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on December 12, 2006
American Idol is good for something... putting singers that deserve it into the limelight. Fantasia is one of those deserving singers. Her voice, as unconvntional as it seems, is a perfect match for the music produced on this album.

Right from the get go, with "Hood Boy" her voice amasses a comanding presense as she pulls you into her sassy little world. Of course, the song is an interesting piece, but the real meat of this production is the mere fact that the majority of the album features songs that are not of the "throw away" nature. Maybe the sounds all seem similar to something else heard before... but when she throws in her amazing voice, the song suddenly morphs into something all hers.

"When I See You" is a pretty mid-tempo song with poetic lyrics and a favorite amoung reviewers seems to be "I Nominate U" which is justified because the song is pretty as well as racy. The positive message of "I Feel Beautiful" cannot be ignored and it is nice to listen to a woman sing about stuff such as this. "Two Weeks Notice" is a tongue in cheek break up song and effectively conveyed as she has the decency (not a requirement, I might add) to let her man know that she is leaving his unapreciative butt behind. I particularly like the "Bore Me" as she gets playful over hip hop friendly beats.

In my opinion, this album is much better than her debut and shows her as the true talented woman that she is. This effort only cements the fact that she won American Idol, proving that she deserves that victory without a doubt, but doesn't need the title or the show to remind people that she is a force to be reconned with. This is hot stuff... for sure.
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on December 12, 2006
I am very pleased with Fantasia's sophmore effort. In my opinion there seems to be more depth and personality on it then her debut CD. Her voice sounds great and there is the perfect blend of club ready tracks along with some smooth R&B slow jams as well. I liked it from the first listen and just cannot stop listening to it.

Here is a track by track breakdown:

1. "Hood Boy" - This is the first single and it features Outkast's Big Boi. A VERY catchy and infectious song. Makes you want to tap your feet and bob your head. Her voice is great in this song. 5/5

2. "When I See U" - A great midtempo song with an excellent melody to it. Love it! 5/5

3. "I Nominate U" - A very nice "love" slow jam. Fantasia sounds great on this track. A good song for that special someone. A good song with a lot of feeling and soul in it. 5/5

4. "Baby Makin' Hips" - A good beat that makes you want to dance but, as you can see by the title the lyrics are not that great. "She's got them baby makin' hips" Hmmmmmmmm...ok. lol 3/5

5. "Not The Way That I Do" - LOVE IT!!! An excellent song! THis is a club banger through and through. Makes you want to hit the nearest dance floor...QUICK!! The chours is so catchy and infectious you will be singing along in no time. 5/5

6. "Only One U" - A good slow jam. Really like the lyrics. Great melody. 5/5

7. "I Feel Beautiful" - Another great slow jam. A really good message. The lyrics standout the most here. A more lyrically tame song. 4/5

8. "I'm Not That Type" - A good bumper!!!! Another great club banger! Such great beats! VERY catchy!! 5/5

9. "Uneligible" - Not a huge fan of this song. I cannot pin point exactly what it is. Maybe it's the horns in it, I am not sure. Just not a strong song on this CD. 2/5

10. "Two Weeks Notice" - A good slow-mid tempo jam. Nothng major really stands out about this song. A bit on the bland side. 3/5

11. "Surround U" - Not too thrilled about this song. The beat and the piano sound a bit out of place with the vocals. I don't care for it. 2/5

12. "Bore Me (Yawn)" - LOVE IT!! SO good and SO original. Fantasia sounds so good. Sounds a bit like a throwback tune mixed with a current R&B/Hip Hop sound and it's great!! 5/5

13. "Sunshine" - GREAT track! Good beat and great vocals. A solid beat with great lyrics and vocals. I like to crank this jam up!! 5/5

14. "Bump What Ya Friends Say" - Very old school sounding (Aretha, Gladys Knight etc...). A soulful, slower jam. Top notch!! 5/5

I am so glad that I purchased this CD. HOMERUN!

In my opinion so much more creative and original then her debut effort.

A must have!!!!
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on April 21, 2013
This is a great album from Fantasia. I think the only issue with it is that it wasn't marketed in the right way. I love some of ther tracks that have that old school edge to it, but then Fantasia has an old school edge to her persona anyway. This girl was MEANT to hsve a microphone in her hand. Check out her performances on YouTube and I swear you will be BLOWN away.
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on January 26, 2014
The opening song is famtastic! It has great beat, that will keep you pushing repeat! Big Boi is the featured rapper and he has the most original style and lyrics. The rest of the album is a nice combo of R and B balads and hot romantic thow-downs. I really enjoyed this CD. And I'm purchasing her entire discology.
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on March 24, 2007
I fell in love with the possibility of FANTASIA, the artist during her American Idol days and have not been disappointed thus far. Her debut album was a very good introduction but her live performances have been electrifying - Fantasia is an old school performer who puts her whole soul into every performance, grabs the audience by the heart and makes every person FEEL something (a la the great Patti LaBelle)!

It sucks that people aren't willing to accept her music for what it is - unfortunately Fantasia (who lets not forget is only 22 years old) has to walk a fine line between putting out music that American Idol fans will like but also trying to establish herself as a force in the r&b/pop field and make music that'll appeal to a broad audience.

In today's music environment, there are very few true singers with the courage to put music out there that is not the standard cookie-cutter formula for a hit (ie singers who are basically "hook girls" on their own singles while rappers run the show).

The tracks that stand out to me are:

HOOD BOY - I loved the jumpy scatted beats and her powerful vocals on this one

BORE ME (YAWN) - has an old school '70s soul sound; this is a very original sound that is unlike anything else I've heard thus far from other r&b divas (I hope they take a chance and release it as a single)

NOT THE WAY I DO - features heavy beats and Fantasia's sassy lyrics perfomed in the now familiar staccato rap/sung vocals similar to Beyonce (when she was with DC)

WHEN I SEE YOU, BUMP WHAT YA FRIENDS SAY, 2 WEEKS NOTICE & I FEEL BEAUTIFUL - are all ballads that feature really pretty musical arrangements & production that accompany Fantasia's restrained vocals - she does not oversing or hit too many glory notes on these tracks

UNELIGIBLE, BABY MAKING HIPS & SUNSHINE - tracks where the music production kind of overshadows her vocal performance BUT each track has such interesting and varied sounds that they have grown on me (out of the 3, UNELIGIBLE is the most interesting since it sounds like nothing being played on today's r&b scene)

The tracks that seemed more on the "filler" side to me are: SURROUND U; I NOMINATE U AND I'M NOT THAT TYPE - although the production side of SURROUND U & I'M NOT THAT TYPE are excellent, they both have catchy musical arrangements but the lyrics are "meh".

I was also really surprised by the tracks that Missy Elliott produced because I am not a fan of hers but she was able to get beautifully subtle performances out of Fantasia on the ballads and not drown out her vocals on the uptempo tracks by overproducing.

From the beautiful cover shots to her growth as a vocalist, FANTASIA is a step up from her debut album and shows that if given time and the ability to work with more gifted songwriters in the future, Fantasia is an artist who I will continue to support and enjoy.

PS: I wish her all the success in the world with her upcoming Broadway debut in 'The Color Purple'!!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon September 30, 2010
Although I voted for her on American Idol I was a bit underwelmed by the presentation of what I heard of her debut album so,seeing this CD in perfect shape very much on the cheap I decided to give it a chance. Possessed of a voice that's a cross between the chocked and expressive,somewhere in between Erykah Badu and Macy Gray, as well as recording on J Records (home of both Alicia Keys and Monica) Fantasia uses this album to shake off many concerns about appeal to the contemporary audiences on this album. The modern R&B world seems to be the resulted of a divided conscience;some embracing the more natural style retro sounds of neo soul or the heavily electronic hip-hop styled produced on what's called contemporary R&B. Where many have tried to combine the two,there's been a lot of mixed results. For whatever it's worth this album,with the songs alternately written and produced mostly by Andre Harris and Missy Elliot this album definately finds Fantasia linking the chains of the R&B/soul/funk tradition with the modern contemporary hip-hop touches and one will be somewhat surprised how this turns out. True there are a lot of songs here that have what,in this era could be described as a cookie cutter sound such as "When I See U","Bore Me (Yawn)","I'm Not That Type" and "Not The Way I do". These tunes are generally designed for contemporary radio and club play and don't really advance on more latin or African style rhythms the way a song such as Single Ladies does. All the same they are more than made up for in terms of listeners with a more headphone/singing along mentality by "Hood Boy",the hefty,slow grinding funk jam that begins the album and features OutKast's Big Boi. Also of note on the uptempo front are the more rocking R&B styled "Baby Makin' Hips" and "Uneligible" that are important to notice considering the popularity of Amy Winehouse not too long after this was released. On the ballad front this album also gains a lot of momentums such as on "When I See You","Only One U",the acoustic guitar flavored "I Feel Beautiful" and "Suneshine" where the albums usual themes of sexuality and female confidence take on a more reflective,anylitical outlook. If your familiar with Fantasia's difficult upbringing from poverty to illiteracy these tunes say a lot about where she might be looking at in the future. "Two Weeks Notice","Bore Me (Yawn") and "Bump What Ya Friends Say" are modern dance productions but feature a more 70's style disco/funk polyrhythmic style beat that abley join together the schools of new and old. True on this album Fantasia's musical identity,from her sound to the lyrics is not yet complete by any means but this presents some positive directions for her in a musical future that,at this point is looking very bright.
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on December 13, 2006
Fantasia Barrino had a tough time growing up, after a sexual assault she dropped out of highschoool and she later had a daughter when she was just a teenager, but that relationship didn't work and she had to take care of the child herself. When she appeared in American Idol 2004 she got her comeback. Great soulish and truly unique voice and extra-ordinary scene appereance. She was one of the best singers of the shows history and not too surprisingly, she would claim the victory too. When her debut album was released it sold over 1 million copies but it wasn't a perfect album. Some fans were dissapointed that it sounded diffrent then what she sang on the show with alot of Hip Hopish songs and Fantasia's magic wasn't the same on disc that it was on stage, However the album was defenitely a good debut. Second album called just "Fantasia" seems to be a new start, with more traditional R&B songs just aswell as some ballads that she does best and listening to this album her magic comes back and you get the impression that she means what she sings. Having said that, this album is one of the better albums I've listened to in 2006. Here's the song preview.

It starts with a catchy uptempo song called "Hood Boy" which samples Supremes and is simular to some of Beyonce's songs of her album, it also feautures Big Boi. In this song Fantasia say she wants a thug, which I don't understand after what she's been through, however the song which is also the first single is really good. "When I See U" Is an exellent ballad which proves how good Fantasia's voice is and how diffrent it is from the crowd. "I Nominate U" is a midtempo, is decent but not one of her best. Next song is in the same class as Hood Boy, it's called "Baby Makin Hips" and resembles Christina Aguilera's "Ain't No Other Man", this uptempo capture Fantasia at her best. Sean Garrett/Kwame production "Not The Way That I Do" is a bouncy club song, perhaps not the kind of song most people want her to sing, but if it worked for Beyonce it works for her also. "Only One U" is another ballad which is also good, give it a few listens though. Diane Warren wrote "I Feel Beautiful", another ballad ofcourse! This song suits her perfect both by lyrics and sound. This is a song about finding self esteem, pride and peing proud of yourself, I can truly say that Fantasia has found that. Beautiful.

A Missy Elliott production called "I'm Not That Type" is a hip hopish club song with good beats. Missy produced several of the songs of her debut but has gotten limited production this time around. This song is alright, but not the kind of song that suits her best. "Uneligible" is another uptempo with retro sound just like Hood Boy & Baby Makin Hips. "Two Weeks Notice" a ballad produced by Missy, yeah she can do ballads also!. This song deals with a woman that does all the job by herself and realize she doesn't need her man anymore. "Surround U" is a jazzy piano song produced by Swizz Beatz. Not his average song but this one is great. "Bore Me (Yawn)" is a funky old skool uptempo, if you liked some of the other songs you'll like this one also. "Sunhsine" is just passable, a midtempo that is ok. Closer "Bump What Your Friends Say" is the third Missy production and it is another slow paded song. Not one of the best either.

Overall, Her sophmore album is actually better then her debut. There are better songs here and more songs that suits her voice and personality. I think more people will enjoy this album simply cause she delivers what she is expected to do, both with uptempos and ballads. Not all songs are that good though but they are part of a sound that the production team decided was right for her. Needless to say. This album is one up from her debut and her voice is fantastic and unique at the same time. I can only see her getting better. "Fantasia" is defenitely worthwile.
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Five SOULFUL Stars!! Goodbye, American Idol! This is the real Fantasia and she is ON FIRE from beginning to end of this CD, breaking away from the AI formula of 'sing everything with lots of pop ballads' into the music she was exclusively destined to occupy: soulful R&B. One by one, each American Idol steps away completely and goes it alone. In her debut, she still had some AI-type songs in there but this is pure R&B. And this is Fantasia's time!! Yes, she mixes in rap, and when it's Big Boi from `OutKast' it's a pleasure to see his mind and voice at work in her music. And it's an honor because it's deep rap and it totally works.

But these classic, and classic-sounding, R&B performances by Fantasia are intense and wonderful, her voice is FANTASTIC and the jams are totally unique to her music. Those who saw the highly-rated "The Fantasia Barrino Story" on LifeTime cable TV know when she sings about love and pain, she's been there and she can sing about it thru R&B, hip hop, jazz, you name it. Her God-given voice is an amazing instrument to hear and she has grown in her music since the first CD.

The 'Pieces De Resistance', the best of the best, are: the soaring "I Feel Beautiful"; the sensuous "I'm Not That Type"; the anxious "When I See U"; the steamy "I Nominate U", the very hot "Hood Boy" with Big Boi and "Only One U". Her own personal favorite is "Baby Makin' Hips". But, WOW, "Two Weeks Notice" and "Bump What Your Friends Say" are SENSATIONAL performances, worth the price of the entire CD, sure to fire up nation-wide "Quiet Storm" radio stations, and they both went straight to my IPod. Fantasia is the Real Deal. The R&B world is graced by the fact that she chose to sing it and not pop, but maybe someday we'll get a jazz CD from her just to show her range. Highly Recommended! Five AMAZING Stars.

(*This review is based on an ITunes 14-track musical download with interview.)
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on December 13, 2006
The self-titled sophomore album from Fantasia had a lot to follow after the way she exploded onto our radars after becoming an "American Idol" and killing it with her debut CD. All of it led to her own book and her own television movie of her life. So with all the success she has gained in the past couple of years, people wanted to see how she would come out on this go round. Could it be that she would just score with one good album, would success deflate the quality of her music somewhat, or was she really to be taken seriously? Not only was it the latter and not only is she to be taken seriosly, but she is one of the best singers out there right now. Real talk! She proves that with her second album which to me is almost without flaw.

This album has great production from the likes of Missy, Swizz Beatz and others, it seems that Fantasia's songwriting went to an even higher level with this CD. A couple of years going by, maturing and going through a few more life problems will help that I guess. And also, her voice shines just as much here, if not more, as it did on Free Yourself. She went with a few more hip hop/club type beats on this one, which in my opinion may not suit her as well as the ballads and powerful emotional songs she sings, but she does a great job on a couple of them (i.e. Hood Boy featuring Big Boi, I'm Not That Type, Surround U (more like a hybrid hip hop/R&B beat from Swizz). She has the breakup songs and can't break me songs on lock with instances such as Bore Me, Two Weeks Notice which is a great song to me for the way she wrote in comparing a relationship to the way you get treated on the job and it really not paying off, and I Feel Beautiful. That latter song is probably a song truly for the ladies in becoming a woman's anthem, sort of the way Survivor from Destiny's Child was, a few of Mary J.'s joints and others. Very nicely sung song over a moreso midtempo beat that kind of has a slow jam feel to it(best I can describe it for now). Speaking of slow jams, she does excellent there as well of course. I Nominate U stands out as a favorite in a song she speaks of a night of getting down in some role-playing and great performances in lovemaking (listen to the song and you'll see what I'm talking about). Only One U is another great track along those lines in speaking of her partner being a one of a kind to her. Sunshine is another great track that makes you kind of smile and laugh in your head for what she's speaking about in how her you know what is like a piece of heaven (if you ever seen Harlem Nights and seen the scene where Della Reese is speaking about Lela Rochon, you know what this song is about right now). The album ends on a great note with Bump What Ya Friends Say in following your own heart in knowing who is the right one for your own self, a track that could speak to both genders, male and females because external forces/friends and family can end up distracting you from something that could end up being special.

