Lighting Up The Night
Illuminate may be Latrice Barnettâ€šÃ„Ã´s debut album, but thereâ€šÃ„Ã´s nothing inexperienced or amateurish about it. Stylish and urbane, the record combines sultry tracks with some destined to be club hits. Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s a house album that avoids canned, repetitive beats while incorporating R & B with electronic music and live instrumentation.Latrice isnâ€šÃ„Ã´t new to this genre. Singing since 2001, she recorded the hit single â€šÃ„ÃºKeep On Rising.â€šÃ„Ã¹ She recruited powerhouse music producers Jay-J and Kaskade for Illuminate.
Illuminate creates a mood evocative of a late night in the city. Songs like â€šÃ„ÃºHold the Lightâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºMake My Heartâ€šÃ„Ã¹ set the tone with upbeat, layered vocals. On â€šÃ„ÃºIlluminateâ€šÃ„Ã¹ Latrice sings, â€šÃ„ÃºShare your fears/Donâ€šÃ„Ã´t be afraidâ€šÃ„Â¶. Donâ€šÃ„Ã´t you know you illuminate the night.â€šÃ„Ã¹ The tempo and the instrumentation bring to mind Joe Jacksonâ€šÃ„Ã´s â€šÃ„ÃºSteppinâ€šÃ„Ã´ Out,â€šÃ„Ã¹ giving a feeling like the night is full of possibilities.
While most of tracks are clubby and up-tempo, some are more loungy and intimate, like â€šÃ„ÃºLesson Learnedâ€šÃ„Ã¹ and â€šÃ„ÃºTake it From Here.â€šÃ„Ã¹ The latter is just plain hot. Latrice purrs, â€šÃ„ÃºYou know you want it/Baby it feels right.â€šÃ„Ã¹
The strangely hypnotic â€šÃ„ÃºDâˆšÂ©jâˆšâ€ Vuâ€šÃ„Ã¹ is a spoken word piece set to a dance track. Itâ€šÃ„Ã´s a stream of consciousness about dreaming and dâˆšÂ©jâˆšâ€ vu.
â€šÃ„ÃºSpiritsâ€šÃ„Ã¹ is contemplative and moody. The after hours feel is complete with a sultry saxophone solo. A homage to those who came before her, the lyrics are sophisticated and Latriceâ€šÃ„Ã´s voice is subtle as she sings, â€šÃ„ÃºOne day I will be history for those who live after me.â€šÃ„Ã¹
Such confidence may sound like arrogance, but itâ€šÃ„Ã´s not. Latriceâ€šÃ„Ã´s self-assurance and soothing vocals make her and Illuminate memorable.