What sets Lyfe Jennings apart from so many of his R&B contemporaries is his conviction. When he sings, you feel he is behind his lyrics 100%, and the depth of his life experience — 10 years in prison, starting at age 14 — is embedded in every fiber of his voice. His previous album, The Phoenix, was a deeply personal piece of work that showcased Jennings’ songwriting skills and had him introducing every track with a spoken word explanation. While Lyfe Change is a clear attempt to expand his commercial appeal by working with a variety of producers (his previous works were primarily self-produced) and more mainstream material, the performances never feel cheap or hackneyed. “Never Never Land” and “Baby I’m A Star” embrace a pop-oriented R&B feel and “Midnight Train” is a song in search of an adult contemporary audience, but the majority of the album sticks closely to Jennings’ original vision: passionate songs with a positive, determined message. Nowhere is this better defined than on the roots reggae infusion of “You Think You’ve Got It Bad,” a piece of near-gospel about accepting and struggling in an unforgiving world.