Released: Sep 2008
A nagging question plagues Jennifer Hudson's debut: Can an old-school belter still be relevant in the age of minimalist vocals and mechanized dance beats? The answer is yes. And no. Robotic R&B attempts like "If This Isn't Love" lack the dark sensuality that fleshes out Rihanna's hits, but big-voiced ballads like "Giving Myself" also feel flat (not to mention a little too Whitney circa 1992). Hudson's at her best when she works a little of the fierce attitude that makes "And I Am ..." so phenomenal, whether it's couched in hip-hop sass ("Pocketbook") or gospel-fueled drama ("We Gon' Fight").