Despite it being over 10 years between her debut album and its follow up, Teedra Moses is one name that has managed to stay on soul music lovers lips. This could be partly due to her hustle -- she has released a number of mixtapes and EPs and is always performing a show somewhere -- but mostly thanks to Moses’ angelically sweet vocals, honest lyrics and musicality. The New Orleans native made a huge impact with her 2004 debut, Complex Simplicity, and when the label she was signed to, TVT Records, went bankrupt, the realization hit home on what the R&B world would be missing if they were denied more music from Moses. Now, after false starts and much patience from fans, she is back with her proper sophomore album through Shanachie Records, Cognac & Conversation.
Has Cognac & Conversation been worth the wait? In short, yes. The lyrical content that helps create that Moses magic is ever present. There's the confident sensuality of album opener "R UScared," the unapologetic sass of "International Playboi" and the raw honesty replete on the stirring finale, "No Regrets." Teedra's honey-coated vocals wash over the listener’s soul as production from Trackademicks, Thaddeus Dixon, Charles "Uncle Chucc" Hamilton, Donald " Donnie Cash" Whittemore and Roosevelt "Bink" Harrell III bring the slow burning heat that simply seals the deal.
The first two singles, "Get It Right" and "That One" featuring Anthony Hamilton, are the hazy, mellow R&B numbers that are expected from Moses. On the latter, Moses and Hamilton lay their hearts bare on this wedding night-ready number, while the former sees the sultry songstress making her reasonable demands to her lover. The album also sees some previously released gems that were floating around find their place, such as the Rick Ross-assisted “All I Ever Wanted” and the aforementioned “International Playboi.” But it’s about 10 songs in that things get really interesting, as Moses takes the listener on a journey into her soul and into soulful electronic territory on "Skin Diver" and the result is mesmerizing. Produced by Boddhi Satva, the track is a standout on an already outstanding album, and while it may be a departure from the lioness’ trademark style, the track is very much at home nestled between the 14 other tracks and interludes on Cognac & Conversation.
The balance of classic Teedra Moses style with her new sounds and that always welcome realness, creates an album that doesn’t have any weak points; it’s consistent and captivating from start to finish. This is the kind of album that is played to set a mood -- whether that mood is to set the tone to watch Netflix and chill, to get the vibe right to go out dancing with your girls or to cruise down the coast on a lazy summer’s afternoon. Cognac & Conversation feels like exactly the natural progression from her beloved debut, and after an 11-year wait, it’s the well-deserved cognac and deep conversation that fans have been craving.