...you're unlikely to hear more convincing and soulful pop today from either side of...
Hans Biørn Lian 2004
Released on Parlophone and partly mixed on a desk used by the Beatles, many ingredients were in place to make Beverly Knight's Affirmation a heartfelt production. Indeed, much of the album resonates with Gospel, Quincy Jones and Motown.
The quality of the song writing is generally strong, with only minor glitches of less satisfying material. Its intricate and thoroughly musical arrangements beg to be revelled in and Knight's voice is strong throughout, fitting the accomplished production like a hand in glove. Harmonically Affirmation is more sophisticated than anything else in pop today.
Above all what characterizes Knight's voice is its sincerity. When she tells a story, such as in the sad but incredibly groovy "Salvador" (about AIDS), it makes for compelling listening. After losing her best friend to the disease, music was what brought her back on her feet, so the sadness in Knight's words is hardly simulated.
The guitar riff-driven "Till I See Ya", one of many highlights on Affirmation, is an obvious hit. Also of note, is the fresh and carefree bonus track "Fatal Factor".
Yet, no matter how true she sounds, I can't help but feel Beverly still has more of her voice to give. There's part of her heart which still remains hidden.
All in all Affirmation should help many re-instil their faith in commercial pop. Aside from a few forgettable songs, you're unlikely to hear more convincing and soulful pop today from either side of the Atlantic. Beverly is a treasure, and I suspect she is only going to get better as time goes on.