Ledisi, “The Truth” (Verve Music Group)
Despite multiple Grammy nominations, being one of Michelle Obama’s faves and having a voice that is among the most beautiful you will hear today, Ledisi still hovers far below the radar of music’s mainstream listeners. Her latest studio album, “The Truth,” probably isn’t going to change that, but it should: It’s a gem that deserves to be heard.
Ledisi’s voice is a multifaceted jewel that gives the album much of its sparkle: She’s bold but never brash, scats without overtrilling and can curl your toes with the bending of a single note. Even when she’s giving someone the emotional heave-ho, as on “Like This,” you’ll be more mesmerized by her performance than the pathos of the situation: If only all relationships could end with a Ledisi soundtrack.
Ledisi co-wrote all but one of the songs on “The Truth,” a rich blend of grown-folks R&B — sensual, soulful and heartfelt, without the oversexualized content, brand placements and ridiculous lyrics. On “88 Boxes,” she sings about the pain of a union ending. The title track is another sweet-sounding song with a bitter message, as Ledisi comes to terms with a love that has long lost its bloom.
But it’s not all sugarcoated gloom. If Ledisi sounds alluring while singing through bitterness, she’s irresistible when she’s doing the wooing, which she does for a good part of the album with songs like the up-tempo “Blame You,” the funky “Rock With You” and “Missy Doubt.” The album’s best moment? “Lose Control,” where she almost outdoes Beyonce with this sultry bedroom romp. It will surely make you do what the song title suggests.