EP review: Ginette Claudette - All the way back

Ginette Claudette - All the way back | Random J Pop

You may not have heard of Ginette Claudette, which is understandable. She's part of the club of R&B chicks who have been ghosted by commercial success. But thanks to an age where anybody with an internet connection can distribute music, Ginette may be lost within the noise, but she's here. At least for the time being. Until Sprint cuts a bitch off.

Ginette Claudette had released her debut full length in 2014, largely produced by Rico Love, who was writing and producing for a who's who list of popular R&B artists around 2008. From Beyoncé and Usher to Keri Hilson and Ciara. (No laughing). It was a good album, but it gave you no real sense of who Ginette was as an artist; something which seemed to be a symptom of anything Rico Love worked on. Brandy's Two eleven album suffered the same fate. Something about Rico's music strips an artist of their character and nuance, even an artist as dexterous as Beyoncé. "Sweet dreams" was cute. But no amount of Beyoncé screaming about a bad dream involving Jay-Z putting it on Becky whilst Beyoncé cries with her wig lopsided in the room next door could mask how generic that song was in comparison to a jam like "Single ladies (Put a ring on it)" which was unmistakably Beyoncé.

All the way back, just as the title implies takes Ginette back to just Ginette. This isn't a coming of age record and there are no deep introspective cuts here. What we get is a short and sweet EP full of love songs. Tried and tested, sure. But it works.

In such few tracks, Ginette covers a lot of ground. She has crafted a selection of songs which feel as though they could each be singles and be affiliated to a particular time of year or setting. "All the way back" is moody piano-laden R&B jam. "Jump" is your mid-tempo Autumnal throwback. "Options" is your Summer banger. "The most" is your all year round ballad. "Must be crazy" is your sexy slow jam for when you and your boo are on good terms. "Next to you" is a sexy slow jam for when you and your boo aren't on the best of terms, but you know you're both gon' end up having sex and that it will be really bomb. Even if it means that you both roll over to separate sides of the bed afterwards and don't talk for the rest of the night. No two songs on this EP sound alike and each sounds self contained. But yet, they sit nicely together. The common theme of love which runs through each track helps create an overarching narrative with a clear beginning, middle and end.

Note: Versions of the album on streaming platforms do not include the track "Must be crazy". The song samples Sade's "By your side", which I imagine is part of the reason why it was taken off of the re-issue and replaced with "Time". An odd choice which doesn't really fit in with the rest of the album in the same way that "Must be crazy" did. Oddly enough, the original version of the EP with "Must be crazy" is still available on Ginette's Soundcloud account, along with the original and less MS Paint looking ass album cover.

Ginette may not have the range of Beyoncé or the tone of Brandy, but she has a good voice and she's become much more adept with it since her debut. Ginette owns the mood of each song and shows greater dexterity than you'd expect going off of the lead album titled track alone. Okay. Maybe dexterity is too strong a word to describe what Ginette give and is able to give. But she has a certain way in which she puts it down on a track and she sells every song on this EP. Ginette also has a quality to her voice that blends with the music. She weaves in and out of the music to the point where she becomes the music itself. And there are odd moments throughout where Ginette will hit a note and pull something out of the bag that will make you lean right back with your hand on your chest like 'Did a bitch just-'."The most" is a great showcase of not just Ginette's vocals, but her delivery and also her confidence in them both. The song is tripped back completely to nothing but an acoustic guitar and strings. When that key change hits? BIIIIIIIIIIIIITCH.

The production on this album is tight as fuck. Don't let anybody tell you that only big million dollar producers can produce fire, because I cannot recall anything that Timabalnd has produced within the past 4 years by himself that was even lukewarm. Pharrell be out here giving chick's incomplete demo's as singles. And both of them gave Justin Timberlake nonsense for his Shit in the woods album. All the way back is void of gimmicks or trends.  Just solid, well produced R&B. The production is pretty meticulous and you can hear that the mission for this album was to deliver an EP which hearkens back to the R&B of the late 90s and 2000s.

All the way back really surprised me. I wasn't sure of what to expect, but I certainly wasn't expecting to be hit with what was easily one of the better R&B efforts that I'd heard in quite some time. What may go against Ginette in the long run, is that whilst she delivers a set of great songs, there's nothing wonderfully distinct about them or her voice in the greater context. And she certainly doesn't have that 'it' factor that could make her a marketable star. But that doesn't take away from the fact that she delivered a solid EP, and for that, she deserves to be checked out.

RATING: 9/10

Album highlights:
All the way back
■ Jump
■ Options
■ Must be crazy
The most ★ J's fave

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