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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Coming Back to You

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2009 1 Feb
Coming Back to You
Sounds like … red-hot classic soul in the vein of the Supremes and Gladys Knight, plus some of the alternative pop-soul championed by Amy Winehouse and Duffy.At a glance … a long time coming, this soulful, sassy recording shows why Melinda Doolittle was the true best-in-show in the 2007 season of American Idol.Track ListingFundamental ThingsIt's Your LoveComing Back to YouDeclaration of LoveThe Best of EverythingWonderfulDust My BroomI'll Never Stop Loving YouI Will BeIf I'm Not in LoveWalkin' BluesWe Will Find a WayWonder Why

If there was one strike against Melinda Doolittle's phenomenal run on the sixth season of American Idol, it was her apparent reluctance to take a compliment. She was a powerhouse on the stage—Simon went as far as saying she should've won the competition—but her aw-shucks demeanor often belied her rising star.

Not so on Coming Back to You, her long-in-the-making solo debut. Prior to Idol, Doolittle made a name for herself singing backup for the likes of Michael McDonald, Aaron Neville, and a host of CCM mainstays, but here she takes center stage with poise, grabbing hold of the microphone with the sass and strut of a soul diva.

Good for her. Most post-Idol releases tend to safely stay within the assembly-line comfort of commercial pop. But Doolittle goes for the road less traveled, reaching back into the R&B songbooks of yesteryear and refashioning the tunes, most of them covers, in a way that's in step with the retro-soul resurgence that Amy Winehouse and others have brought back in vogue.

Most audiences will relish the dusty, near-analog glow cast by the disc, a throwback delight with nods to the likes of Johnny Mathis ("The Best of Everything"), Doris Day ("I'll Never Stop Loving You"), and Sara Vaughan ("Wonder Why"). Doolittle savors every moment, inhabiting each song like only she knows how. However, it seems that in the process, she forgets a little bit about her gospel roots. While empowering, Coming Back to You alludes to the singer's faith only in passing.

Still, there's something wildly magnetic about the music and Doolittle's self-assuredness that render Coming Back to You one of the most complete, unified recordings to emerge from the ranks of American Idol. It's at once anachronistic and current—the type of effort that only a veteran performer could really pull off.

© Andree Farias, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.