Album Review: Marsha Ambrosius, “Friends & Lovers” (4.5 out of 5 Stars)

Edward Bowser July 14, 2014 49

friends and lovers
Words by Edward T. Bowser,

has some of the sweetest vocals in the game right now, but lord knows she loves to get nasty.

That shouldn’t be a surprise though. Even as one-half of the duo Floetry, the English songstress was the voice behind some of the sexiest tracks of the early 2000s.

Following in the tradition of her stellar debut, Late Nights & Early Mornings, Friends & Lovers is a conceptual romp fueled by lust but driven by the hope for love. More importantly, Marsha sounds absolutely fantastic.

When “So Good” opens with the line “I wanna do you right know,” you know what the deal is. It’s a hard-hitting (…um), heart-pounding (…well) bedroom banger that climaxes with soaring high-notes.

We’re one track in and it seems like Marsha has a one-track mind.

“Night Time” fantasizes about after-hours rendezvous while “69” leaves nothing to the imagination. But what separates these songs from the immaturity of a Trey Songz is that even though they’re explicit, Marsha’s soft vocals and atmospheric production keeps the mood sexy, rather than raunchy or outright ratchet.

But the album isn’t all about sex. In fact, the exploration of other themes is what really puts this album over the top. “Shoes” has Marsha running back and forth over her ungrateful lover – she can’t decide whether to make him breakfast or hit the door. “Stronger,” Marsha’s interpretation of Sade’s classic “Love Is Stronger Than Pride” blends jazz and hip hop expertly. Even Dr. Dre shows up for a verse – just don’t ask him about Detox.

The breezy “You & I” and slinky “La La La La La” are a great change of pace. All that baby babble on the latter’s hook could have easily ruined the song if overused but Marsha scales back the titular la-la-la’s, using them to accentuate her infatuation with her man, not as a gimmicky crutch.

Things slow down just slightly – figuratively and literally – during the second half of the album. Tracks like “Love” and “Cupid (Shot Me Straight Through The Heart)” are vocally sound, but they’re not as imaginative as their counterparts. “Spend All My Time,” a powerful duet with Charlie Wilson, and “OMG I Miss You,” with its appropriately weepy production, stand out much more.

Few artists can convey passion like Marsha. From bed-breaking sex to heartbreaking anguish, every line – every note, seeps with emotion. When she sings, you feel it.

That’s why Friends & Lovers feels like a bonafide hit.

Best tracks: “So Good,” “Night Time,” “Shoes,” “You & I”

4.5 stars out of 5

Can’t get enough of Edd? For more album reviews, relationship talk, pop culture news and Keith Sweat hero worship, visit and follow him on Twitter @etbowser.


  1. Sean Ward July 15, 2014 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    Disagree with the comparision to Trigga! Trigga is a great album that gives it’s listener what they want. Trey isn’t a romantic, it is what is! Marhsa on this album is like the Female version of Trey’s Trigga! Two great albums! R&B needed this! They should remix 69! That would be fire!

  2. DrShay July 16, 2014 at 8:11 pm - Reply

    I loved her album!!!! I had no clue what it would sound like and I’m glad she isn’t afraid to go there. Her vocals are great, the concept is great, the writing is great, and the production is amazing!!!! I agree with you guys 100% about Trigga. Thought it was mediocre at best. Trey Songz has sadly plateaued. He better try to ride that cross over train now before he falls to irrelevancy. But, moving on to Marsha, I love her! Friends and Lovers is def a great album.

  3. akeem September 20, 2014 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Yes indeed

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