Since the release of her eponymous debut in 2008, Jennifer Hudson has continued to set new milestones in both her personal life and career. Shortly after the album dropped and was awarded Best R&B Album at the 2009 Grammy Awards, she gave birth to her first child David Daniel Otunga Jr., reclaiming her body by shedding the baby weight and then some as spokeswoman for Weight Watchers.
The stage is set for her highly-anticipated sophomore LP I Remember Me, dropping March 22. The album, featuring production and songwriting from Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, Ne-Yo, Diane Warren, Rich Harrison, Salaam Remi, and more, sports a more contemporary feel than its predecessor, touting feel-good songs about life, love, and happiness. Ahead of its release, Rap-Up.com has the scoop on five must-hear tracks.
“No One Gonna Love You”
The album kicks off with this optimistic Rich Harrison production, which builds from a vamping piano ditty to a full-fledged anthem. On the tune, Jennifer looks back on relationships and promises that in spite of the blunders of the past, she will love her man more than any other girlfriend in the past. “I been through some things, please, don’t hold that against me/ Can’t nobody love you like I’m gonna love you,” goes the chorus.
This disco-lite tune has Alicia Keys’ stamp all over it. With a militaristic snare drum care of Swizz Beatz and Keys’ inspiring piano chords, the upbeat jam sees J-Hud pledging to protect the man she loves. “There’s no way that I’d ever go back again/ Heaven’s in your arms, got me until the end/ Let me be your angel, through the golden door, I will come running,” she sings, carrying out the last word of each sentence on the hook.
“Don’t Look Down”
Jennifer puts on her dancing shoes for “Don’t Look Down,” a grown ‘n’ sexy tune where she takes control of her romantic fate. Over bouncy production from Salaam Remi and Alicia Keys, the powerful songstress goes higher and higher on the ebullient tune, where she croons about floating on cloud nine. “Broken hearts and broken dreams/ Baby nothing’s broken as it seems/ Gotta find a way to let it flow/ I know that there’s a higher place to go/ That’s the way love goes,” she wails.
Famed songwriter Diane Warren pens the emotional “Still Here,” where Jennifer says goodbye to someone who is no longer with her. “You looked at me and saw what I never could see/ You made me be more than I thought I could ever be/ And when I needed a friend you were always there to lift me up, to make me strong/ You’re not gone, you’re still here,” she reflects. Staying true to classic ballad form, the song grows from a solemn ode to an empowering climax.
This gospel-tinged tune is Jennifer at her most nostalgic. Taking it to church, the Chicago native sings about getting advice from a neighbor named Old Man Wrigley she used to visit as a young girl growing up on the south side of the city. Though she forgets about him as the years go on, she is reminded of the wisdom he imparted on her when she learns he passed away. The inspirational closer finishes with a choir backing up her vocals as she reflects on the knowledge she gleaned from him.
–Steven J. Horowitz