Faves & Least Faves: Fantasia
Column Faves & Least Faves objectively and subjectively examines the best (favorite) songs and the worst (least favorite) songs from a musician’s discography.
Fantasia – one of the most underappreciated contemporary R&B musicians! Fantasia won American Idol back in 2004, with her distinct, gritty, and soulful set of pipes, not to mention her big personality. Since winning in 2004, Fantasia has released five albums, including her most recent, The Definition of. Examining all five albums of her albums, here’s the best and the worst song(s) from each album.
1. Free Yourself (2004)
- Faves: “Free Yourself” & “I Believe”
- Least Faves: “This Is Me”
“Free Yourself” and “I Believe” are the two best songs from Free Yourself. “I Believe” was the gospel-infused gem that won Fantasia idol. “Free Yourself” represented her burgeoning artistry as a mature, adult contemporary R&B song. “This is Me” isn’t a bad song, but it arrives near the end of the album between the fun “Don’t Act Right” (not a hit itself, but again fun) and “I Believe.”
2. Fantasia (2006)
- Faves: “When I See U”
- Least Faves: “Sunshine”
If there were two equal picks for Fantasia, “Hood Boy” would be the second choice. Unfortunately for “Hood Boy,” “When I See U” is the gem, truly helping to keep Fantasia commercially afloat. Simple yet beautiful, “When I See U” shows off Fantasia’s impressive pipes while also showcasing her softer, gentler side. As for “Sunshine,” it suffers a similar fate to “This Is Me” from Free Yourself. It’s not horrid, but it’s forgettable slated in between the energetic “Bore Me (Yawn)” and the more reflective, relevant “Bump What Your Friends Say.”
3. Back to Me (2010)
- Faves: “Bittersweet”
- Least Faves: “Falling in Love”
Back to Me ranks as one of (if not) Fantasia’s best albums. The crème de la crème is clearly “Bittersweet,” which earned Fantasia her first and only Grammy to date. “Bittersweet” is awesome because it channels old school, an area that Fantasia excels in. The weakest song from Back to Me isn’t really weak but is forgettable compared to the rest. That is “Falling in Love.” It’s respectable, but wouldn’t make Fantasia’s greatest hits.
4. Side Effects of You (2013)
- Faves: “Without Me”
- Least Faves: “If I Was a Bird”
All Music considers Side Effects of You to be Fantasia’s best album. That’s arguable, but Side Effects of You has some exceptional moments from the underappreciated R&B musician. The best moment is her collaboration with Kelly Rowland and Missy Elliott on “Without Me.” Compared to the previous picks, this one is the “odd man out” because it isn’t a big, adult contemporary ballad. The song is a perfect urban record chocked full of girl-power and makes you wonder, hmm, what if Fantasia had dropped a record like this before.
Least favorites were debatable on Side Effects of You. For example, lead single “Lose to Win” was among my least favorite singles from Fantasia. It was a grower but still doesn’t represent her at her best, thanks a lot to the prominent Commodores sample. But, “If I Was A Bird” gets the nod here. Perhaps it’s too simplistic.
5. The Definition of (2016)
- Faves: “Sleeping With the One I Love”
- Least Faves: “Crazy” or “Lonely Legend”
Ah, fresh meat! The Definition of arrived on July 29, 2016. It is by far Fantasia’s most eclectic album – both a good and a bad thing. Regardless, picking between the favorites and least favorites is simple. “Sleeping With the One I Love” is by far the best – no questions asked. It’s not often that an R. Kelly track (for another artist) isn’t the best. The weakest? Debatable, but opener “Crazy” is clunky while “Lonely Legend” feels close, if a wee bit undercooked.