Thank You

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The music industry isn't exactly known for its patience. A flop single, an underperforming album, or a lackluster comeback is sometimes all it takes for an artist to be dropped and never heard from again. Birmingham-born Jamelia has had all three during her short four-year career (three of her seven singles have failed to reach the U.K. Top 30 and debut album Drama sank without a trace), and yet somehow she's still here. The faith invested in her by her record company is admirable in this fickle day and age, but with her second album, Thank You, it's been totally justified. Taking two years off to raise her daughter, the MOBO Award winner has obviously used the time well, raising her game to produce a record bursting with potential singles. While partly influenced by the U.S. production sound of the moment, Thank You, unlike countless other U.K. R&B albums, never forgets its roots, either. So the Neptunes-alike production of the title track, a female empowerment anthem about domestic violence, sits comfortably alongside "Off da Endz," a frenetic grime duet with So Solid Crew's Asher D, as does "Cutie," featuring a Kanye West-style helium-voiced chorus, next to the grinding dirty basslines of "Taxi," written by Alisha's Attic's Karen Poole. Indeed, the best track here is quintessentially British and a masterstroke in fusing R&B with the modern rock establishment. "See It in a Boy's Eyes," written by Coldplay's Chris Martin, is a beautiful, slinky piano-driven ode to understanding the opposite sex. It's one of the best things Martin has done, but it's also the most blatant indication of how Jamelia has matured as an artist. She's just as at ease when she moves outside her comfort zone. "Superstar," the single that rescued her career, was originally a hit for Denmark's Christine Milton, but Jamelia makes it her own to produce a simple but effective pop classic, while final track "Antidote," a haunting, quirky ballad smothered in a glossy electronica production, promises a bolder, different direction for the future. Overall, Thank You is a confident, imaginative record that oozes with personality and should be a lesson to record companies everywhere that patience can sometimes reap the biggest rewards.

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