The self-titled first release by Canadian R&B songstress Divine Brown was a strong start for the budding artist, however it failed to bring her to a level of stardom. Her first album, released in 2004, was a sassy sampling of pure soul music. That album had its magical moments, but overall lacked a hook that pressed you to listen to it through and through; it was too heavy on sappy soul ballads and slower beats, something that can hold an artist back quite badly in today's pop market. Ultimately, the music didn't feel fresh, and the creative team behind Brown knew that if they wanted to keep their soul goddess in the music market, it was time for a step up. Luckily for Brown, her second album, The Love Chronicles is a giant leap towards mainstream success. Packed with plenty of soul and dollops of R&B, Brown synthesizes rhythm & blues from all decades; sounds from the '40s, '50s, '70s, '80s, '90s, and even some new millennium waves speckle the album. Quite masterfully, Brown's producers successfully mix dramatic horns, electric synthesizers, big-band beats, and other genre-defining sounds into each track, making each of them feel like a whole new experience. The album is filled with more upbeat tracks, songs that are fun and bouncy, yet sultry in their nature (such as "Bebe," a punching retro production filled with razor-sharp hook lines.) The lyrics this time around are more polished and sharp, yet not clichéd. That's not to say the album is without its ballads; in fact, the album's slower tunes, reminiscent of early Mariah Carey, are fewer this time around, but much more appealing. "One More Chance" and "Sweet Surrender" are impassioned love tunes that chill the listener; while Brown's eight-octave range runs all over these tracks and revives the dying sound of '90s ballads. All these strong samplings on The Love Chronicles are topped, however, by the album's summery first single, "Lay It on the Line," a wonderful mastery of breezy pop music topped in soulful doo wop. For this outing, Brown has called on all her influences: Mariah Carey, En Vogue, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Dinah Washington, and so many more; yet this combination of tunes works. Brown has successfully put together a stunning showing of how much talent she truly has, and the songs here string together perfectly. Each beat and sound weaves together and creates a wonderfully dynamic listen for even the most casual fan.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Matthew Chisling