We were left wondering why Chrisette Michele had disappeared after she lent her flawless vocals to the too cool “Aston Martin Music” in 2010. She comes back strong on her third album and introduces us to a new vibe with Better, and with a subtle stylistic change to a refreshing and modern feel, she still manages to maintain that balance between the old and the new without sacrificing her signature vocals, and even reminds us of the street credibility she’s garnered with collaborations with Wale and 2 Chainz, showing us once more why she’s beloved by so many different audiences.
Chrisette Michele must have gotten her heart broken pretty badly during her hiatus because this album serves as her diary entry that tells us she’s ready to try again. The 20-track album may seem a little overwhelming, but that’s just because, like most chicks, Chrisette Michele has quite the emotional range, and she’s honest enough to know how to explain. The album opens up with “Be In Love” a testament to her willingness to put her heart on a platter regardless of whoever’s ready to stab at it. And the album just picks up from there. “A Couple of Forevers” is the album’s real showstopper and it’s only the second track. It offers a lot more than a quintessential O’Jays sample—in it we find airiness, a great melody, and cutesy lyrics that aren’t too flowery. The violins dance to the opening and her voice whispers some kind of feeling to us as she sings, “…And I’m not asking for much, just a couple of forever’s/I’m the only one, you’re the only one/Together ‘til never…” It’s breathtaking, and everyone’s future wedding song.
We’re so glad Chrisette Michele took the time out to address the irony of the rich hipster in the aptly named “Rich Hipster,” not only because we’re so tired of the fake poor Williamsburg veganista, but because she made room for a light song on an emotionally dense album—something that mocks popular culture was just enough to tell us she didn’t completely fall off the face of the planet.
You’ll find most of the great songs on the first half of the album. Songs like “Love Won’t Leave Me Out” and “Snow” have a great instrumental and the sudden chord changes make it beautiful. Her staccato vocal drops from note to note and she’s begging us to realize that she’s still got it. As her voice skips on the title track “Better,” she sings, “Cupid help me please, cause mister wrong keeps meeting me/And I got a funny feeling love’s around the corner…/Love’s gotta make me feel better, better, better.” On this album, she touches on the ups and downs of love, but really looks forward to more ups; a rare feat for someone who we can only assume has been stung by it so badly. We wish she had made more noise about it this album. It’s definitely worth paying attention to.