The Definition of is the fifth studio album released by American Idol singer Fantasia. Following up from her appearance on the broadway ‘After Midnight’ she teamed up with producers Harmony Samuels, GRADES, Ron Fair, Neff-U, J-Roc and Brain Kennedy to release this grand and beautiful album. The Definition of shows Fantasia trying out new genres showing her new found confidence and peace within herself.
The album opens up with ‘Crazy’ which steps away from her r’n’b roots and into some funk rock. She sings that her partner whether that be romantic or you the listener needs to have some sort of wild side to join her along her endeavours. Her lyrics essentially say that she has ‘got the juice’ which is a bold statement but a significant one as it marks her new beginning and her definition of confidence.
‘No time’ is the expected track whenever an album marks new beginnings; her she sings that she has no time for any type of criticism as her “eyes are on the money”. Not only is she moving on with life, she is focussed whilst doing so. Yet unlike other similar tracks, the jabs weren’t heavy as her lyrics conveyed indifference rather than frustration which was a nice change.
Despite the album trying different routes, songs about love were still the main-stay in Fantasia’s typical fashion (or any artist for that matter). ‘So Blue’ is song about her cheating which was an interesting change. Fantasia sings about her regret over her impulsive actions yet the retribution was necessary- as her romantic interest also cheated on her. Although she does sing “two wrongs do not make a right” it is nice to see the soft-spoken singer standing up for herself and making her feelings known despite how the bad or good the consequences are. ‘When I met you’ was my favourite as it wasn’t a love song I’ve ever heard before and that was very refreshing. Her song sings to her new partner about her ex and the lessons she learnt about herself from the past relationship. Although she refers to the ex, its focus remains on herself and her growth which is most important and most refreshing. Songs like these tend to bash their ex, but she chooses a different route and instead learns her lessons without a heavy heart. ‘Sleeping with the one I love’ production was one which paid homage to her idols such as Nina simone, Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James. Her raspy soulful integrated perfectly with production, creating one of her most sultry records to date. She sings about cheating but this time emotionally as to physically, which was interesting to note. Torn between 2 men she ends up finding her heart with one but her mind with another and her final decision is still unknown.
Other than rock, Fantasia tried her hand in country with the track ‘Ugly’; and again Fantasia’s storytelling breaks away from the stereotypical. She sings about a small-town girl who came from a broken home but landed on her feet with a wealthy husband living the upper class lifestyle. Yet that doesn’t heal her wounds and Fantasia looks on in pity as she rather forgo the pretence and live the ‘real life’ with food that nourishes her. ‘Ugly’ seems talk about a decision Fantasia made not to take such opportunity and still maintain strong connections to her small town country roots. And seeing how unfulfilling it is,you too along with Fantasia are glad that she chose a different path. ‘Lonely Legend’ is another soul rock song reminiscent of Tina Turner which follows on the sentiments from ‘Ugly’, talking about a sexy yet lonely legend.
Then we have ‘Rollercoaster’ and ‘I made it’; ‘Rollercoaster’ features Aloe Blacc and she sings about being overwhelmed in this journey she calls life. Fantasia talks about getting off the ride and Aloe advices us to keep our composure which could be hinting at Fantasia failed suicide attempt in 2010. Yet Aloe sings “ Don’t forget to throw your hand sup high and scream like you’re supposed to” telling us to accept the highs and the lows and it normalcy in life but nevertheless keep your cool and “don’t drown”. The album ends with a gospel song ‘I made it’ featuring Tye Tribbett. Through her hardships of rape, being functionally illiterate, being involved in a messy public relationship and break up, being a teen mother and attempting suicide, Fantasia stands strong and gives gratitude to God. The song is upbeat as she has no regrets or ill feeling most likely because this hardships have helped bring the success she has today.
The Definition of is an outstanding album, in which the production was sophisticated and well paced considering its Broadway, rock, country, soul, r’n’b and gospel influences; setting up the stage and her lyrics charmingly telling the story of how she, a small town girl, made it big
By Adaobi Nezianya