Besides a couple of tracks that I'm not feeling at the moment (i.e. Baby Makin' Hips and Not the Way That I Do), this album could have very well upstaged Fantasia's rookie album. And I thought that was one of the best that came out last year ('05). She shows some versatility in doing different type of tracks and beats with this album when her first album leaned moreso to the ballad and slow jam direction. It sort of balances out on her second album and gives you quality joints in all phases. I thought that the CD finished stronger than it started or appeared in the middle, which left you something to remember and linger in your mind. Monica's CD was strong and consistent throughout in my view, but Fantasia is right there with her. Another great music CD to pick up as quickly as possible. Another great job from Fantasia!
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Fantasia to me was one of the best, freshest voices that the American Idol series ever had. Sure she faced the adversity of having a child out of wedlock and later the adversity of not being able to read very well but I personally think that Fantasia has overcome those adversities and any others very well. She has written a book, starred as herself in a made for television movie based upon the book, had a number of guest singing based with the likes of Lyfe Jennings (on the single version of "Hypothetically")and Missy Elliott (on her COOKBOOK album). She's also appeared on the Luther Vandross tribute album SO AMAZING as well as making appearances at the BET Awards, Billboard Music Awards and other things. Most important is her voice is unlike many others in the business making her a mix between the soulful Aretha Franklin, the dynamic Patti LaBelle, and others. Attributed specifically to her followup self-titled album, Fantasia's voice has grown raspier, more soulful, and "looser" making FANTASIA stronger than the excellent FREE YOURSELF in a number of ways.

Sure FREE YOURSELF was the "door opener" for what should be a fruitful, long lasting career, but FANTASIA extends upon that ideal a couple of more notches. The album opens up with a burst of energy through first single "Hood Boy" (featuring Big Boi of Outkast) which features a great Supremes sample. The track features a quasi singing, quasi-hip hop performance by Fantasia, but when she ad libs she sounds in her element. Whether "Hood Boy" will become a hit is questionable, which is unfortunate, but it is one of the most unique R&B singles of the year and the video clip is just as cool. Perhaps just as good if not better than "Hood Boy" is the great urban sounding "When I See U", perhaps one of Fantasia's best and most convincing performances. The track has a quiet soulful feel that strikes the listener as both soulful and yet contemporary. The production is immaculate and listening to the quiet, yet robust soul "Tasia" gives off on this track you have to wonder where that power comes from!

"I Nominate U" isn't as good as the first two tracks, but it is definitely solid and has a very urban feel to it, something that I think works in Fantasia's favor here. "Baby Makin' Hips" comes out of nowhere being catchy with the repetitive chorus and the soulful sample employed. it is alas another standout. Things cool down slightly with the overwrought "Not The Way That I Do" where Kwame's production may be just a bit too much. After several listens though the track does grow on you. "Only One U" is OK, but not as hypnotic as any of the best tracks on FANTASIA.

"I Feel Beautiful" is a must for adult-R&B/adult contemporary radio. It is the perfect track because you can tell the aim for the track is an older more mature R&B audience who favor the music of Babyface, Anita Baker, Freddie Jackson, Aretha, and others. It is simply beautiful and a very inspirational track as you can scan through the undertones that it is referring to Fantasia's experiences in life. I think that people will relate to this track more than any other in some respects.

"I'm Not That Type" features the bombastic production work of standout Swizz-Beatz who has had a pronounced presence throughout hip-hop and R&B in 2006. It is catchy and solid, though maybe not as solid as "Hood Boy" or "When I See U". "Uneligible" is good, though not great, but the neo-soul gem "Two Weeks Notice" makes up for any flawed tracks. It is perhaps Fantasia's most soulful performance on the album as well as her most soulful ever. It is catchy, well written, and definitely well performed. "Two Weeks Notice" is that track that makes you look at some of the catchy, yet rediculous hits of our time and makes you laugh and ask "why?".

"Surround U", "Bore Me (Yawn"), and "Sunshine" are all average or above average, but the album ends on a strong note with the great "Bump What Ya Friends Say" which features the rich alto background vocals of Missy Elliott. It is a great way to end an impressive album and that is what Fantasia is. It isn't perfect, but it is pretty damn close. 4 stars Fantasia!
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