Vivian Green, VGVI | Album Review
R&B singer-songwriter Vivian Green remains consistent and continues to impress on her sixth studio album, ‘VGVI.’
Vivian Green is a fantastic musician. Simply fantastic. Unfortunately, the neo-soul suffers the fate of so many musicians in R&B – underrated-ness. R&B as a whole is in an odd place these days, with a selected few artists ‘excelling’ in the mainstream. Nonetheless, the faithful soldiers march on, regardless of the adversity. Green impressed on her last album, Vivid, released in 2015. She returns strong on her latest effort, VGVI.
“I Don’t Know”
Following intro “Overture,” the good, soulful “Vibes” commence for Green. Clearly, Philly soul is alive and well on this adult contemporary R&B joint. The chorus is the crowning achievement, where the vocals are big, expressive, and authentic. In addition to the chorus, the bridge is alluring, switching things up temporarily. “Promise” keeps the momentum going strong, not to mention keeping the soul alive. Green’s voice remains exceptional, particularly the nuances and cracks. Like “Vibes,” her authenticity never comes in question.
Promo single “I Don’t Know” shines, successfully fusing R&B and reggae, something that works well from some and fails miserably for others. In the case of Vivian Green, she pulls it off exceptionally well. The reggae elements truly help to give “I Don’t Know” its infectiousness. Viv also plays a role in that, delivering emotional, soulful vocals, questioning if she’s in love. Besides the inclusion of reggae itself, the production work helps to take “I Don’t Know” to the next level. Soulful, yet chill, the ear candy is real.
“That’s What Love Can Do”
Following up “I Don’t Know” is quite a challenge, but “That’s What Love Can Do” is up to it. As its title states, Green sings about the effects of love. Like the songs that precede it, Green gives a powerful performance, clearly showcasing her investment into what she’s singing. The production work continues to be old-school with throwback cues, yet slick enough for 2017. Keeping the punches coming, the up-tempo “The 1st Time (Again)” is funky, infectious ear candy. It’s chocked full of soul, top-notch vocals, and marvelous production work. The songwriting isn’t too shabby either.
“Happy with You” is the shortest full-length song from VGVI. It’s 2:40 duration is sufficient to capture her happiness, without others judging or making suggestions. “Just Like Fools (Revisited)” featuring Musiq Soulchild, gives the album one of only two collaborations. The vocals by both Green and Musiq Soulchild are awesome separately. Furthermore, when joining forces, the chemistry is out-of-this-world. Without a doubt, “Just Like Fools (Revisited)” ranks at the top of VGVI.
“Chances” is a bit more ‘out of the box’ than most of VGVI. Arguably, the more traditional records are more well-rounded, but “Chances” is intriguing. Green deserves credit for going beyond the expected. On “Mutual Feelings,” she enlists Charisa the Violindiva, a souljazz violinist and vocalist. “Mutual Feelings” contrasts the up-tempo “Chances,” slackening the pace and finding Green delivering a more expressive, heartfelt performance.
Following the “Supa Dope Fresh Beat Show – Interlude,” sunny penultimate joint “Sunglasses” arrives. It’s as consistent as everything gracing VGVI. What is surprising is when Green busts a rhyme (!). Closer “Stop Sleeping (See the Light)” is by far the most progressive song from VGVI. Less traditional but meaningful, as “Stop Sleeping” progresses, it becomes more endearing. The message is on-point – perfect for times such as these.
All in all, VGVI gives Vivian Green another enjoyable, well-rounded R&B album. She remains consistent, with her voice being her best attribute. Following up “I’m Not Broken” (a personal favorite) and “Get Right Back to My Baby” is a tall task, but VGVI has its own share of hits.
Gems: “Vibes,” “I Don’t Know,” “That’s What Love Can Do,” “The 1st Time (Again)” & “Just Like Fools (Revisited)”
Vivian Green • VGVI • Make Noise • Release: 10.6.17
Photo Credit: Make Noise