Coming Back to You by Melinda Doolittle
One of the great drawbacks of contemporary R&B, even at its best, is the cookie cutter generic quality of much of what hits the radio--aerobic dance music or rap imitations.
What a pleasure to have an album that has a distinctive voice. Doolittle hearkens back to the best of 60s-70s soul--you can hear church roots in a way that we haven't heard much since Aretha's heyday, grit that's been missing since Tina (probably the soul idol she was most likened too during American Idol), and the smooth jazz tones that we haven't heard much of since Anita Baker or Natlie Cole, but really echo Dinah Washington.
That said, this album is all Doolittle's. I too look forward to music that from her in future years that include the My Funny Valentines or more gospel--but I am glad she did not take on any better known standards or church music this time out. The great limitation of Idol performances is that it is ultimately karaoke. In the case of Doolitte, great karaoke because she can take on any genre and make it her own. But you never fully get a sense of a distinctive artist's voice.