On the popular wave of her "I'm Staying Home Tonight" we have a similar soon-to-be popular tune "Easy Way About You" which features some great, great sax - this will keep a smile on the face of “Super Gary Spence” quite right too. I absolutely melted with delight when I heard track two, "So Smooth", a cut that would neither be out of place on an MCA album circa 1986 or the latest sets from James Reeno or Cool Million. The 80s are back, baby and this Controllers-type groove paired with some great sax ticks every conceivable box for the likes of this old hack. The funky "Ooh" with its freaky keys and brass touches is another strong, strong effort that allows Ashanti to get low-down, dirty and downright sassy. This is a dirty slab of a tune and should go down very well indeed! The strong, positive messages contained in "Don't Be Afraid" are solid stuff indeed. What we have here is a strong voice of experience and someone who knows what she is singing about through real and bitter experience. For Ashanti, the term 'no pain, no gain' would mean a lot and she has condensed all her experience into one hell of a directional and highly positive message. Also, musically it is SUPERB and definitely one of the album's true joys!
The elegance of "It Should Be You" also cannot be understated. The feeling here is of a classy Jam and Lewis effort with, say, Janet Jackson back in the mid 80s. Such a beautiful, quality song! This does Ashanti much credit. The title song too will be one to savor and enjoy...it oozes class and wipes the floor with all of today's whining R&B girlies showing that modern US R&B doesn't have to be crass. Fans of Lalah Hathaway's latest sets will weep with pleasure over the gorgeously acoustic "Sometimes Love". This song brought tears to my eyes and goose bumps to my flesh. Only an artist of GREAT caliber can reduce me to this kind of state, and this Lady has that knack. The final song, "Underestimation", is totally, totally essential and is of such a quality you would imagine that it had been lifted from a Marion Meadows or Najee album. This album is a very, very qualified success for a new artist such as Ashanti. To return with a follow-up set is a bonus in these dark times, but to raise the bar and do so with such force, finesse and real confidence is a joy to behold. Ashanti Munir deserves to be one of THE defining soul artists of the 21st Century. An incredibly essential album!