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4.5 out of 5 stars
Late Nights, Early Mornings
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58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2011
In 2002 I was flipping through the channels and came across Floetry's "Say Yes" video playing on one of the music video channels and was immediately drawn in. The mixture of smooth soulful music, and the pure sexuality of the lyrics was a powerful combination. Add in my affinity for English women's accents, and I was sold.

I went out and bought the album that day, and found the rest of the album, in a rare coup for me, matching up to the enjoyment of that first single. Floetry was made up of "Songstress" Marsha Ambrosius and "Floacist" Natalie Stewart. Their combination of soul music and spoken word was a welcome breath of fresh air.

Sadly, Floetry only put out one more album (plus a live album) before splitting up to go solo.

The Floetic couple's final album was released 5 years ago this past November, and finally we are getting another taste, albeit in solo efforts.

Last year Natalie Stewart put out an album called "The Floacist" which was fantastic. Pretty much what you would expect from one of the members of that great group.

This year it's Marsha's turn, albeit long overdue. Over the past five years or so she has put out numerous mixtapes and been featured on songs by other artists including Nas, The Game, Busta Rhymes, Earth Wind & Fire and Slum Village among others.

She was originally signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath records, and unfortunately much like the good Doctor's own Detox album, Ambrosius' solo debut has been pushed back many times over the course of the last year.

Now, however, she is no longer with Aftermath, and finally the album is here, and many people are wondering whether or not it would live up to the hype. Whether she could match the brilliance of the Floetry days, or the level of Stewart's album.

I'm here to tell you it does. If you have ever heard a Floetry album, you know what to expect here. Smooth soulful music, with lyrics that are poignant and real. There's no cookie cutter teen diva wannabe type lyrics on here, these are raw emotional subjects tackled by the Songstress.

Her single "I Hope She Cheats On You (With a Basketball Player)" is both hilarious and shocking in it's bluntness and emotion. Telling of her man who has left her for someone else, and her wishing him to get the same type of treatment that she got. For him to know what it feels like to be betrayed, and to take it to that next level, for it to be an athlete.

There are various ways you can view that aspect of the song, whether it's a sort of added insult that she's dating a pro-player, or just the high profile diss. Either way, this song signals that Ambrosius is more than capable of stepping out on her own.

Some artists when going solo after being in a group, are unable to really duplicate that success when moving on by themselves for whatever reason. Ambrosius is more than willing and able to put the doubters to rest with this solid solo debut.

Standout tracks include: I Hope She Cheats On You, Far Away, and Lose Myself among many others.

Production on this album is tight, with much of the production work being done by Ambrosius herself, but also some assists by Just Blaze, Andre Harris, Vidal Davis and Syience.

Overall this album is very sensually seductive. This is grown folks music here, ladies and gentlemen. This is not Rhihanna. This is not Ciara (who I like). This is not Beyonce. This is a real woman speaking from real experiences and doing so in her own way. This isn't the same old stuff you hear on the radio that you probably wouldn't be able to tell who sang it. In the vein of Erykah and Jilly from Philly, Marsha Ambrosius is here folks.

Now let's just see if we can get a Floetry Reunion album next year, huh?
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2011
I wrote the following review on iTunes (though I've shortened it a bit here), and I'm writing it again here.

To Marsha: You did it. I'm proud.

Late Nights and Early Mornings (LNEMs) is a superb R&B album by the Marsha Ambrosius, aka Songstress, whose sensual and melodic voice the world fell in love with when Floetry debuted the intoxicating adult groove, "Say Yes." Every track on LNEMs is worth the listen as each one provides the perfect amount of what I like to call "Marsha Passion" so that, when listened to in its entirety, yields a poetic and intense overdose of the woman who soothes her listeners with her smooth voice. To me, this album is Marsha's Miseducation, you know, Lauryn Hill's album that people will continue to talk about and love decades later. The lyrics to every song written (or co-written) by Marsha mirror the feelings we wrote in our diaries. Needless to say, Marsha is so human--let that marinate.

