I’ll be the first to admit, I was a little worried about Tamar Braxton’s new album. The set up for Love And War was executed with such precision, I expected that same treatment where Calling All Lovers was concerned, but that was clearly not the case with this album. The date was pushed back twice, the first single, Let Me Know, was lukewarm, and the release didn’t coincide with the premiere of WeTV’s Tamar & Vince. This Tamartian was concerned to say the least. Calling All Lovers was finally released on October 2. Upon first listen after purchasing it on iTunes at midnight. I was not really feeling it. That could be because I was tired and also because I wasn’t in my car. There is something about listening to music in the car that makes all the difference. So the next morning on my daily commute to work I turned on the album, and found a whole new appreciation for the album.
Calling All Lovers is vastly different from Love And War, if you go in expecting the same sound you heard on the last album you will be disappointed. While I am not a fan of artists completely abandoning their original formula, I am all for a little exploration and growth,this album is just that. The album open with Angels and Demons, which is Tamar’s failed attempt at reggae. I am not a fan of this song, but I think it is remix ready. I could hear Rihanna on the remix of this song. I liked the video treatment it kind of helped it out for me. Catfish samples the classic SMV song Right Here(Human Nature Remix) which sample Micheal Jackson’s Human Nature. I don’t hate the song, but the lyrical content isn’t up to par, but this song is remix ready. It would really be a hot collaboration if SMV hopped on the remix. Simple Things is a throwback to old school R&B, think Catching Hell(Living Here Alone) by Auntie Natalie Cole. I love this song, this is where the album starts for me. Broken Record is slow song on which Tamar sings about her heart going around and around like a broken record, she delivers like only she can on this song! I love the lyrical content and the vocal production. The album tells somewhat of story of how things go in relationships.
On Never, we find Tamar is fed up with her man,after having her heart going around like a broken record. On this slow song she proclaims that he will never kiss her lips again. I like this song the vocals are crisp and strong. After proclaiming her man will never kiss her lips again some self reflection is necessary. On Circles, a slow song, Tamar is tired of going around in circles with her relationship, you can hear the hurt in her voice. I didn’t like this song at first, but after listening again I love it. If I Don’t Have You is a power ballad on which Tamar sings for her life. She shines on this one and I loved it from the moment I heard it. Raise The Bar is the standout song from the album. The song is reminiscent of Bey’s Rocket but Tamar gives it her own personal touch with immaculate vocals and harmonies that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. This is my favorite song off the album hands down!
I Love You is just ok for me, I don’t hate it but I don’t feel the urge to put it on repeat either Makin’ Love isn’t a favorite of mine, I could have gone without this song. Love It is uptempo and a favorite of mine, it’s actually not long enough. It went off just when I was getting into the groove, I wish it could have been longer. Must Be Good To picks up where the previous song left off and keeps us grooving. This is definitely treadmill worthy and another favorite of mine.
Free Fallin’ is another power ballad with crossover written all over it. Tamar showcase her whistle register on this beautiful song. I love the song and I could hear it on a pop station. King, is another ballad, which is clearly about Tamar’s husband Vince. I didn’t like this song when she performed it live on The Real, but the album version sounds better to me. I could see this one crossing over as well. S.O.N(Sex Over Nonsense) is a THOT song(Tamar’s words not mine) I don’t hate it but it really could have been left off. Coming Home closes out the album, and I am still on the fence about this one I don’t hate it but I don’t entirely love it either.
Calling All Lovers is most definitely different from Love And War, but it’s not so different that you feel left behind. If you are a true Tamartian or R&B lovers you will enjoy this album. I totally get the direction of this album. Tamar is trying to expand her audience, because pop locking it and dropping it can only work for so long. This album is a step in the right direction sans a few missteps early on the album. She is slowly but surely stepping out of big sister Toni’s shadow and coming into her own as an artist. This album is definitely worth listening to. I am looking forward to seeing how this will translate live.
Final Rating: 3.75/5
Whut say you?