The First Lady was one of Faith Evans' strongest albums, not just creatively but commercially. It topped Billboard’s R&B Albums chart, came within one spot of topping the Billboard 200, and won Evans a Soul Train award for best female R&B/soul album. It was her lone release for Capitol, and this, her fifth proper studio album, is her first for the independent E One label. Several past collaborators, including Chucky Thompson, Brad Todd, and Carvin & Ivan are on-board, as are Mike City and Salaam Remi. Even so, this round of songs is merely decent -- pleasant but not penetrating -- and does not pack the lasting value boasted by Evans' most recent work. While the album is nearly an hour in length, the number of references to past recordings, combined with a carousel full of guest artists (including Snoop Dogg, Redman, Keyshia Cole, Raekwon, and Kelly Price) suggests a shortage of fresh ideas. There are a few standouts, including the disco throwback “Party,” the Toni Braxton-worthy breakup ballad (albeit with heavier bottom) “Gone Already,” and the midtempo boogie track “Sunshine” (which carries a subtle, smooth groove touch resembling that of Michael Wycoff's “Looking Up to You”).
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AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman