5 years. That’s how long it has been since pint-sized powerhouse Tiffany Evans has released a musical offering. Of course there have been free single releases for fans (‘Won’t Find Me’), leaks, failed starts to album campaigns (‘I’ll Be There’) and a series of unfortunate label politics with Columbia Records and Music World Entertainment. Despite these issues Tiffany has finally released an EP to appease her fans until the release of a new album. This new release is perhaps the first of its kind to sport influence from R&B’s second golden age; the early 2000’s with its soulful ambience and melodies that harken back to the wondrous time when Jermaine Dupri and Missy Elliott were writing and producing inescapable hit after inescapable hit for almost all of the leading crooners and songstresses at the time.
The EP contains production turns from the likes of B.Fresh, ChrisNTeeb, Elijah Blake and Maad Scientist with Evans herself contributing penmanship to all the songs. While the material is very enjoyable with the vocal performance and harmonies being displayed are nothing short of mind-blowing, however as a whole it fails to highlight Tiffany as her own artist with the majority of songs reminding me of other artists. The set opens with the horn-infused ‘143 (I Love You)’ which easily could’ve been found on Beyonce’s ‘Dangerously In Love’. The superb and radio-ready ‘Do Better’ while difficult to not bop your head to bares strong reference to the work of Amerie and ‘I Can’t Fight’ has Keri Hilson circa 2008 written all over it but all these comparisons I’ve made are not to say these songs aren’t brilliant because they are but hopefully the creation and recording of this EP has shown Tiffany what kind of direction she should take when crafting her much anticipated second album.
The set falls a bit flat in the middle of the set as mediocrity begins with the dreary ‘I Ride 4 U’ and the pedestrian ‘Tell A Chic’ which comes across as awfully unnatural. Disappointingly ‘Lois Lane’ follows in the same fashion despite the high quality of its lyrics by Elijah Blake. ‘Note to Self (Looking for Love)’ appears to signal a change of pace but overall it fails to live up to the greatness of the EP’s opening songs.
Thankfully the quality picks up and we see the first signs of Tiffany coming into her own with the lush and passionately sung ‘I Found You’ with its minimalistic production and wonderfully restrained vocal showcase. We finally arrive at the set’s most supreme track – ‘If You Love Me’, this song is simply the bizness. Everything from the richness of the guitar strumming to the live feeling of the production to the extraordinary vocal climax is just excellence. The EP concludes with the dazzling and sassy ‘U Got a Woman’ which recalls the spirit and fire of the funky soul sirens from the ‘70’s. Songs like those are without a doubt the direction Ms Evans should definitely take with future releases because she definitely has a knack for songs that lend themselves to live instrumentation and soulfulness.
Overall ‘143’ is a great piece of work which succeeds in showing everyone the sheer talent that Tiffany beholds while showing that she can be contemporary and current while still maintaining her spunky spirit and independence.
- ‘143 (I Love You)’
- ‘Do Better’
- ‘If You Love Me’
- ‘U Got a Woman’
Written by Sope Soetan (@SopeSoetan)