If there’s one singer who doesn’t get the credit and success she deserves it’s Jennifer Hudson. The powerhouse vocalist, who picked up an Oscar for her performance in Dreamgirls, released her self-titled debut album in 2008 with follow-up I Remember Me following 3 years later in 2011. Both albums have enjoyed moderate sales despite peaking on the US Billboard Chart at 2. 3 years on from her last record, Jennifer Hudson releases new album JHUD.
JHUD, named so after the singer’s nickname, sees Hudson take a slight change of direction. Whilst her music is still undeniably R&B she’s injected disco into it to serve up a more uptempo record than her previous two albums. Lead single I Can’t Describe (The Way I Feel) features T.I. and is one of the strongest singles Hudson has ever released. The 70s tinged-disco feel suits Hudson’s stellar vocals perfectly and proves that she can let her hair down and reign in that big voice when necessary. Production comes courtesy of Pharrell Williams who works his usual magic.
Follow-up single Walk It Out featuring Timbaland, who also produced the track, is a more straight-forward R&B track but is a little feistier than we’ve heard from Hudson before. The staccato delivery of the lyrics and off-kilter rhythms are typical Timbaland but Hudson puts her own stamp on them with the depth of her vocal ability.
Elsewhere on the album Iggy Azalea contributes to the beat-driven disco of He Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere, Say It injects soulful blues into the mix, and Just That Type Of Girl has a lazy disco beat that’s perfect for a cool down after a night filled with dancing.
The best moment on the album comes on the Gorgon City collaboration I Still Love You. The 90s dance rhythms mix with Hudson’s reverb-filled vocal for a track is truly special. It’ll get you dancing in no time and requires you to crank up the volume to get its full effect.
Hudson does squeeze in a couple of ballads before the album closes. The old-skool throwback of Bring Back The Music reminds you of how great a singer Hudson is whilst album closer Moan, which is just under 7 minutes long, is classic Hudson with big soulful vocals and a whole lot of emotion.
JHUD is Hudson’s strongest album release to date. Her big voice may not be to everyone’s taste but with this album she proves that sometimes less can be more. The disco sound really suits her and there’s a nice amount of variety on here. The album caters to all of her fans offering a good mix of big vocal moments and more restrained uptempo feel-good grooves. Hopefully this album will see her smashing the top of the charts and claiming her place as one of the best female R&B vocalists in the industry.