Words by Edward T. Bowser, SoulInStereo.com
When it comes to album titles, a lot of artists out here are living a lie.
Iggy Azalea’s The New Classic? Playa please.
But when Faith Evans calls her self Incomparable, you better believe it. Her track record speaks for itself — one unquestionable classic (1995’s Faith), one near classic (2001’s Faithfully) and a whole lot of bangers along the way.
While Faith’s sixth album doesn’t reach the heights of her most storied work, it still keeps her legacy strong.
It’s clear that Fizzy is here for a good time. Don’t believe me? It’s the title of her second single. But it’s the first single, “I Deserve It,” that really gets the party jumpin. Faith is absolutely carefree as she dances between the keys, with Missy Elliott and protege Sharaya J backing her up.
Many of the tracks here feature live instrumentation that keeps the energy flowing. “Fragile” and “He Is” brings out the band for a lively, commanding sound — one that isn’t as cold and canned as most modern production. Faith also hops on the ’80s nostalgia train for the title track. Its electric synths make it quite the nostalgia trip.
But we all know Faith is at her best when the lights get low and the candles are lit — she’s at the helm of some of the most memorable slow burners in the past 20 years. Faye teams up with KeKe Wyatt for “Make Love,” the spiritual (or sexual) successor of Faith’s “Come Over.” KeKe possesses one of the most underrated voices in the game and she more than holds up her own here — even when the outro gets too cute for its own good and drags on far too long. The midtempo “Forever” proves to be the perfect showcase for Faith’s hearty soprano and “Maybe” is a straight-up baby-maker. Faith’s always at her most sexy when she’s being apologetic and “Maybe” sounds like it leaped from 1995 recording session. It’s that good.
Still, even though Incomparable is well-crafted — strong vocals, solid production, expert songwriting — it still lacks lasting power. There are no true standouts here, a rarity for most Faith albums. In fact, the most memorable tracks tend to be the impressive collection of interludes. The finger snaps of “Take Your Time” and gentle knock of “Ride the Beat” harken back to Faith’s ’90s glory days. Both deserved to be full features.
Incomparable is, unsurprisingly, a solid outing from one of the best vocalists in recent R&B history. It just lacks a spark to launch it to the higher end of Faith’s discography. The album’s not a new classic, but if you’re talking about vocals, this R&B diva is still incomparable.
Best tracks: “Maybe,” “Forever” and every single interlude
3.5 stars out of 5