Algebra Blessett, Recovery | Album Review
R&B has cooled considerably in recent times. When Beyoncé shocked the world in December 2013 with her surprise fifth LP, she gave the entire genre a much-needed pick-me-up. Until Beyoncé, no other R&B album had been certified platinum in 2013. In 2014, who knows what the struggles face the ailing genre, which has plenty of talented, often under-recognized musicians to keep it breathing. Among those is Algebra Blessett, who returns with her sophomore album, Recovery.
Recovery is Blessett’s second album, but one has to go back to 2008 to find her debut, Purpose. Recovery is a reintroduction. Recovery soundly accomplishes reintroducing Algebra, delivering an effort detailing the ups and downs of recovering from a broken heart.
“Exordium To Recovery (Give My Heart A Chance)” opens Recovery with a soulful interlude, setting the tone of the album. Segueing from the intro, “Recovery” finds the singer reflecting on past love pains. Despite the hardships, Algebra is optimistic on the refrain:
“I won’t lie, it’s not easy / it was harder than you think / the road back to recovery / I say it’s time to prepare / for love is out there / on my road to recovery.”
Exceptionally produced, “Recovery” is an exceptional starting point.
“Right Next To You” has a tough act to follow, but it’s none too shabby. Here, Algebra longs to be right there with her man, literally. It’s the typical love song of yearning and desire. Even if the theme has been played out over and over, it’s hard to get tired of love, right? On “Nobody But
You”, Algebra’s vocals are clear as a bell and incredibly nuanced. The groove is soulful, yet contemporary at the same time. Algebra’s swagger and personality truly make “Nobody But You” a well-rounded winner. The fat bass line doesn’t hurt the cause either.
“Struggle To Be”, a duet with Q. Parker (of 112) is another winning moment, lush in its production and the richness of the vocals on both ends. The backing vocals are a nice touch, further augmenting the plushness about this cut. The theme is all about struggling to be a “good girl”/ “good man” to each other. It’s definitely no struggle to listen to.
In another interlude (“Augment To Recovery (Give My Heart A Chance)”), continues reflect upon her recovery from her badly broken heart. Here, Algebra’s goal is to make her recovery greater. She follows her recovery augmentation with “Forever”, a cut where Algebra plans to “love [him] forever.” Although in a minor key, Algebra’s dedication is incredibly impassioned and legit. On follow-up “Writer’s Block”, the track opens with Algebra struggling to find the write words – intact with crumbled paper sound effects. Eventually, she arrives at the “right words” contextually, despite her ‘writer’s block’.
On “Paper Heart”, Algebra’s heart has been broken, yet she seems to want the same person who did the breaking to also repair it:
“And I became your paper heart / to get scribbled on and ripped and torn from your love … it’s more than I can handle, I’m fragile / so take care of my paper heart”.
A second interpretation is that Algebra anticipates the results of a newfound love foreseeing similar results to a disappointing relationship in the past. Regardless, the lyrics seem to find the ‘recovery’ to be in very much in question:
“Baby boil me up and shoot for three / if you make the shot, say you’ll come back to me”.
“Paper Heart” may have a mixed perception in regards to love, but it yields no such reception in the context of Recovery itself; it’s a brilliant showing.
“Danger Zone” continues to depict the scary aspects of love; essentially it is a ‘risk for reward’ type of situation. It’s not unlike the tenor of the entirety of the effort where Algebra is torn between the fear of a repeat of the ills versus atonement with a true, dedicated love. Like everything else,
“Danger Zone” is thoughtfully composed, well performed, and well produced.
“Mystery” proceeds, with Algebra still very guarded about the rededication of her to a new relationship. The narrative is genuine and realistic, the production throwback (neo-soul/adult contemporary R&B mix), and Algebra’s voice fantastic.“Another Heartache” tugs at the heartstrings, with the torture of love gone amiss. “Better For Me” reflects on the past – what was and could’ve been. She arrives at the conclusion it’s better to move on. Closer “I’ll Be Ok” finds Algebra bruised, but she takes the high road.
All in all, Recovery is a fine R&B album; classy and cool. Algebra never over sings, always giving the right amount of oomph. Recovery isn’t flashy and doesn’t need to be. It is a relatable narrative.
Gems: “Recovery” “Nobody But You,” “Struggle To Be” ft. Q Parker, “Paper Heart” & “Mystery”