2 For 1: VIBE’s Music Editor Critiques New Albums From Esperanza Spalding and Estelle

Movies & TV

Vibe | February 27, 2012 - 7:50 pm

All blown-up post-Grammy upset, feather-piped singer/bassist Esperanza Spalding looks to recruit mainstream listeners with her vibrant third album. She comes close (the uplifting “Black Gold”), with hip- hop jazzman Q-Tip contributing production and MJ’s “I Can’t Help It” receiving a saxophone-accented facelift. Yet while Radio is better suited for wine-and-cheese soirees, Estelle’s sophomore LP is strictly for lovers. The London songbird plucks funky, upbeat tracks to upgrade her honeyed vocals. Amidst been- there-before odes (the Sade-channeling “Thank You”), scarce raps keep general audiences cheering. — John Kennedy

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