Toronto's R&B star-in-waiting delivers a raw, vulnerable magnum opus.
When we last heard from local R&B songstress Andreena, she was applying her unique vocal talents to covering various hip-hop hits. This time around, she’s doing something completely different, delivering raw, emotionally vulnerable vocals over a hugely diverse array of beats.
Naked doesn’t have a lot of over-the-top vocal gymnastics. It’s not that Andreena’s not capable of it. She is, and shows the full power of her voice on songs like “As Deep as Your Love” and “Mike and Maggie.” But for most of the album, she sings with restraint, drawing attention to her ability to emote with her voice and paint pictures with the lyrics. The best example of this is the dark, moody “Monsters” and the wistful “Blue.” (You can listen to “Monsters” by clicking on the sample above.)
Naked isn’t all darkness and introspection, though. “My Boo” is a perfect chunk of fluffy, danceable pop-R&B, complete with an earworm chorus, a skittering hi-hat beat, and a call-and-response breakdown that makes it almost irresistible. “Dirty” is a sexy grind that features Zapp & Roger-style talkbox backing vocals.
The production on Naked is equally impressive. Most of the cuts were co-produced by Andreena, and they run the gamut from the big pop orchestrals of “Song Cry” to the acoustic guitar-driven “Anything” and the ’80s-synth-influenced “Oh Boy.”
If there’s one problem with Naked, it’s that it’s long. At 22 tracks, there’s some filler on this album, but it’s pretty easily overlooked.
Andreena has been Toronto’s R&B star-in-waiting for a while now. If there’s any justice in the world, Naked will be enough to push her to the next level.