Phoenix

The Phoenix

4.3 6
by Lyfe Jennings
     
 
What's surprising about Lyfe Jennings' career is that not only does his soulful music recall the freedom the soul genre experienced in the early '70s but how his major label, Sony, gives him that freedom in the rather stilted 21st century. Listening to his sophomore effort, The Phoenix, the question could be raised as to who is responsible for the album's heavy

Overview

What's surprising about Lyfe Jennings' career is that not only does his soulful music recall the freedom the soul genre experienced in the early '70s but how his major label, Sony, gives him that freedom in the rather stilted 21st century. Listening to his sophomore effort, The Phoenix, the question could be raised as to who is responsible for the album's heavy Kanye West and John Legend influence. Legend's emotional, piano-driven style rears its head often and West's elaborate ambition is all over the place, but a couple listens in, it's obvious that Jennings is responsible for all the unique moves and doubtful that Sony told him, "We need you to be our Kanye." The fact Sony gave the man's debut plenty of time to sink in with the public -- they worked it for an eternity by 21st century standards -- is a clue, but the proof is all over The Phoenix, a giant of an album with giant rewards, giant flaws, and grand swoops of unbridled creativity that somehow got Sony's stamp of approval. First off, there's a song-explaining interlude between practically every track, something that wears out its welcome in three listens or so. The interludes that bridge "Goodbye" (excellent and achingly poignant), "Let's Stay Together" (silky smooth), and "Biggie Nigga" (uplifting and fascinating) are especially clumsy, with Lyfe explaining how he faced the "making up is easier than breaking up" conundrum and made the more difficult choice, then made the easier choice, then dumped his lady for another girl who made him feel like the Notorious B.I.G. The chitter-chatter undermines this killer trilogy of songs, but if you want a really strange move, check out how the tougher-than-tough "Slow Down" (with G-Unit member Young Buck) uses the Gilligan's Island theme for its hook. As part of the whole, it works beautifully, as do the outlandish lyrics dropped into "Biggie Nigga" ("I was breast-fed by Godzilla") and "The River" ("I'm cursing the vagina that gave life to me"), since they're surrounded by eye-level views of Lyfe's past and his delivery is always convincing. On top of it all, he pulls off the tricky "sexual abstinence" song ("S.E.X.") without a hitch, throws out enough bold ideas and grand statements for two West records, and his raspy voice is as rich as ever. The Phoenix is a crazy, big, flawed album, but it's a trip, and a riveting one that anyone who loved his debut will want to take.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/15/2006
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0827969640524
catalogNumber:
96405
Rank:
47478

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Lyfe Jennings   Primary Artist,Guitar,Background Vocals
Sanford Allen   Violin,Concert Master
Erik Friedlander   Cello
Antoine Silverman   Violin
Charlie Poole & the North Carolina Ramblers   Violin
Ashley Horne   Violin
Pauline Kim   Violin
Ricardo Ramos   Guitar
Susan Heerema   Violin
Gregg August   Double Bass
Charles "Chuck" Jennings   Vocals
Sandra Billingsly   Violin
Christina Courtin   Violin
Chris Darrington   Vocals
Chance Jennings   Vocals
Phillip Patton   Violin
Larenia Ponce   Violin
Leonardo Suaret Pag   Violin
Zaneta Tiggett   Background Vocals
Lala Brown   Track Performer
Doc Black   Track Performer
Kristina Reiko Cooper   Cello
Dave Eggar   Cello
Jennifer Choi   Violin
Ron Lawrence   Viola

Technical Credits

Bob Belden   String Conductor,Strings Orchestrator
Rich Keller   Producer,Engineer
Roger   Composer
George Wyle   Composer
Chris Woehrle   Logo Design
Sherwood Schwartz   Composer
Jeff Robbins   Management
Joy Bounds   Management
Lyfe Jennings   Producer,String Arrangements
Jeanine McLean Griffin   Management
P.T. Houston   Composer
Heineken Gordan   Engineer

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The Phoenix 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just got this album, OH MY, This man is unreal, his voice is awesome, the words to his songs are awesome, This is music you can really really feel!!! The album cover is off the hook. Him showing his love for God in his songs is just so cool! This is the artist for a long time to come!!! Go get this album and listen to some REAL music!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This ablum is ghetto gospel. Lyfe has done it again with bangin beats and lyrics that make your spirit cry and reminise. I love this artist with everything in me. I hope he continues to make ablums that are sound tracks for real lyfe situations
Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't realize he had another album out until I saw a review in People Mag. I went out and bought it today (without hesitation) because the first album was so good. I ended up skipping the first song after a while - too noisey...I think this album is "just okay." Perhaps it will grow on me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love the cd. Lyfe is talented and has a very good voice. That album with no doubt will go platinum.Songs are all about real life. Good job lyfe it will be # 1.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Once again Lyfe takes listeners on a journey to hear what's going on in his world and as expected, I enjoyed it for the most part. Cons: He does a little bit of rhyming, but it's that simplistic rhyming where a rapper rhymes the FIRST word that makes sense, instead of trying to play around with multisyllabics. I wasn't feeling the guest appearances at all, especially from the people who did them. Lyfe is better off doing a cd alone. Although he did the type of socially conscious song I could see Tupac doing in a heartbeat, I thought Lyfe remaking Tupac's "Keep Ya Head Up" was a huge mistake. His version was mediocre and there's no need to copycat when his unique sound is so outstanding. Pros: This man is so smooth without even trying to be. "Stingy" had more come-on lines than a little bit and all of them were slick. The man said he was jealous of his woman's clothes because they touch her more than he does. I had to grin at that one. I bought his cd solely for "S.E.X." because it's so refreshing for somebody to talk to these young girls who are so quick to give it up just to be in the "in" crowd. Coming from someone like Lyfe, I really do hope they listen. Minus that first loud song at the beginning, I could just let this cd play out while I'm relaxing around the house. It's refreshing for a man to express how he feels about a woman, and NOT in a disrespectful way all the time. I'm burnt out on both sexes complaining with no merit Lyfe actually gives reasons for what he does and doesn't like in his relationships instead of generalizing everybody. I think this dude is working with great potential and I'm very content with his music. Keep it going, Mr. Jennings!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Great CD!!!