Music Monday: Fantasia's Side Effects of You

fantasia I really want Fantasia to win. That's not just because she's from my hometown area, or because I love her Southern drawl and her carefree, country girl attitude, but because her success in the music industry will be an encouraging sign that talent is still valued in an industry that seems to put more priority on connections and having the "it" girl look ( "exotic" small facial features, light-skinned, and long, light-colored hair). Fantasia has overcome so much in her life, from sexual abuse to accepting the sobering reality that the entertainment industry can sometimes be the coldest place on Earth. Her fourth album, Side Effects of You, reflects her evolution from the fresh-faced 19-year-old from the third season of American Idol to the sophisticated chanteuse we see today. Song by song, here are my thoughts on the album:

1. Supernatural- I like Fantasia's first single (Lose to Win) from this album, but the snippets I heard of this song from some entertainment blogs were what made me really excited for the album. It's a great starting track since it sets the tone for her new sound, which is definitely hip-hop inflected, yet it still has that Broadway quality that you'd expect from Fantasia.

2. Ain’t All Bad- This is a Reggae themed track that reminded me a little of Rihanna's "No Love Allowed". Judging from this song, Fantasia and Reggae seem to be a pretty good mix.

3. If I Was A Bird- In this song, Fantasia pines for freedom from a relationship that sounds like it's pretty smothering. This is a poetic twist on the classic I'm-leaving-you/get-some-act-right type of songs that we usually hear from R&B songtresses.

4. Girl Talk (Interlude)- I'm pretty sure that Kandi Burruss is the girlfriend that Fantasia is talking to in this interlude, but I couldn't get Google to confirm that for me. I'm not a big fan of interludes, especially talking ones, so this is skippable to me. The last few minutes are a gospel-esque lead in to the next track.

5. Without Me featuring Kelly Rowland & Missy Elliot- By far, this is my favorite track on the album. It starts out with a slowed down, masculine sounding ad-lib that's reminiscent of "I Been On" by Beyoncé before going into what may be the sexiest sounding rhetorical question ever.

6. Side Effects Of You- This is Fantasia's crossover song. It's a very soaring, soft-rock sound.

7. Get It Right- Very old school, call and response type of song that would make James Brown and the fathers and mothers of soul music proud. This song would probably be really fun to watch Fantasia perform live.

8. So Much To Prove- Diva anthem. This song was probably in the back of Oliva Pope's mind during the much celebrated "Earn me" scene.

9. Change Your Mind- She pays homage to the late Whitney Houston's "I'm Your Baby Tonight" in this one. Love it.

10. Lighthouse- Fantasia does a little rapping in this motivational track.

11. Lose To Win- This is possibly another crossover song. I love the message about having to go through hardships to win in the end. This song shows a very strong side of Fantasia.

12. End Of Me-  In this interview with's Billy Johnson, Jr. , she mentions that her "baby Quincy Jones" is London-based producer Harmony Samuels, who I think did a great job showcasing the different sides of Fantasia's voice, especially in this song. Very passionate.

13. In Deep- I think this song is what Fantasia was referring to in the above mentioned interview by Billy Johnson, Jr. when she said that if you listen to this album carefully, you'll know where she's been, where she is now, and where she's going. This song must be where she is going...she's going deeper into knowledge of herself, and with that comes wisdom.

I love to follow artists that grow with each album, and Fantasia presents a very human and triumphant journey that I look forward to hearing more about in her future projects. My grade for this album is an A+.