Anticipation: What better way to commence LNEMs? 10/10

With You: This, I believe, is the 2011 version of "Say Yes." Lyrics so passionate and sensual without being vulgar. Who can't relate to this track? 10/10

Late Nights & Early Mornings: The beginning of this song will hypnotize listeners. More specifically, Marsha's voice will mesmerize you and pull you back to that moment after a passionate night with your lover with the previous night's sensual grooves lingering on your soul. Also, this reminds me of a Prince track. Just listen. 10/10

Hope She Cheats on You (With a Basketball Player): This is Marsha's #Ustreamfam's song :) We're most definitely proud of this track. Who would've thought it would end up like this? "Look at how it all turned out now." If you've ever listened to this song and thought it was ludicrous in that ridiculous kind of way, I implore you to listen again. 10/10

Far Away: This song is extremely personal for me, and the first five seconds will set my tears to going. This is the track that has opened people's minds and hearts with lyrics so real. You can hear the emotion in Marsh's voice as this song is personal for her as well. 10/10

Lose Myself: This song has that Lauryn Hill vibe, and if you check the album notes, you'll see that she wrote this incredible song discussing how one has to lose sense of self in order to love someone else. You can't relate to this song unless you've been in the situation, but even if you haven't, you feel something. Listen to the words because they cry nothing but the truth. 10/10

Your Hands: My absolute favorite on LNEMs. This is the 2011 version of "It's Getting Late" and you get the "Getting Late" vibe from the first twenty seconds with Marsha's signature "Baby" repetitions. Intoxicating. 10/10

I Want You to Stay: Immediately provides us with that MJ vibe as it was written by our Songstress for the King of Pop. Marsha's voice brings listener's MJ on this track and you can definitely hear how he influenced her. He's proud of you, Marsha. 10/10

Sour Times: This is a cover of Portishead's track. Poetical truth. What better way to describe it? I love Marsha's voice on teh track. 10/10

Tears: Just listen to it. Close your eyes, lean back, and listen. Lose yourself in the voice, especially when she literally has to walk into her kitchen to hit the note around 1.40 seconds because being in her at-home studio gave her too much feedback. If you've listened to this song already, then you know which note I'm speaking of. 10/10

Chasing Clouds: Oh, how I adore this. Again, who hasn't felt this way? 10/10

The Breakup Song: Self-explanatory, and just incredible form the first ten seconds. Strong Marsha emotions on this one. 10/10

Butterflies (Remix): We all know the original version, you know, the one on Michael Jackson's "Invincible" album. Marsh wrote it, so thank her, please, for "Butterflies." Her version gives listeners her vibe. 10/10

Marsha, I'm so proud of you.
Ustreamfam,
GoddessLala
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
The last ten years have been an interesting journey for British soul singer Marsha Ambrosius. She penned the hit single "Butterflies" for Michael Jackson before she even had an album. She released a couple of successful records with her former partner Natalie Stewart as part of the short-lived duo Floetry. She became the go-to-girl for singing hooks on hip hop songs from artists like Nas, The Game, Blackalicious, Wale and David Banner. She also was signed to Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment for a number of years...and like everyone else signed to the label that's not named Dr. Dre, 50 Cent or Eminem, her project was put on the back burner- when the release dates weren't being pushed back repeatedly. After years of numerous delays and setbacks, Marsha decided to part ways with Aftermath and sign with Clive Davis' J Records, where she released her long overdue debut album "Late Nights & Early Mornings".

