First Impressions: Turn Me Out, Turn Me Loose

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ledisi has always been an artist that never played by the rules, always colored outside of the lines, and was never a scooped out vanilla flavored soul singer. Her collection of albums have showcased her ever-evolving state as each long player varies from one another. Though there is variance, they still all possess Ledisi's multi-layered vocal styles, which should make your ear drums rejoice. 2002 brought the straight lounge essence of 2002's Feeling Orange But Sometimes Blue and 2007 was the introspective jazz-funk of Lost & Found and least we forget the homegrown Southern soul of her 2000 debut, Soulsinger. Now in 2009, Ledisi returns in upbeat spirits with her now fifth album release. If the electric-pink album cover and title didn't give us inkling enough to Ledisi's new jubilant attitude, the musical content is evidence enough. On Turn Me Loose, the New Orleans native does just that as she twists n' shouts about with songs that spread over the structures of classic rock, Blues and funk, but with a modern take. While Ledisi rocks n' reels she brings a couple of friends along for the joyride. Producer Rex Rideout is back with Raphael Saddiq, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, Chucky Thompson and Chief Xcel taking on production duties as well adding their prospective talents into Ledisi's musical mix. The theme of the album resides in "changes", with three songs taking on the word, and Ledisi having a change of musical direction on this. Changes in sound come in the form of Ledisi tackling optimistic R&B flavors with great ease, such as the punchy mid-tempo, "Higher Than This" and the gusty psychedelia of "Trippin'". The title track revolves on a swaying gut bucket Blues polished for the 21st Century and is a mighty persistent number. Favorite, "Alone" is heavily laden with percussion and it chugs along wondrously while "Knockin'" takes some cues from the 70's age of Ike & Tina Turner with its rousing rock n' soul quality, that really "let's loose". Another highlight, "I Need Love" is a tumbling synth number with a killer arrangement that bounces into stark drums and synths into a tinkling light piano.

Tight arrangements, cohesive flow and infectious tunes are what make this a stellar effort in Ledisi's body of work, but the real showcase is Ledisi's vocal chops as her vocal techniques alone are intricate enough to marvel at. She dips and dives into varying octave ranges so swiftly and stunningly, you won't have a chance to blink. Turn Me Loose is a thoroughly thought out effort that proves that Ledisi is one to keep a hawk's eye on as her talent runs deep. Clearly, this is one of the best albums you'll hear all year.

Rating: 9.8/10
Release Date: August 18, 2009


  1. You definitely hit the nail on the head right here, Ledisi's masterpiece latest album here is definitely one of the best releases this year. I don't think there's one bad song on it, I can play it all the way through.

    An album that's worth every penny!

  2. WOW! great review! definately checking out this album soon, it sounds really good!

  3. Great review. I really enjoyed her first LP and this one, I'm getting my hands on. I'm definitely gonna dig this.


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