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Jade Harrell - Class Reject

Jade Harrell is a star in the making. Her album Class Reject is a smart, sassy piece of lyrical candy that does more than get your feet tapping. This young lady, the first acquisition of the newly formed Revolution Art record label, steps up to the microphone with the poise and confidence of a veteran songstress, pulling no punches as she belts it out for all to hear. Her work could easily stand up alongside the likes of Beyonce or Rhianna.

Normally, I’m a bit critical of mind-numbing music. However, Jade does a good job of making music that lets you just cut loose without feeling stupid for it later. Case in point, the first two tracks, “Into The Music” and “Me And My Radio” are fun and poppy. Jade makes no apologies that sometimes its entirely about the music, nothing more.

But, if you think Jade Harrell’s music is just mindless bubble gum pop, you’d better think twice. Tracks like “Who You Are,” “The unSEEN,” and “Say Goodbye” fly in the face of and address cultural and personal issues facing many of us, but especially young ladies. “Who You Are” is a solid number about self-image issues, “The unSEEN” is about the consequences of compromise, and “Say Goodbye” is a challenge to young women to kick worthless guys to the curb and hold out for what they truly deserve—a man who will treat them like daughters of the King.

My favorite track on the album is “Don’t Leave.” When I first heard it, I swore it was a cover of Aretha Franklin or Etta James. It has a distinctively Motown sound to it. In fact, it would have been perfectly comfortable on the soundtrack for Dreamgirls. It really does sound like it’s an old school Motown classic; so much so that I had to look at the liner notes just to make sure. But, Harrell (along with Moe Henderson) is credited with writing the song. In the grand scheme of the feel of the album it doesn’t quite “fit,” but I couldn’t imagine Class Reject without. Strangely, it just works.

“Rain,” is a song about weathering life’s storms and features Jade’s sultry vocals coupled with a few hip-hop elements reminiscent of Out of Eden and a great Rastafarian backbeat. “Addicted” is just hot fire. Think Destiny’s Child cadence with Britney Spears bravado. (Hate on Britney all you want…bad mother or not, the woman moves some albums. So the comparison is a compliment Jade.) Coffee (of Grits) guests.

“Broken” and “King of My Heart” are Jade’s two most vulnerable offerings on the project. According to Jade, the first is “an expression of how I felt during a time in which situations and circumstances caused me to feel damaged and alone inside.” And, Jade works hard to take you inside of her pain. “King of My Heart” is a great prayer to God and will likely make the rotations on CCM radio.

A cover of the Doobie Brother’s “What A Fool Believes” is a take it or leave it deal for me. It’s not bad, but not as solid as the rest of Jade’s own material.

Jade Harrell’s Class Reject is a stellar performance. Here’s an artist that should easily be able to go far beyond the walls of the Christian subculture. She has an accessible sound, great lyrics, solid production, and her personality shines through like the sun breaking through the clouds after a heavy storm. Consider yourself accepted, Jade.


Release Date: June 2 2009

Label: Revolution Art

Tracklisting
01. Into The Music (Feat. Bonafide)
02. Me And My Radio
03. Who You Are (Feat. Ayiesha Woods)
04. The Unseen
05. Say Goodbye
06. Rain (Feat. Stefan The Scientist)
07. Don't Leave
08. You And I
09. Addicted (Feat. Coffee)
10. Broken
11. What A Fool Believes
12. King Of My Heart
13. Only Human

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