At nearly two-dozen tracks, it’s doubtful that you’ll find a better bargain than this. Josephine Sincere has unintentionally given us a reason why purchasing CDs are still superior to downloading mp3s. This album is an experience, one that should be absorbed from start to finish, and not something to be mixed up with a thousand other mp3s in an iPod.
In the ’70s, this probably would’ve been a double LP. Considering that the musician in question is only 18-years-old, that is startling trivia. Sometimes I hear an artist that leaves me speechless with her talent. With Sincere, it’s not only her mesmerizing voice but her youth and the mature personality that she projects in these songs. You can give a kid adult words to say; however, if they don’t have any experiences or emotional depth to draw from, you’re essentially putting a suit on a toddler. To my ears, Sincere is in her late 30s, but that is not reality. She is still in her teens, barely old enough for college.
The first track, “Bleed,” will have you believe that this is an R&B record. Well, it is — but not R&B as we know it now. This is early ’70s R&B, when gospel, soul and jazz — not hip-hop — drove the genre. However, her producers give it a contemporary sheen, making it sound simultaneously modern and retro. On “I Like It,” Sincere sings of love with unrestrained passion and palpable affection. “You” is even better, with Sincere playing with the words, letting her voice swirl and soar.
Because of the slower piano pieces, a few might be tempted to compare Sincere with Norah Jones. Forget it. Jones doesn’t have Sincere’s range and wounded ache. You can really feel both the pain and joy in Sincere’s singing. It is breathtaking, hypnotic and absolutely uplifting. Yes, 2006 is still early; however, for now this takes Best Album of the Year honors from me. I dare anybody to top it.
Kixx Records: www.kixxrecords.com