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Tamar Braxton 

Bluebird Of Happiness

Two years after Calling All Lovers, Tamar Braxton unleashes Bluebird of Happiness, her fifth and reportedly final album.
Yo Gotti is the sole guest on the 11-track set, appearing on “Hol’ Up.” Executive produced by Braxton, Vincent Herbert, and Rodney Jerkins, Happiness also includes the singles “My Man”and “Blind.”
Back in June, the R&B songstress told Rap-Up that this album would be a combination of past works. “It’s almost like Love and War and Calling All Lovers got together and had a baby,” she said, before calling it her “best work yet.”
Speaking with Wendy Williams this week, Tamar said that the album has taken her on a journey for joy. “On my quest for happiness, I had to get in tune with my spirit,” she said. “I felt so broken, so lost, and confused about everything. [I still feel that way] somedays, but I’m a lot better than I was.”
During the interview, Braxton confirmed that this will be her last album, but said that she will not quit making music. “I have to take a step back and figure out what is working and what is not working,” she added.

Marvin Sapp


Listeners cannot listen to a Sapp project, such as Close – his latest – without acknowledging that here is at least one artist who we know needed God to heal him from the kind of unbearable pain that he sings about in the mid-tempo G-funk number “Carried Me.” “Carried Me,” like many of the cuts on Close, feature the elements that make the artist’s songs suitable for praise and worship congregational singing and for choirs – hooks that carry a message that resonates and are quickly remembered by congregates, and call and response that allow a lead singer to engage in a conversation with a choir.

This is a rangy project that encompasses cuts like “Kind God” and “Light the Way.” The former begins with Sapp adding his vocal to a sparse arrangement featuring piano and acoustic guitar on a song that reminds us that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is an act of kindness. He layers on keyboards, percussion and backing vocals as “Kind God” reaches a crescendo. The bouncy, percussive funk of “Light the Way” has a 1980s-synthesized infused funk vibe and a message to depend on God to provide light in those dark times, and R&B styled backing vocals that will put Commissioned fans in a sentimental mood.

Consistent is a word that can be used to describe Marvin Sapp. He’s continued to release music since his self-titled debut, and on Close he continues to encourage listeners to look to the hills for their help. Recommended.


By Howard Dukes