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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

No Looking Back

  • reviewed by Andree Farias Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2008 1 Jul
No Looking Back
Sounds like … various songbirds with a strong footing in urban pop, including Janet Jackson, Ciara, Rihanna, Ashanti, and CokoAt a glance … understated as it is, No Looking Back is an impressive urban gospel release, and easily one of the year's big comebacks in the genreTrack Listing Plain & Simple Say Yeah Best Thing Midnite I Will Trust (intro) I Will Trust Great God No Looking Back Crossing Over Don't Leave Me Lonely Torn Up I Won't Complain Pray No Looking Back (pop gospel mix)

If one were to list the key artists who gave rise to urban gospel music in the last decade, most would probably list the usual suspects—Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, Yolanda Adams. Another that deserves to be included in that bunch is Damita, even though her impressive self-titled major label debut failed to make as big of waves in the industry. Vocally, Damita is no Yolanda, but her first disc proved she was every bit as sassy, spirit-led, and self-assured. Her gifting is more delicate and understated—a quiet storm that could go from a fragile whisper to a thunderous, soaring soprano.

Perhaps Damita was too delicate and eclectic to catch on, but the singer is finally back with a follow-up. Eight years is a long time in-between projects, but the quality of No Turning Back renders the lapse irrelevant. You'd think Damita would be rusty or out of form after all this time, but that's far from the case here. Her voice is as potent as ever, commanding every track with the confidence of a leading lady, right on par with gospel sirens two years her senior.

Like the music of her husband, recording artists Deitrick Haddon, Damita favors the urban side of the gospel spectrum. She refrains from waxing churchy or melismatic, instead making a conscious effort to skew younger by remaining true to the music she loves, namely, uncomplicated yet extremely effective urban pop. Her style is melodic to the core—urban in approach but unabashedly pop, like a Christian version of Rihanna (except Damita could sing circles around her).

Amid the thumping beds and the top-rate production, the heart of Damita shines. She doesn't get lost in the hotness of the beats, letting instead her voice do the talking, no matter if she's tackling airy pop ("Great God"), calypso-flavored worship ("Best Thing"), Janet-styled urban jams ("Torn Up"), organic acoustic soul ("Midnite"), classic R&B ("Pray"), or a knockout, guitar-laced cover of a gospel hit ("I Won't Complain").

Since the title makes it seem like Damita has every intention to keep on making music, let's hope No Turning Back means the songstress won't be taking another extended hiatus, and that she's back for good.

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