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Jennifer Hudson: I Remember Me

B

Jennifer Hudson

Album: I Remember Me
Label: Arista

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Jennifer Hudson’s powerful alto isn’t built for subtlety, and she uses it to its full potential on I Remember Me, cranking her performance to 11 regardless of whether any given song warrants it. Thankfully, most of the album’s tracks deserve such bravado. I Remember Me is packed with empowered (and empowering) anthems that inevitably climax with Hudson’s vocal fireworks: The should-have-been-album-opener “I Got This” soars on rich Stargate production and Hudson’s theatrics, the bouncy title track builds from a smooth R&B jam to a gospel-tinged sing-along, and “Everybody Needs Love” and “Don’t Look Down” let Hudson indulge her inner disco diva. Hudson tends to over-sing the ballads, which can get a bit maudlin—especially the Diane Warren-penned chest-thumper “Still Here”—though the R. Kelly-written-and-produced “Where You At” manages a comparatively subtler, sexy groove, and sounds pretty much exactly like you’d expect an R. Kelly song sung by Jennifer Hudson to sound. I Remember Me can occasionally get a touch exhausting in its relentless emoting. But considering that Hudson turned a seventh-place finish on American Idol into one of the most successful careers that franchise has seen, she has plenty of reason to shout from the rooftops.