by Angie StoneAngie Stone


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On her second album for Concord's Stax imprint (and fifth overall), Angie Stone delves deeper into funk and hip-hop than on her previous outings. Her last offering, The Art of Love & War, was a critical and commercial triumph for the vastly underrated vocalist, and topped the Billboard chart. With a slew of producers including Sly Williams, Willie "Chuck" Shivers, Karrim King and Fitzroy Reid, Steven "Supe" White, Jonathan Richmond, Jazze Pha, and Stone herself, these dozen tracks continue to reveal her versatility as a vocalist and recording artist; she can sing whatever it is she wants to with equal verve, authenticity, and flair. Despite the slicker and more diverse sounds on Unexpected, the soul quotient is high, even if this isn't strictly a neo-soul album. The new beat consciousness reveals itself most on the title track, which is hard funk at its 2009 best. Cuts such as "Free" might have come right out of the 1990s with their use of careening synths, shimmering hip-hop beats, and colliding loops. But the melody is solid, its chorus and refrain catchy. "I Found a Keeper" is another; its production, arrangement, and structure actually feel like it was recorded in the 1990s -- and is at least reminiscent in spirit to material by the trio MoKenStef. But these are not complaints. Stone's voice is so strident and drenched in soul that even the harpsichord sound on the latter track can't overpower it. The one complaint is the utterly unnecessary use of Auto-Tune on a beautiful song like "Tell Me" -- the synths and dancefloor beats are one thing, but the inclusion of this device just feels plain alien on this track. For fans worried that Stone abandoned her old-school sound completely, they needn't worry. The first single, "I Ain't Hearin' You," is drenched in neo-soul grooves, as are "Think Sometimes," "I Don't Care," and the gorgeous ballads "All Over Your Body" and "Why Is It." If one goes back to Angie Stone's debut album, Black Diamond, and follows the progression of her sound, it will be obvious that there has been a continued and restless path of growth and experimentation. Unexpected simply feels like a leap more than a step.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/23/2009
Label: Stax
UPC: 0888072312883
catalogNumber: 31288
Rank: 164016

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Angie Stone   Primary Artist,Vocals,Background Vocals
Alvin Speights   Bass
Juanita Wynn   Vocals,Background Vocals
Diamond Stone   Vocals
Ricco Barrino   Vocals,Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Phalon Alexander   Composer
John Burk   Executive Producer
Richard Rudolph   Composer
Sylvester "Sly Stone" Stewart   Composer
Angie Stone   Composer,Producer,Liner Notes,Executive Producer,Instrumentation
John McClain   Executive Producer
Salton Smith   Composer
Jazze Pha   Producer,Engineer,Instrumentation
One Drop Scott   Producer
Juanita Wynn   Composer
Arthur Phillips   Composer
Merion "Joei" Powers   Engineer
Steve "Supe" White   Producer,Instrumentation
Diamond Stone   Composer
Saleem Asad   Composer,Producer
Willie "Chuck" Shivers   Composer,Producer,Instrumentation
Ricco Barrino   Composer
Steven White   Composer
Cozmo Hickox   Composer
Terrance Freeman   Composer,Producer
Jevon Sims   Composer
Fitzroy Reid   Composer,Producer,Instrumentation
Jonathan Richmond   Composer,Producer,Instrumentation
Karrim King   Composer,Producer,Instrumentation
Sly Williams   Composer,Producer,Instrumentation
Michael Thomas   Composer
Melvin "Archangel" Lowery   Producer
Scott Roberts   Composer

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