Most of the album's production was handled by Marsha herself, with assistance from Kanye West protege Canei Finch on a couple of tracks. She gets outside production on a few of the songs on the album. Rich Harrison produces the title track "Late Nights & Early Mornings", which bears an obvious Prince influence. Just Blaze handles the piano driven ballad "Far Away", a song largely inspired by the suicide of a best friend due to bullying over his sexuality. Marsha's longtime collaborators Andre Harris & Vidal Davis produces the sensual ballad "Your Hands". Focus handles the southern soul sounding ballad "Tears", while Syience turns in the synth heavy "Chasing Clouds". Marsha pulls off a couple of successful covers on this album, such as her take on Portishead's "Sour Times (Nobody Loves Me)", Lauryn Hill's "Lose Myself" and the aforementioned "Butterflies", which was done as a tribute to the memory of Michael Jackson- despite her having covered the song years earlier . Overall, "Late Nights & Early Mornings" is a pretty solid and mature debut solo album from Marsha, and should be seen as an indicator of what's to come from her.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2011
This album was on my highly anticipated list! I can not compare Ms. Ambrousius to any other singer, she definetly has a voice and style of her own. One would never think that she could get even better than she was with Floetry. But yet she lost weight and went straight out GLAM on us! Finally the CD was realeased and I quickly went to iTunes to download and enjoy. The album is packed with mid tempo and slow sexy R&B songs and melodies. This is the type of cd you can put on and seduce your man/girl!

But I will have to say that there is soemthing missing, In the middle of listening to the CD I got a lukewarm feeling that the songs were so much alike and the CD was missing a more neo soul feel. But Marsha may have wanted to go more R&B instead of neo soul, also where were the songs you can dance to? Anything up tempo?!?

Dont't get me wrong I LOVE Marsha, she is very talented but I was looking for a more collborated song mixture than what was recorded. Do I still listen to her CD? Yes I do!

Do I think you should buy it? Yes I do.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2011
As soon as I downloaded this album I went for a drive to listen to it in my car. As one of the first R&B/Soul releases of 2011, Marsha sets the bar awfully high for her female counterparts with "Late Nights & Early Mornings". The authenticity of her sound and her content are not easily matched in today's industry and her vocals hit all the right spots. Much of her content isn't dressed up and sugar-coated, it's real and women will be able to relate. The way her lyrics and music capture the real and intimate moments of the love experience is a quality to be admired, much like that of fellow English singer Adele. "Late Nights & Early Mornings" is an all-around great representation of female R&B, combining sensuality, femininity and genuine emotion to make Ambrosius' debut memorable and timeless.
I really LOVE the cover of "Sour Times" originally done in 1994 by English band Portishead.(always a favorite of mine)Marsha adds body and depth to the song but still manages to stay remarkably true to the original.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2011
May 16th, 2011 (around 1:50 AM)

Let's address what I just said in separate paragraphs.

Point 1: This album is very uneven. She starts out moaning about sex with the first two tracks. Then she hopes her man gets cheated on and the girl he's with finds her a basketball player. And then from there it's pretty much "poor me, my heart is broken and I can't live without you mode" all the way up until the final track, a remix to the 2001 Michael Jackson song, BUTTERFLIES. This surely is not counting FAR AWAY though, the album's pinnacle and Marsha's work of art, with or without Floetry. The song is sultry, has a great (and eye-opening) message once you watch the video and is just plain hard to resist. It's head on with emotion and she doesn't hold back. I find this to be a modern classic and already her signature song. But more or less, the album falls flat and flatter from there, with just a few satisfactory tracks within reach for good measure.

Point 2: ...And the first single is VERY misleading. I don't know if anyone has told you this, but you would expect that with a bangin', upbeat single like HOPE SHE CHEATS ON YOU, you would be gifted with more than one other upbeat remix of a 10 year old song (BUTTERFLIES [REMIX]) and another track that hardly passes as more than a moody mid-tempo (CHASING CLOUDS). The rest of the tracks that aren't mentioned are very downbeat and sadly, don't reach for different topics. To say that I was disappointed from first listen would really be an understatement. Literally, all that stuck out to me for the first 7 or so tracks were the overly-sexed up intro tracks and the two singles. I stopped listening to it after that.

But I gave it another chance later and like I said, some of the songs are a bit more than passable.

