Back in 2002 Amerie quietly came onto the music scene with her debut album All I Have. But after releasing her sophomore album Touch in 2005 which spawned her only major Pop hit single “1 Thing,” she still has failed to make any lasting chart impressions. After parting ways with Columbia Records, Amerie’s fourth studio album entitled In Love & War was released via her new recording home Def Jam on November 3rd.
The initial first single “Why R U?” attempted to bring Amerie fans back to her debut album sound. With an old school Hip Hop beat, you want to feel like your hearing the magic Amerie and her past producer Rich Harrison created, but the vibe isn’t the same. The song didn’t make much of an impact and became listed as buzz single to promote the album.
“Heard ‘Em All,” definitely brings up the tempo. The drum heavy based track definitely has a crossover vibe intended and meant not only for R&B radio but Pop radio and dance/club airplay. Although Amerie sets the songs tone perfectly alone, the official remix adds an unnecessary verse by current hot rapper Lil’ Wayne, which is a bonus track.
Trey Songz marks one of two features on the albums third single (second official). “Pretty Brown,” blends Amerie and Songz vocals together beautifully. The duet puts a modern spin on the 90s Mint Condition classic “Breakin’ My Heart (Pretty Brown Eyes),” with new lyrics and a more up tempo feel.
Amerie definitely gains her “Swag Back” on In Love & War. The Jim Jonsin (“Whatever You Like,” “Lollipop”) produced track features Amerie speaking of how she is finally over a past relationship and ready for a new start, as she declares, “My head is clear, I’m soul surviving. Cause you’re not here, but I’m not crying, no. I finally got my swag back.”
On “Higher” Amerie introduces a soulful rock edge while on “Dangerous,” she revisits a more familiar retro dance/funk sound. Majority of the album is filled with ballads mid tempos which help to make In Love & War have more of a throwback (to various decades) R&B feel, that hardcore R&B fans will love.
In Love & War compares similarly to other Amerie albums. The album has a selection of great songs, mixed in with some tracks that will grow on the listeners’ ear. If Def Jam decides to give In Love & War the correct promo and exposure, Amerie may be able to gain some more hit singles and credibility. Although if the expected happens, Amerie may continue to be one of the decades underrated female R&B singers.