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Released: 14th May 2007.

Amerie - Because I Love ItThere's something different about Amerie. She possesses something that many of her fellow American female R&B singers lack: creativity. She doesn't stick to one genre, she uses her voice in different styles, and her music explores various techniques and instrumentation. All of this is evident in her new album, the follow-up to 2005's highly underrated "Touch".

Lead single "Take Control" is the perfect invitation to the album, a storming R&B-dance anthem, perfectly showing off Amerie's smooth vocals, and giving the listener a taster of what's to come in the album.

Amerie is not only able to get people on the dance floor, but we also hear her soulful side on tracks like "When Loving You Was Easy" and "All Roads", which also show us how brilliant her voice really is, as this quality is not as noticeable in the singles she has released so far.

The versatile singer's sexy side is revealed in the lush "Crazy Wonderful", backed by an 80s-inspired beat, reminiscent of early Janet Jackson. And Amerie's versatility is furthered as she continues to experiment throughout the album, especially in one of the album's highlights "Some Like It". The melody is irritatingly familiar, but the song itself varies in style, making it interesting and different. "Crush", on the other hand, is more of a 'slow jam', but way more instant than similar songs by other female artists.

But the album's stand-out track has to be the energetic "Gotta Work", which some would say could be a continuation of Amerie's hit single "1 Thing" (also included on the album as a bonus track). Complete with a funky beat and trumpets galore, "Gotta Work" is catchy and uplifting - and would be so even if it didn't contain its positive, upbeat message in the lyrics.

All in all, Amerie has delivered a varied, fresh and exciting album which puts her in a league of her own, and sets her apart from the usually formulaic Beyonc

* * * * * (Martin P)

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