Lost In Music: Amerie – In Love & War Ben Egan 18 Jun 2013 Music It is a travesty that, unfortunately, R&B singer Amerie is not more of a household name by now. Releasing her first album, All I Have, back in 2002, it wasn’t until its follow-up, Touch, with her hit single ‘1 Thing‘ that Amerie achieved success. She released her flawless third album, Because I Love It, in 2007, which went gold and platinum in numerous countries but still only reached 17 in the UK album charts. Amerie left Columbia Records to release fourth album In Love & War through Def Jam records in 2009. It is now our job to tell you why this album, at least, should be in your library. Entirely co-written by Amerie and with a hand in the production of some of the tracks, this album is a product of love and affection from the singer. The album has a real old-school urban twist on the modern day R&B genre, which in our opinion can be very hit and miss. Yet Amerie nails it with In Love & War, as she has similarly done throughout her career, Amerie uses the album to really showcase herself, not just as an extraordinary songwriter, but as a extremely talented artist. Her vocals are on par with the rest of the divas out there right now, yet her tone has a real edge and raw quality to it, setting her in an entirely separate league. Where Amerie excels, though, is in her up-tempo comfort zone. Second single from the album, ‘Heard ‘Em All’, with the remix version featuring Lil Wayne, is a triumph. The song opens with tribal drumming and chanting, and a voice-over announces, ‘Pardon the interruption but we got a news flash / Someone in the building says Amerie’s back,’ and she certainly makes you pay attention. The mid-tempo track is an easy listening, yet moody and entirely unique. The song doesn’t showcase her vocals necessarily but definitely sets you up for what the rest of the album has to offer. While Amerie is possibly best known for her sublime 2006 track ‘1 Thing’ and unfortunately hasn’t achieved the same success since, it isn’t through lack of trying. Artistically, Amerie has grown and shaped her own sound here. The hip-hop/R&B sound produced is delivered perfectly in lead single ‘Why R U’, the best ballad song on the album, carrying a sensational chorus. However, at no other point on the album is Amerie more catchy than with the irresistibly snappy ‘Dangerous’. A personal favourite from the album is ‘Higher’. Amerie injects attitude and fury into each and every syllable: ‘Tell me did it make you feel good / Treatin’ me the way that you would? / ‘Cause you took me high as you could / Higher just to drop me off.’ The stomping drum beat, guitar riffs and rock/R&B sound are all executed flawlessly and complements the tone of her gorgeous voice. ‘More Than Love’ uses a different vibe, smoothly delivering a lovely Mowtown-esque sound, and Fabolous’ appearance adds a needed spice to the mix too. ‘Swag Back’ promotes that bellowing voice that we have grown to adore from Amerie, and ‘The Flowers’ slows it down to showcase her harmonies. It’s a wonder how, not only this almost faultless album but, a singer with so much artistic talent like Amerie has slipped through the net. She’s a master of her trade and creatively on-par with your BeyoncÃ©’s and Rihanna’s, in our opinion. Amerie appears humble and sweet throughout the album and delivers some delicious vocals, powerfully emotive lyrics and original, addictive beats. Where is Amerie now you ask? Rumour has it there is an EP and album in the pipeline for 2013, but seeing is believe, Amerie. Seeing is believing. In Love & War is available to download from Amazon and iTunes.