Artist: Vivian Green
Album: A Love Story
Sony Records, 2002
Adding to Philly’s seemingly impervious reputation as being the “Bearer of Soul Music” that has been setting the Soul standards, we have the ever-so-cute, soulful chanteuse - who unsurprisingly ascended from Jill Scott’s camp as one of her background singers – by the name of Vivian Green.
There is no question that this petite, vocal-powerhouse, was born to sing! From the very first track you are comforted by Ms.Greens’ sultry, confident, and soothing croon; which laments on topics of Love (What is Love?), Romance (Ain’t Nothing But Love), Desires (Wishful Thinking), and Self-Empowerment (Superwoman), all over a backdrop of Soul, R&B, and Jazz influences. The tempos range from slow, to a mellow head-nod; allowing you to revel in the lucidity of Vivians’ voice. The musical arrangement/production is full and polished; complimenting Vivian’s vocals nicely, but she shines best on the sparser tracks, which allows her vocals to dance in between the instruments – such as on the jazzy, No Sittin’ by the Phone, and the neo-soul tinged, Fanatic. In this era of industry-made artist like Ashanti and Macy Gray (yeah…I said it!!!!! What?!?!?), it is more than a breathe of fresh air to have talented artist, such as Vivian Green, to put out this kind of music.
This album is an exceptional debut! It is obvious that marketing research went into making sure that this project is equally as pleasing for the Underground as it is for the Mainstream. Although Vivian’s voice sores eons above most of the industry’s stated best, the one element that this project is lacking is “rawness” – almost giving the feel as if some of the Soul in the music has been “contained”. Not that it is imperative for her to exude “unbridled” Soul or rawness, but because of the constant, unavoidable – and possibly unfair - comparisons to Jill Scott, you come to expect a certain level of Soul from Philly artists.
Whether this was intentional or not is immaterial; this is still a very nice CD, effectively allowing Ms. Green to make her mark in the music world – as she has been doing for most of her life. This CD will fit nicely in your changer in between Syleena Johnsons’ Chapter 2: The Voice, and Glenn Lewis’s World Outside My Window.