(Released October 2nd, 2015)
It’s been one year since Tamar Braxton released the follow-up to 2013s Love and War. While that album was very successful and helped get her out of Toni Braxton’s shadow, it showed that even though she has what it takes to be a star on her own, she needed some more grooming. Songs like Stay and Fight, All The Way Home, Where It Hurts and the album’s title track are some of the strongest cuts on that project, but them being paired alongside the playful and sometimes “childish” One on One Fun, Tip Toe, She Did That and even Hot Sugar (although it is a bop!) took away from the overall appeal of the album. This time around Tamar learned from her previous effort and was able to put together something special.
Calling All Lovers is pure R&B through and through. The opening track Angels & Demons carries a heavy Caribbean influenced sound to start off, but falls short when it comes to keeping the listener’s attention and ends up fading into the background after each listen. Normally the song that’s chosen to lead the pack could make or break an album, in this case it doesn’t affect anything other than getting the filler out-of-the-way early on. After that the momentum ascends without any signs of coming down.
You aint got a credit card, a pot to piss in or window to throw it out. Don’t flex.
Catfish is more midtempo than the rest of the album and serves straight 90s summertime R&B all day. It reminds me of a modern and throwback version of No Scrubs all at the same time. Simple Things carries the same old school vibe as If I Don’t Have You and Circles with Tay belting about how unimportant material things are when it comes to true love.
One of the many standout tracks on here is Broken Record, although I personally wish this was further down on the tracklist, its greatness cannot be denied regardless of where it’s placed. The subtle production matched with Tamar’s ability to emote effortlessly makes this a record that you’ll find yourself hitting repeat on once it reaches its end. The same exact thing can be said for Never. Just a beautiful song from beginning to end with not a flaw in sight.
You treat me like I’m nothing, you take me for granted you’re trippin’
Raise The Bar, I Love You and Makin’ Love all deliver with precision. So does S.O.N. which we all had to find out the hard way that it wasn’t an ode to her son Logan! But that one bump in the road doesn’t change the fact that the song is beyond good and the pace switch up is more than welcome on an album that’s mainly ballads, although the majority of them are well done it’s never a bad idea to spice things up every now and then. That’s also done with the disco inspired Must Be Good To You, you better grab a pair of skates and a partner when this comes on. After that, the album comes to a close with breathtaking ballads King and Coming Home, King being led by a piano with layered background vocals makes for one of the most, if not the most, powerful ballads on the entire album.
If you still haven’t heard this album I strongly suggest you put any feelings you may have for Tamar aside and enjoy an amazing project. I’m happy that she was able to put away all of the extra antics to deliver something that proves she’s worthy of everything she says she deserves. Unfortunately, due to sickness and her stints on Dancing With The Stars and The Real promotion for Calling All Lovers seemed to be put on the back burner when there were so many opportunities present. Even after her partnership with The Real ended, there was still no spark in the promotion department. We couldn’t even get the video that was shot for Catfish. I’ll forever be disappointed that this wasn’t pushed the way it should have been but I’m hopeful that she’ll continue to grow with the next album. The quality is there without a doubt, now it’s time to make people want to invest their money into someone who may not be the most likeable person depending on who you talk to.