After a blazing performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Liv Warfield has released her sophomore album, The Unexpected, and she’s clearly a force to be reckoned with. If you have any doubts, just look at the credit list: the album is executive produced by Prince. It makes sense. Just like The Purple One, Liv combines rock and R&B for a serious funky style. Janelle Monae has company now.
Just like Monae, Liv fares better on the upbeat tracks than ballads. The Unexpected soars when Liv is able to bring her edginess to the music. The slower tracks like “Stay – Soul Lifted”, “Freedom”, “Come Back”, and “Fly” don’t connect like they should, but Monae proved that it’s not impossible for a edgy, funky artist to deliver great ballads. Monae delivered the goods on The Electric Lady, so I’m sure Warfield can improve in that area as well. The only slow jam that really works is “Your Show”, which sounds like when you want to take things a little slower in the bedroom instead of Beyonce putting it all out there on “Partition”.
It’s not to say the slower stuff is bad. It just doesn’t explode like the uptempo stuff does. She starts the album off channeling Janis Joplin on the title track, written by Prince, then “Why Do You Lie” (the track she performed on Fallon) still packs a wallop. At only 2 minutes and 30 seconds, “BlackBird” comes at you full force in full attack mode. Warfield has such snarl in her voice, you feel slightly scared of her. It’s awesome. “Catch Me If You Can” lives up to its name with a energetic rhythm you can barely keep up with, but Warfield performs it with ease. “Lena Blue” might be my favourite track on the album with its funky guitar riff with accompanying claps.
Warfield doesn’t miss the opportunity to make her voice be heard on The Unexpected. It’s an exciting, powerful, assured collection from a voice that demands attention and she gets it.