R&B veteran LeToya Luckett is finally Back 2 Life, eleven years after her first solo album and eight years after her sophomore.
Back 2 Life is a return to what transformed LeToya from one of Destiny’s Children into a platinum-selling solo star; steamy urban cuts and club bangers interspersed with tender R&B ballads. “Show Me”, a retro funky-flavored bop, and the seductively soothing “In the Name” are among Back 2 Life’s more iridescent moments (“In the Name”’s lush intro is the thing tour openings are made of). “Worlds Apart”, the album’s Big Ballad Moment, is by far the LP’s stand-out vocal performance. The moreish, soul-drenched number hears LeToya exercise those brilliantly rich vocal chords, which the diva hasn’t really showcased in the eight years it took for Back 2 Life to hit ears. Back 2 Life’s acme is unquestionably the title track; its sombre R&B sounds sonically pinpoint the vulnerable realities of a painfully toxic relationship. “I love you even though you’re not good for me,” LeToya gloomily declares after a sampling of Soul II Soul’s iconic “Back to Life” during the theatrical chorus.
The otherwise-stunning artwork for Back 2 Life is tainted by the banal usage of Xtreem, a font overused since Britney “TOO Relevant” Spears popularized it back in 2013. Similarly, Back 2 Life’s lyrics do not really alight the soul with excitement either, feeling predictable enough that you could sing an upcoming line from one of the verses before even hearing it (“You know what I’ma say before I say it,” LeToya ironically coos on “My Love”). It’s no real biggie though, because LeToya’s bright and powerful vocals deliver those humdrum words with pure beauty and pizzazz. The burgeoning actress rectified those small missteps with short films for Back 2 Life’s two singles, which see LeToya dazzling audiences with her acting skills in a gripping love story.
Despite putting out her most solid body of work to date, the Houston native is not obsessing over Back 2 Life’s chart position. “At the end of the day, it’s not about the sales. It’s about expressing myself. It’s allowing me to share what’s in my heart,” LeToya admirably remarked of her latest record. As you’ll hear, Back 2 Life is a record which revitalized the diva’s passion for music and LeToya’s musical career is thankfully back to life, back to reality.