Naturi Naughton

Fame Presents Naturi Naughton as Denise: Didn't I Tell You?

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For her debut solo album, R&B singer Naturi Naughton has been saddled with the ungainly title Fame Presents Naturi Naughton as Denise: Didn't I Tell You?, referencing her appearance in the role of Denise in the 2009 remake of the film Fame, even though the album does not contain soundtrack recordings. (You won't hear her sing "Fame" or "Out Here on My Own" on this disc.) A more accurate super-title would have been Damon Elliott Presents Naturi Naughton as Beyoncé. Elliott is the true architect of the album, and he is not shy about letting people know. He seems to have been going for the Guinness Book of World Records citation for the most times one person's name appears in the packaging of a CD, in this case, 89 times! As producer/composer/engineer/mixer, Elliott has constructed a set of contrived, formulaic R&B dance tracks and love ballads for Naughton to sing over. The only way in which this material seems to have been tailored to Naughton is in the frequent autobiographical references. This is not Naughton singing in the character of Fame's Denise, it is Naughton singing as Naughton, recalling her acrimonious departure from 3LW, the group of which she was a member in her teens, in songs such as "Didn't I Tell You" and "H8AZ," and declaring in "Miss-Behave," "It's been some time/I'm fully grown/The movie screen is my new home." So it is, and Naughton has emerged from her early career debacle to take on more film roles and, here, her own solo recording work. This development would be more welcome if the album were more than just a by-the-numbers run-through of contemporary trends in R&B.

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