My favorites are FAR AWAY, HOPE SHE CHEATS ON YOU, YOUR HANDS, I WANT YOU TO STAY and the remix to the legendary Michael Jackson's BUTTERFLIES. I always, always, ALWAYS loved that song since I first heard it. Big ups to Marsha for actually writing that song for Michael with Andre Harris.

My least favorites by far, in order are LOSE MYSELF, THE BREAKUP SONG and CHASING CLOUDS. None of these songs are very catchy and they just seem to ramble on and feature Marsha complaining. Another thing about this disc that I didn't care for after a while was her warbling. Her riffs are kinda grating when she overdoes it. I'm used to singers like Mariah doing it, and GETTING LATE from Floetry's Floetic had some nice riffs that I really liked. But here? NAH! Way overdone.

Lastly, we will quickly speak on the album art. What the hell happened? I mean overall, it would be fine IF MARSHA WAS THAT SKINNY... She's NOT! I don't understand what they did to this cover as well as Miss Jazmine Sullivan's lovely (yet deceiving) album art for 2010's Love Me Back. Can we say deceiving a few times over? I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out that both of the cover arts are photoshopped to make these two healthy-sized, talented women look more marketable. GET OVER IT, music industry! We need people that look real and not like twigs to represent too!! The world is filled with diversity so why are you afraid to show it? I could go on, but that's for another review I guess.

I wish I had a positive review for you. Really. I wanted to like this so much and my expectations were high after experiencing the video for FAR AWAY. But then I listened to the samples and I thought she was in trouble. I still gave the CD a listen though and don't regret that. I just regret the final result. She was even hyping this album saying it was "hot" and what not.

I just don't buy it, Marsha! Sadly, I can only fully recommend her singles.

3.3 stars (or a 6.6/10).

DOWNLOAD:
"Far Away" &
"Hope She Cheats On You (With A Basketball Player)"
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 25, 2011
I like Marsha. Really enjoyed Floetry. But something is missing on this CD. Marsha has a very distinctive voice and I like it. However, I don't think it's used properly on this CD...matter of fact it's just plain boring. Don't get me wrong, there are a few standout songs, but many of the songs sound alike. It's even more evident when you see her live in concert and realize that all of the songs have the same sound, same chords, same flow. No change up, no variety. I'm glad I bought it and I enjoy the couple of good songs on there. But it won't go down as a 'classic' for me.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2011
I was disappointed, especially after all the promotion and eagerly anticipating the release of the CD. There are only two selections on the CD that I liked, the ones played on the radio. No upbeat sounds. More popular melodies and lyrics couldn't hurt. Even though Marsha has a unique voice that I really like, other songs dragged along with negative anecdotes. Overall, okay, I guess, that is for someone else, but not for me. I actually gave away the CD.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2011
Late Nights, Early Mornings is the smoldering release that a *lot* of people have been waiting for from former Floetry member Marsha Ambrosius. The music is deeply rooted from real experiences and is delivered from the soul as soul music should. The theme flows seamlessly through the entire CD making it playable from beginning to end.

My favorite songs are the Prince-inspired title track "Late Nights, Early Mornings", the venomous & hilarious "I Hope She Cheats On You", "Far Away", my favorite "I Want You To Stay", and "Butterflies (Remix)", her blissful salute to Michael Jackson for whom she penned the song.

Marsha Ambrosius along with R. Kelly and Cee-Lo are satisfying my hunger for classic soul music in the sweetest way! (Thanks, Curtis, for turning on to this CD).
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2011
After years a listening to a beautiful mash-up of the Floacist and Songstress deliver insight into life's up and downs, I KNEW that at one day Marsha Ambrosius would spread her wings and soar above her cohorts. After releasing the video for Far Away, I seen the direction she was going with her music and how much of her heart and soul she put into it. From there I KNEW that her album would be something amazing!

Since pressing 'Play' I have listened to it non-stop for hours now. For the real music lovers, I highly recommend this album to anyone looking for a revitalization to your eardrums.
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