Album Review: “BraveHeart” by Ashanti

Release date: March 4th 2014

Label: Written Entertainment

Purchase: Amazon | iTunes

I‘m going to get right into this review because like most, I’ve waited long enough for another Ashanti album. Did she deliver and satisfy the wait? Let’s find out.

Love the intro and that feeling of empowerment. I like the sound of soldiers marching, drums pounding, every effect of going to war. Poetry in any form always appeals to me so this one soars. However, when the actual album title kicked it, my mind sort of drifted. I wasn’t feeling it as much as I’d like to. It’s not a bad song. I mean the energy is there and so is that spunk we like in Ashanti music, but the track Braveheart just isn’t one of my favorites.

Where the opening song failed to grab me, No Where delivers just right. Those opening harmonies pulled me into the upbeat love song. Love the hook and how real she keeps the lyrics. It’s a nice song for couples and the musical arrangement keeps it groovy enough for clubs too. Can’t rave about this song without mentioning the fade out to the end; lovely and sensual vocals there.

The dramatic strings that kick off Runaway really sets the mood. This track steers away from the previous where she emphasizes on her commitment to stay with the guy. Now she’s saying she can’t take it anymore so she’s considering leaving him. Not sure about the abrupt transition, but the relationship does make for one that’s up and down if that’s the direction the singer’s going for then it works I guess. Regardless, Runaway is a great song; nicely arranged, in terms of harmonies and sound, and definitely a catchy number even if its a bittersweet song.

Count is for those partygoers who love a good bouncy track to blast through their stereos. It’s fun, upbeat, and cocky as they come. I like how the singer sways from the troubles of her relationship into having fun a bit with the talks of hustling and living it up. It’s a refreshing switch indeed.

Early in the Morning is my favorite so far. I’m not really familiar with French Montana’s solo efforts, but I like how there’s a Future musical flow going on in this track. The song slows down from the previous tempos and pulls it back to a more seductive tone. Ashanti’s opening vocals almost had me believing Aaliyah had resurrected, because the harmonies sounded similar. Still, its a smooth and intimate song to provide soundtrack for you and your other.Β 

3 Words has the potential to be really great. But it sounds very familiar, not very original. The vocal effects during the hook kind of threw me off too. It’s a sexy song, but I find the singer’s trying too hard on this one. It’s not as effortless as it could be.Β 

What the previous lacks, Love Games makes up for. I like the appearance of Jeremih on this number because it adds a male perspective on the concept of intimacy coming forth. I believe this song has single potential and can help with the promotion of the album. It has this flare that will attract listeners of contemporary r&b, and those simply looking for music not rushed or empty. The song’s all about love and sensuality, and in this number, the singers are on point with their parts and the melodies flow smoothly.

The album transitions back to the bitter part of relationships. Scars tells the story of heartbreak and regret. The singer wishes she hadn’t spent so much time trying to fix something unfixable. On a side note, she pushes forward and tries to pick up after all the hurt. Still, there are scars on her heart she’ll need a long time to recover from. It’s a sad song with an uptempo beat, making it sound more like fighting instead of wallowing in pain. Good number. I like the spoken words towards the end of the song. This woman has something passionate to say, and needs to be listened to more.

Never Should Have is what pulled me back to Ashanti’s music because I hadn’t been listening to the singles before that one in preparation of Braveheart’s release. Never Should Have has really deep and intense lyrics that are painfully real. I absolutely love this song and all it represents. The singer soars in vocals and emotion, and I feel every single thing she’s going through with every note. This is a beautiful song about heartbreak that never gets old. I’ve been listening to this one every day since its release. No lie.

Women know they always sing these types of songs and say these things, that She Can’t love him the way you did. It’s so realistic and common in society. Whenever a relationship ends and we end up hurt, its like a broken record to say we’re the one that got away and compare ourselves to everything the new girl is not. She Can’t is that song. It speaks the truth, as most of the songs on this record. This is another single contender in my opinion. It’s cocky, entertaining, appealing, and catchy. I think it’ll do well among Ashanti fans.

At first when Don’t Tell Me No opened up, I thought it was going to be some dance/techno song and I felt a bit floored because I don’t know the singer for that kind of music. But this track is far from that. And while I do like it, I don’t love it. It doesn’t grab me that much. It is a song of good quality, there’s something not grabbing me though. Once again I don’t think the transition is right because in the previous she’s kind of telling him off, and even before that she’s saying he shouldn’t have led her to believe he loved her. Now, she’s saying he shouldn’t let her go or end the relationship. I’m going to assume there’s not really a path being followed here and songs were aligned based on how the production team felt they should be placed, because there isn’t really a set story going steady throughout.Β 

I was not a fan of the single I Got It when I first heard it. It doesn’t stay with me and I forget the instant it ends. Actually, to be very honest, I have to force myself to listen till the end because it sounds like too much going on. The viral doesn’t do much for me either, because it looks like she’s trying too hard. While I think its okay to have fun and get cocky with it sometimes, I feel in this day and age, Ashanti doesn’t need to act raunchy and sing empty tracks. She’s a talented lady, and I feel singing about her accolades and how fly she is isn’t fresh or original. I love hearing songs with more substance from her.

Ashanti takes it down to the islands with Dancehall legend, Beenie Man. First Real Love is a sweet treat to reggae lovers because its a remake of a classic everyone loves. It doesn’t sound like a duet or a track for the singer’s album though. I feel Beenie Man overpowers her on the song for the most part, while Ashanti picks it up and sails on the bridge. Nice way to wrap up the album.

Overall, Ashanti’s fifth attempt receives a satisfactory grade. It wasn’t great to the point where every single track had something spectacular to offer, but there are some wonderful gems there. I feel the production on some was lacking, and there were instances the lyrics could have been more in depth. However, it’s nice having Ashanti back on the scene with new music and I think Braveheart is good enough to keep us entertained until the next. Hopefully it won’t take as long as it did last time.

Rating: 3/5


Track Listing:

01. Intro/Braveheart

02. No Where

03. Runaway

04. Count

05. Early in the Morning ft. French Montana

06. 3 Words

07. Love Games ft. Jeremih

08. Scars

09. Never Should Have

10. She Can’t

11. Don’t Tell Me No

12. I Got it. ft. Rick Ross

13. First Real Love ft. Beenie Man


Credits: Ashanti facebook


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