Teedra Moses has an old-school soul voice. It's
a powerful instrument that doesn't need to be propped up by an overly busy
production (like, say, Brandy, Ashanti and Janet Jackson). It's the type of
voice that can take an okay song and make it sound like a classic.
Luckily on her debut album, she generally has much
better than okay songs. In fact, most of these songs, all of which are
co-written by the artist herself, are pretty damned good.
The Raphael Saadiq duet "Take Me" is a gorgeous quiet
storm devotional with interesting instrumentation and sweet vocal byplay.
"Backstroke" is a honeyed mid-tempo grinder (and the word "Papi" has never
sounded sexier than it does in this song.)
A wonderfully early 80s production style makes the
first single "Be Your Girl" feel like a great lost Shalamar or DeBarge
track. "Out of My Head" spins out from a brief sample from the sixties
love jam "Going Out of My Head" into a thudding booty shaker.
One slight misstep is "You Better Tell Her" in which
Teedra collaborates with labelmate Lil' Jon. The song is okay, but her
sultry vocals are forced to swim upstream against the crunk-lite beats and
busy production. She works better when she keeps it simple, like on "I
Think of You (Shirley's Song)," the gorgeous Brazilian-tinged memorial to
her late mother which closes the CD.
At the end of her extremely long list of thank yous in
the CD booklet, Teedra signs off as the young lioness. Somehow that
works. With Complex Simplicity, she shows off a pretty