Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sunshine Anderson has a new album out today. The Sun Shines Again is her third and it pretty much conveys what her life's been like since she released her last album nearly four years ago.

Sunshine grew up in Charlotte and graduated from North Carolina Central University before eventually hooking up with another Charlotte native, music exec/producer Mike City, and seeing her career as an R&B singer take off (she was managed by Macy Gray). Most people remember her from her 2001 debut album, Your Woman, which spawned the hit single "Heard It All Before," on its way to selling more than 750,000 copies.

She seem destined to be a part of that new breed of soul singers who were bubbling around the new millennium. But her second album, which took more than five years to come out, didn't register on most people's radars. So Sunshine began focusing on her family life--getting married and having a kid. Unfortunately, her marriage hasn't worked out and three years into it she's going through a divorce.

But her failed marriage has spawned an entire album. The Sun Shines Again is all about cheating/lying men, bad breakups, rediscovering yourself, and trying to trust and love again. While it might be a reflection of Sunshine's personal experiences, I'm sure it will resonate with many women.

I was given an advance copy of her new CD a couple of weeks ago, and I've listened to it all the way through about four or five times. I would usually play it while I was driving somewhere, which is the best way I get a feel for music.

The Sun Shines Again isn't like most R&B albums these days. At 10 songs and 38 minutes long it's a little on the short side, but Sunshine is giving you all of her--no collaborations with other singers or guest appearances by rappers. Just pure soul music.

The first half of the album is the strongest. The first song, "Say Something," is uptempo and flirtatious, as she sings about a guy that she knows wants to "come over and talk" to her and needs to "stop your fronting." The third track, "2nd Fiddle," has a slow, infectious beat where she proclaims that she "won't be playing second fiddle to anyone" after an apparent cheating lover. This is where the album begins its dark, heartbroken streak.

Next up is "Lie To Kick It," which is the first single from the album. It's reminiscent of an Xscape song, using the lie-to-kick-it line that's popular among urban vernacular, made famous several years ago in the movie Friday. Sunshine confronts a man she's discovered has been lying to her. Her soulful voice shines.

With the fifth song, "Life Back," I'm already predicting it to be an anthem for any woman who's gone through a break up or divorce and is trying to rediscover herself. It's an emotional and empowering song, and the chant in the chorus, "I want my life back," is simple yet powerful. And strangely enough, I can see club DJs putting a dance beat behind this and ladies throwing their hands in the air, as they shout they want their life back.

The next few songs don't stand out much to me, but things turn the corner with track nine. "Nervous" finds Sunshine sort of hopeful and possibly believing in love again. She's excited about a new guy; nervous in fact. Singing that she can't sleep as she eagerly anticipates their date. But she still has trust issues as she asks that he "please be good to me."

Overall, I think The Sun Shines Again is a good album. The songwriting is solid--some co-written by Sunshine and many written by Mike City, who helmed much of her first album (and he has also written and produced songs for Brandy, Carl Thomas, Usher, Faith Evans, and many more). I think this album is intended for a very specific audience: a woman who just wants to love and be loved by a man who's faithful. And because of this, that specific audience is extremely large.

The Sun Shines Again is available in music stores as well as Amazon and iTunes (comes with bonus track). Keep up with Sunshine by visiting www.sunshineanderson.com, where you can also listen to songs from the album.


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