Neo Soul Today

Neo Soul Today is an authoritative source for informed and intelligent opinion, reviews, news, and other content about neo soul music, its artists, culture, and industry.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Neo Soul Today Album Review: Antoinique's "Introducing Antoinique"

By Sean
Editor-in-Chief, Neo Soul Today

Artist S/V Rating: Jazz/Underground
(What is this?)


Discovering incredible neo soul artists and music is by no means a science. It is more of an art. Granted, over time, one can become quite savvy at neo soul discovery and we hope that Neo Soul Today can be one of the tools in your toolbox for finding great artists and music. However, there is a high degree of luck involved as well. It was by pure luck that I came across Antoinique and her debut album, "Introducing Antoinique" (2003, X Records).

See, I was killing time at the mall in the For Your Entertainment (FYE) store while my wife was looking for some maternity clothes. My first observation was that -- in this particular store -- they categorized R&B, Pop, and Rock under one category on the shelves. Being a discriminating neo soul collector with particular taste, this was a bad sign. Still, I proceeded. It's difficult when you're in a commercial outlet with broad categories and you're not looking for anything in particular. Thus, I just walked to the back and randomly stopped at the "M's." Flipping through the names, I surprisingly came across Ladybug Mecca (who I'll be featuring in an upcoming review). I decided to buy it. Next, I walked back to the "D's" and, again, was surprised to see they had Raheem DeVaughn's "The Love Experience." That I decided to buy as well. Being satisfied with two neo soul CDs, I headed toward the check-out counter.

And Then I Found a Diamond in the Rough
On my way to the check-out counter, I happened to glance down to my right and saw a tab with the name "Antoinique" on it. I knew Antoinique [Parker] was a neo soul artist, but couldn't recall any of her work. I picked up her CD case -- which has a beautifully low-budget cover -- and scanned its barcode for a listen. The rest was history. Simply put, I was blown away by the work of the former background singer for Monifah. "Introducing Antoinique" is an impressive portfolio of classy, modern, mature, jazzy, and smooth neo soul tracks.


"Introducing Antoinique" has 14 tracks in total. For my favorite track, there's a tie between Blackwater (Track 2) and Krazy (Track 5). The CD gets off to a sharp start with, Blackwater, the first full-length track on the CD. Krazy is a song I remember being played on XM Satellite Radio Channel 61, The Flow, in late 2003-early 2004. Listed below are all of my favorite tracks on the CD.

My 13 Favorite Tracks (I will link these to audio samples when some become available):
1. Intro

2. Blackwater
3. Phenomenon

4. Fell In Love
5. Krazy
6. Antoinique
7. Someday
8. Blue
9. Good Love
10. Sweeter
11. The Sweetest
12. Hearsay
13. Firstname

In other words, I like 93% of the album. This is unprecendented; essentially flawless. While acknowledging that most of us listeners have differing tastes, with a success ratio of 93%, it is highly unlikely that you'll dislike this album. I absolutely love it.

Why Now If It Was Released in 2003?
According to the neo soul underground word-of-mouth circuit, although "Introducing Antoinique" was released on December 16, 2003, the album did not enjoy a formal release nor was it appropriately marketed. Although I cannot confirm the authenticity of this information, an anonymous comment posted this on November 30, 2004 at
funkjunkiez.biz in response to an October 27, 2004, 4.5 star review (out of 5) of the album. The tone of the comment makes it appear to have been posted by someone close to the situation. The person consistently used the phrase "the people to whom [Antoinique] is signed" rather than the name of her original label. The comment says, "['Introducing Antoinique'] has performed better overseas than in the states mainly due to the underground circuits of people who love and know what real music is all about, and made it's way to internet radio stations around the world." The comment goes on to say, "She has MUCH more material ready to go, even hotter than the debut album, but she must first resolve contractual and financial issues with the people to whom she is signed."

While conducting my research after purchasing her debut, finding two distinct websites for Antoinique (http://www.introducingantoinique.com/ and http://www.antoinique.com/) had me confused. Given this, the comment gained some credibility when it said "Keep your eyes on www.introducingantoinique.com for all of the info" and that "http://www.antoinique.com/ is owned by those to whom she is currently signed, and not really to be used for anything officially related to Antoinique." At different online music outlets, you'll see different release dates (2003 and 2004) and label names (X Records, X Records/Malaco, X.O. Records) for "Introducing Antoinique." X Records appears to be the independent label affiliated with Antoinique as opposed to the one she is allegedly having contractual issues with. We hope that these issues do not withhold her from releasing more wonderful music.


Neo Soul Today Album Rating
5 out of 5 stars



For more information on Antoinique, visit:
Introducing Antoinique - The official Antoinique web site
antoinique.com The (allegedly) former official Antoinique web site


We welcome your thoughts.

1 Comments:

At August 08, 2005 5:46 AM, Anonymous pru said...

You have done it again, you always come up with some body we all should know.

 

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