Title - 'The Art Of Love and War' (Concord)
Artist - Angie Stone
There isn't one negative thing I can say about Angie Stone. I have read and seen her in several interviews, and she appears to be a grounded, sweet and sincere individual. I have her entire discography ("Black Diamond", "Mahogany Soul", "Stone Love" and "The Art of Love and War"), and all of her albums are good, if not magnificent. "The Art of Love and War" easily falls under the magnificent category. With her pure, beautiful voice, her meaningful lyrics and the very impressive production on this album, there should be no question as to why she is one of Neo-Soul's most respected and skilled artists.
After listening to "The Art of Love and War", I wanted more Angie Stone, so I replayed some of my favorite cuts from the album. This album is inundated with midtempos and slower cuts, but it's always nice to have an album with a relaxed feel. What I like most about her is her ability to harmonize with herself. Her harmonies are just splendid! The first song on an album should be one of the best, because if it's not a strong cut, it could cause the listener to turn the album off altogether. The first track on this album is called "Take Everything In", and it's the album's best cut! The lyrics and the hook are what makes this song shine. "Baby" lacks creativity, and ultimately it's one of the album's weaker cuts, but it's still worth listening to. There is a lot of piano and percussion on this album (Yay! My two favorite instruments!). "Half a Chance" is a piano ballad and lyrically it's a good song. The harmonica found on "Happy Being Me" reminds me of "That's What Friends Are For." This song is about being truly happy with yourself regardless of trivial flaws. I was impressed with it, Angie outdid herself, but doesn't she always?
Angie Stone is such an unsung talent. If you are only partially familiar with her because you've seen her videos or heard a song or two on the radio, you should be good to yourself and purchase one of her albums. My personal favorites are "Mahogany Soul" and "The Art of Love and War", but all of her albums are good, so just take your pick!