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, Im 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 Harrells music is just mindless bubble gum pop, youd 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 deservea man who will treat them like daughters of the King.
My favorite track on the album is Dont 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 its 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 doesnt quite fit, but I couldnt imagine Class Reject without. Strangely, it just works.
Rain, is a song about weathering lifes storms and features Jades 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 Destinys 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 Jades 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 Brothers What A Fool Believes is a take it or leave it deal for me. Its not bad, but not as solid as the rest of Jades own material.
Jade Harrells Class Reject is a stellar performance. Heres 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
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)
11. What A Fool Believes
12. King Of My Heart
13. Only Human