First things first; I'd be remiss if I didn't admit that I judge music by how it makes me feel. Maybe it's because I'm a woman. Or because I'm a Cancer. Or maybe both. But just know that I listen with a highly emotional ear. That said, The Ballad of Purple Saint James, the third full-length solo album by YahZarah managed to perfectly appeal to every emotion, especially the highs and lows of love found, only to be lost later.
YahZarah and fellow Foreign Exchange cohort Darien Brockington wax poetic about love's finer points on the sensual "All My Days." You know from the first line that this ain't no ordinary love, when she croons, "Bury me up to my neck in your love." Even if you've never experienced a love so intense, you definitely will want to by the time these two finish sweet-talking each other.
YahZarah feat. Darien Brockington: "All My Days"
She continues singing the praises of her love on the short, but oh-so-sweet "Dedicated To You." Though it clocks in just at 1:31, the tiny powerhouse manages to pack a wallop of a vocal punch into the short doo wop-style interlude that details all the ways she'd pay tribute to the apple of her eye.
Now when love takes a turn for the bad, it can get really bad, as evidenced by songs such as "Last to Leave," "Cry Over You" featuring Phonte and "Why Dontcha Call Me No More." The latter, which is also the album's first single, proves that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. YahZarah confronts a former lover about breaking her heart, even wishing his future daughter pain like hers. Cruel, yes, but we all know a broken heart doesn't always inspire us to send our kindest regards to the heartbreaker.
Another album standout is the absolutely lovely "Have a Heart." The song puts a different spin on the love triangle, tackling the subject from the P.O.V. of the mistress. Opening with a guitar intro reminiscent of vintage Isley Brothers, YahZarah pleads a convincing case for the conflicted other woman, who knowingly plays "the substitute so you won't have to choose." As harsh as I normally am on mistresses, I found myself sympathizing with her and her admission that despite knowing her position, the inescapable pull of love would stop her from walking away.
YahZarah: "Have A Heart"
All in all, The Ballad of Purple Saint James has been well worth the time it took for YahZarah to deliver it to the masses. A more complete, well-rounded offering than her past efforts, this album is sure to draw fans, new and old to the alluring vocalist.