Syleena Johnson is one of the bonafide soul singers of our generation and a true R&B Diva that has maintained a penchant for great music since the late 90s. Her musical diary in the form of her Chapter releases have been stacked with hit songs since the original Chapter 1: Love, Pain & Forgiveness was released in 2001. Now with a new label, Blakbyrd Music, Syleena releases her sixth installment of the series, the true to life Chapter 6: Couple’s Therapy. While she has grown in her years and through her experiences, the quality of music remains grand. An overall review just wouldn’t do here, so we decided to deliver a track by track review of Syleena Johnson’s Couple’s Therapy.
PARL… Kinda Great
All This Way For Love
Reminiscent of R&B hits of the 90’s, Johnson starts the album off with a drum heavy, upbeat sad love song. One of many songs produced by Kris “Kajun” Johnson, it’s obvious from the start that the two have great chemistry. The song fits perfectly with the couple’s therapy theme as Johnson examines how her search for love comes up empty.
Fool’s Gold featuring Leela James
A music lover’s favorite, “Fool’s Gold” matches Syleena with fellow R&B Diva, Leela James. This isn’t the Diva pairing you’d expect to make the project, but the two voices blend seamlessly in this tale of betrayal by a mate. Their strong voices aren’t wasted on a sob story however, they’ve moved on from the loser by the end of the song.
Heaven & Hell
Track three finds Syleena swooning through complex lyrics and an intricate beat. A hard task for many of today’s singers, Johnson does it effortlessly. The complexities of the track create a perfect metaphor for love, albeit a complicated love that “feels just like heaven and hell.” Here Syleena takes things up a notch on an already pleasant album.
The album’s first true ballad, “My Love” speaks passionately to the listener and probably to someone in particular. On the hook she belts, “I’ve had more than enough reasons to say goodbye now,
If I haven’t left you by now,
just know my love,
don’t quit when the road gets tough.”
When quitting isn’t an option, Couple’s Therapy offers solutions. In this case, the album offers gems to couples who may be looking for an easy way out.
If I Was Your World
It might suffice to say that this my shit… But that probably wouldn’t convey just how great this record is. Easily, even as an album cut if this was a Beyoncé record it would be the Women’s anthem of the year. Nonetheless, Syleena can strike a chord in listeners with this one.
Harmony featuring Dave Hollister
The album takes a moment to reset here. Johnson partners with one of the respected males in R&B with this slow love song. I like the combination but I’m not in love with the final product here, though the chorus lyrically seems to hit all the right spots. It helps set the stage for what’s to come though.
No Beginners featuring Willie Taylor
If “Harmony,” is foreplay, than “No Beginners” goes straight for the climax. Willie joins Syleena for a grown and sexy erotic voyage that as the title suggests isn’t for amateurs. Their dynamic makes for a pleasant ride on the sultry beat. The Chicago natives make it sound like they’ve been working with each other for years. This is another one of the projects stand out records.
Syleena continues the grown and sexy portion of Couple’s Therapy with the subtle bass influence of “Boom.” Wonderfully produced the song offers a classic Syleena song: racy, sexy and adult, but not necessarily explicit. Tracks like this are why women love her and men are turned on by her. Lay back, close your eyes and enjoy.
If U Need To Know
Syleena can even make the album cuts sound like hits. She does just that here with track nine. It probably won’t be a memorable record for most listeners but her voice carries the song.
The album’s first single, “Perfectly Worthless” illustrates the point of the relationship where it appears that all hope is gone. The accompanying video is actually an explosive look at what oftentimes happens in similar situations. The song is a great listen but unfortunately for too many people in relationships it is probably all too real.
This track pretty much sums the entire album. It’s simple, but yet so deep and meaningful. Anyone that’s been in a rocky relationship can relate to that silence. “There’s so much noise in this silence,” she begins, but the fight is what this song is about. Overcoming the adversity that is the silence seems so much more possible when Ms. Johnson is gliding along the track.
A perfect song to help close the album, “Unstoppable” finds Syleena at a point where she is willing to do whatever it takes to make love work. It’s an intense track and the Hip-Hop infused beat provides a perfect balance.
I Cut My Hair
Those who might not be familiar with Johnson may mistake this album for a very Sasha Fierce type Beyoncé album because of tracks like this one. In fact, this is what Syleena has made a career of for over a decade. Songs like “I Am Your Woman” and “I Believe In Love” are small examples of just how heartfelt and honest her music is. There’s no filter when she sings, yet its so effortless that you wonder if its anything more than her version of personal therapy to put the words to melody. “I Cut My Hair” is just another example of her braving her soul, delivering for many women in a way they wish they could for themselves. And she makes it sound so good when she does it.
Couple’s Therapy may be the best in Syleena’s chapter series since Chapter 3: The Flesh. It’s a great listen and one of the best R&B albums of the year.
Chapter 6: Couple’s Therapy receives a PARL