October 9, 2008

Jennifer Hudson: Self-Titled

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Since winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in Dreamgirls, American Idol alumna Jennifer Hudson has spent nearly two years crafting her eponymous debut album. The final product is one that is as much of a vocal triumph for Hudson as it is an inconsistent hodgepodge of musical directions. From gritty urban soul to syrupy adult contemporary pop, Hudson tries to please every audience, an ambition exacerbated by the 11 different producers hired to helm the album’s 13 songs. At times the record gleams brilliantly, as with the sprightly lead single “Spotlight,” the punchy, Danja-produced “Pocketbook” and the Fantasia-assisted “I’m His Only Woman.” However, other moments are unremarkable, particularly on the hackneyed ballad “You Pulled Me Through” and the clumsy T-Pain duet “What’s Wrong (Go Away),” which distractingly pairs Hudson’s powerhouse vocals with T-Pain’s obnoxious vocoder. The one consistency in Hudson’s debut is her vocal prowess, which is as mighty and triumphant as her Oscar winning performance would suggest. Although Hudson’s debut isn’t perfect, its numerous highlights suggest there is still potential for Hudson to deliver a record more reflective of her colossal talents.