15 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.

EDITORS’ NOTES

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.

Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics.
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Ratings and Reviews

4.8 out of 5
20 Ratings

20 Ratings

cj41 ,

Wow! Again...

I can not stop singing the praises of Lyfe Jennings. Before he really became popular, I saw his music video "Must Be Nice" and was compelled to buy "Lyfe 268-192". Lyfe really is consistenly great, and at the same time continues to improve. Now that he has become popular, more people are enjoying the work of Lyfe. Unlike Lyfe 268-192, Lyfe Change incorporates a bit more hip hop, but not too much to distract you from the smooth and sincere R&B that Lyfe does so well. Another great album from Lyfe great if you like Lyfe or you are just hearing him for the first time.

btaznpride ,

Lyfe Jennings-Lyfe Change

R&B artist Lyfe Jennings, first came onto the scene through his gritty realities, serious and truthful messages. With his debut going platinum, The Phoenix going gold, he hopes to continue his streak with Lyfe Change.

Keep On Dreaming: Simplistic production, drums, bass guitar and soft strings introduce you, as Lyfe sings quick lines. Lyrically it is nicely written, but kind of lacks that soulful singing, its more of Lyfe just telling you. The hook is where the track shines, as more instruments join in and it is a call to keep on doing what you do, keep dreaming. 3.5/5
Warriors: Piano keys lightly guide this bass bumping midtempo, as electric guitar comes through every once in a while. The hook isn’t bad, but sounds slightly Wyclef-ish. Decent track. 3/5
Never Never Land: A slower midtempo that could have been taken at a slower tempo, it still works. The second single, “Never Never Land” has a nice hook that can get a little annoying after a while, but blends nicely with the track. The smooth and soulful lyrics flow seamlessly, as Lyfe breaks it down at the bridge, singing in a high pitched voice in the background. Solid single that is another good Lyfe track. 4/5
Brand New: Lyfe refreshes The Stylistics “You Make Me Feel Brand New” into a fresher and more modern track. The uptempo production is nicely crafted, as Lyfe puts in some lyrical saying of “click your heel three times cause there's no place like home” . The hook is nicely done and cleverly redone, about how you were never brand new and is about how, despite the money and fame, you stayed true and never got brand new. Cleverly redone and throw a worthy T.I. verse, you got a solid track. 3.5/5
It’s Real: The track has a slow and droning vibe of fat beats and slight seductiveness to it. The track has a good message of wrapping it up and protecting yourself from AIDS, but it doesn’t come through like it should. The lyrics get a little annoying, due to Jennings’ singing style. He almost sounds a little whiny, and not that strong soulful voice we love. 2.5/5
Cops Up: The first single that truly showed Lyfe was changing his style up a bit, it had a more uptempo feel. The drums were smooth and soft, as the track works as a chilled party track. The vocoderized hook, actually works and sounds really good with the production, about a player who just got his heart shot, so call the cops up. Lyfe blends well with the track and it's a solid banger. 4/5
You Think You Got It Bad: The reggae infused “You Think You Got It Bad” is more of a Wyclef Jean track. He is featured, having a verse and assisting Lyfe on the hook, and helping produce the track. Lyfe’s contribution to the track is minimal and is overtaken by Jean, which isn’t bad, but this is Lyfe’s album. Good track that is chilled throughout, but surprisingly and oddly goes uptempo. 3/5
Wild, Wild, Wild: Bass guitar grooving “Wild, Wild, Wild” has some brass and organs to assist, as Lyfe hooks up with Clef for another track. This one works much better than the previous, due to the increased performance of Lyfe. Clef adds on the hook, while Lyfe croons smoothly and sings about how girls “have gone wild, wild, wild.” The track builds nicely. 3.5/5
Midnight Train: Lyfe tries something new, aiming to a broader audience, as this track is seemingly radio aimed and pop sounding. Its easy listening, trying to be a smooth rolling track that will have success on the radio. The acoustic guitar, solemn strings and building at the hook which has light croons by Lyfe. The track is a smooth ballad that will be enjoyable to a broader audience, but at the bridge it goes a little out of Lyfe’s style. 4/5
Hmmm: The light humming by Lyfe is nice, which fans heard in the beginning of the “Cops Up” video. Its catchy and smooth, as electric guitar joins, while Lyfe connects nicely here. Smooth and relaxing, Lyfe does well here, even if there is a little too much electric guitar and ad libbing at the hook. 3.5/5
Old School: Really liked the vibe of the track, uptempo and filled with some raw soul. Lyfe speaks on his whips, using cunning metaphors “I got this old school, the color of soul food, candy yam raisin stripes, pipes potato whites, corn bread interior, crammed colored collard greens…chicken pork rice and beans”. Strings, piano and light bumping production make this a likeable track, and who better than the laid back cool Snoop to drop a verse. 4/5
Will I Ever: Electric guitar introduces you, as the track goes into a ballad like feel. Light guitars play in the back, as Lyfe sings about finding that one person that is special. The track is nice, possessing an uplifting feel and one for the couples to rock to. The soulfulness of the track is welcomed and something that makes Lyfe special. 4/5
Baby I’m A Star: Decent production, the track is a little sparse though, singing wise. More of an outro, with a nice hook and production. 3/5

Lyfe’s third album is nicely done. I was a little unsure at first, but Lyfe still proves he’s got it and is able to transition from the gritty soulful street Lyfe to a softer and mellower singer. Lyfe Change was to represent the change in Lyfe’s style, it proves to be a worthy move. Not necessarily topping his other offerings, but another solid album from Lyfe who is building quite a resume of music. I wonder how much Wyclef impacted this album, because Clef loves to play the electric guitar (evident from his Carnival II) and a lot of the productions have guitar solos. Also, Lyfe’s singing has a slight reggae to it in some songs, evident of Jean’s influences. Whatever it may be, Lyfe delivers another great album, “Never Never Land” is a nice midtempo, “Cops Up” is a chilled club banger, and “Brand New” is cleverly redone. “Old School” has a raw old school vibe, “Will I Ever” is a solid ballad, “Midnight Train” is bound for pop success, and “Hmmm” is a smooth listen. Overall the album is relaxed, soulful and smooth R&B that only Lyfe can produce.
Rating 7.5 out of 10

Vinny ,

Soulful and real.

Lyfe Jennings isn't only a talented singer-songwriter, he is also a guitarist, pianist, and bassist. Lyfe branched out and worked with various different producers to help make a fresh new sound for this album, and it worked out well. The album includes collaborations with Snoop Dogg, Wyclef Jean and T.I. The standout among these collaborations is "You Think You've Got It Bad," the Wyclef collaboration. The song has a Caribbean vibe, it's great chill music with lyrics that can make you think. Lyfe and Wyclef sound great singing together on this track. Other highlights on the album are "Midnight Train," and the second single, "Never Never Land." The latter is a soulful track, in which Lyfe sings "they will never understand what it is to be a man." The former, "Midnight Train," is a guitar driven track that is musically similar to something John Mayer would do. Of course, Lyfe's unique voice makes this track very soulful. The song makes reference to the Gladys Knight and the Pips classic, "Midnight Train to Georgia." It seems Lyfe has an affinity for interpolating classics, as he does it again "Brand New," which features T.I. On this song, hesamples Johnny Nash's "I Can See Clearly Now." On another standout, "Wild, Wild, Wild," Lyfe keeps it real, discussing all the novelties and gimmicks that make some people stars in this industry. The natural soulful quality of his voice and his music, and his many throwback moments gives the album a nostalgic feel that reminds the listener of the goodness of classic soul music. Definitely pick this one up if you're looking for a laid back, soulful R&B album.

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