Over the last three years, American Idol winner Fantasia’s personal highs and lows have overshadowed her musical talent. From her love affair with Antwaun Cook to her financial issues, it seemed the Back To Me singer’s career was coming to a stretching halt. However, she is back. She comes out triumphant, as she shares her personal joy and pain through her fourth studio album, Side Effects of You.
Produced solely by London native Harmony Samuels, the 13-track offering makes music doubters believe that R&B is yet alive and can re-invent itself.
“I’m doing something different called rock soul. I’m a soul singer. I sing what I go through,” revealed the Grammy Award winner earlier this year. To help carry out her rock soul movement, she pulled soul inspirations from pioneers like Chaka Khan (funk), Tina Turner (rawness) and Millie Jackson (realness).
As the album unfolds and two tracks into the stellar body of work, Fantasia plays tug-of-war with her heart on “Aint All Bad,” as she reflects on giving her all to an old fling but she quickly snaps back into reality and realizes she can do bad all by herself.
“Losing balance, falling down/sleepless nights whenever you’re around/nobody told me, nobody told me/the side effects of you,” sings the ‘rock-soul’ diva on the powerful title track, written by Scottish songbird-songwriter Emeli Sande. The emotional song finds Fantasia facing a love struck aliment due to her past lover, thus left with the side effects of a love story gone bad.
“Lose To Win,” the lead single from the LP is an absolute winner. Wrapped in a four-minute track, the lyrical content not only speaks Fantasia’s truth but the truth of all her fans that have ever made it through any turmoil in their lives. “Sometimes you gotta lose to win again.”
While the album is packed with soul jams, the “Get It Right” singer hasn’t abandoned her hip-hop roots. She teamed up with Mississippi MC, Big K.R.I.T. on the first track on the album, “Supernatural Love.” She also teamed up with long-time collaborator Missy Elliott and “Motivation” singer Kelly Rowland on “Without Me,” which will be the second single.
Overall, Side Effects of You had a consistent flow as far as production and lyrical content. Even though the songwriting themes seemed a bit redundant, those songs are highly personal to singer. She lived those records. Those emotions and messages can not be faked or duplicated by anyone else but Fantasia.
After three years of living her life, raising her children and finding out who she as an artist and woman, Fantasia’s gained a whirlwind of life experiences and Side Effects of You offers a reminder to fans: no matter what heartaches and headaches you endure, you’ll become a stronger person having gone through those hardships.
3 Must Listens: “Lose to Win,” “Get it Right,” and “Change Your Mind”
Hidden Album Gem: “End of Me”
Get your copy of Fantasia’s incredible album Side Effects of You, in stores or iTunes now.