095727824 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2014-09-23 RRP: £12.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
While Beyonce has gone on to become a pop megastar and Kelly Rowland has perfected a brand of slinky, urban pop, Michelle Williams, the first to step away from Destiny's Child with a solo album (2002's gospel set 'Heart To Yours'), has done various things including playing Broadway with roles in Aida and Chicago and touring with productions of The Color Purple and Fela. Now with her fourth album Michelle has returned once more to gospel and 'Journey To Freedom' has already registered at number one on the iTunes Christian & Gospel chart. There are some tracks here which harken back to '90s R&B like "Need Your Help" (which features Eric Dawkins on vocoder) while "Just Like You" sounds like something off a Mary J Blige album. But elsewhere sounds are even more contemporary and even those who enjoyed 'Heart To Yours' may struggle with the effects added to her voice on the opener "Need Your Help". In the sleevenotes Michelle thanks Lonny Bereal ("You produced my vocals soooooo well") but for me the effect is too shrill and metallic sounding. Having said that, there is still much to enjoy. Getting back together with Beyonce and Kelly on "Say Yes" has already produced 10 million views on Vevo while the megastar guest, Fantasia, adds something special to "If We Had Your Eyes". My favourite cut though is "Fall" featuring Lecrae and Tye Tribbett. As bang up to date as R&B gospel can get, 'Journey To Freedom' is clearly a step forward for the singer with the supermodel looks.
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Michelle Williams, one third of destiny's child follows up her debut single "Say Yes" with an vibrant album.