Amber Bullock, So In Love
For about a year now, Amber Bullock has been best-known as the most recent winner of BET’s hit gospel competition, Sunday Best. But with her new album, So In Love, she stands squarely as an artist in her own right. Sure, the show helped her get to this place, but there’s no doubt that she belonged here all along.
While So In Love is actually Amber Bullock’s sophomore album, it’s her first LP of original material (her debut album, Thank You, was a seven-track EP, reworking the songs that she performed while on Sunday Best). Paired with the soulful production of PJ Morton, Bullock’s artistry comes alive on this album in a way that we’ve all been eagerly awaiting.
The project opens with the funk-laden lead single, “Lord, You’ve Been So Good,” marked by the steady slap of a bass, bouncy horns and Bullock’s signature scat-riff style. It flows seamlessly into the mid-tempo “Done For Me,” a feel-good, finger-snapping groove featuring Kirk Franklin.
The title track, “So In Love,” is up next. It’s an island-themed love song to God, on which Bullock cleverly plays with lazy melodies, while still allowing her powerhouse vocals to shine through just a bit. “Second Chances,” one of Bullock’s favorite tracks on the new album, is a driving ballad featuring Bullock’s soaring range along with tight and intricate background vocals.
Isaac Carree joins Bullock on “Changed,” which shines as one of the project’s sure standouts. The song perfectly blends an otherwise acoustic-ready melody with soul and gospel nuances to render a chorus of chord changes that is fresh, but familiar.
“Yes” and “Take It Back” are two of the album’s more pop-themed songs, but they may be the least memorable of the lot, as the tracks don’t always support the warmth and passion that is so prevalent in her voice. Still, they offer upbeat departures from an otherwise mellow project, and Bullock delivers a solid vocal on each of them.
Another clear album standout is “Nobody Else.” With its rather melancholy and jazzy melody, it’s the type of song that Amber Bullock seems born to sing – a soulful, passionate, playful and musical number that could go on and on at a live set.
The rock-worship vibe of “Ruler,” contrasted with the almost hymn-like album closer, “Same God,” with its swelling gospel vamp, demonstrates Bullock’s versatility – she is comfortable singing just about anything, and she does it effortlessly, a hallmark of her style that earned her the Sunday Best crown in 2011.
It’s no secret that the content of Amber Bullock’s debut EP, like that of most other Sunday Best alums, was more of a refresher course than an introduction. By contrast, consumers should be delighted to “meet” Amber Bullock anew on this project. So In Love is a solid collection of feel-good music, anchored in soulful melodies and accented by Bullock’s undeniable passion and impeccable vocal agility.
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