Maybe it's the minor key piano flourishes, or the emotionally honest narrative, but there's something about "The Way That I Love You," the smash single from Ashanti's THE DECLARATION, that harks back to the vintage 1970s soul of Gloria Gaynor and Roberta Flack. The contemporary R&B singer's fourth studio album is both familiar and compelling.
Yet Ashanti's sound is never retro. Steeped in hip-hop beats and state-of-the-art production, THE DECLARATION marries passionate expression to urban contemporary standards in a way that will please fans of Mary J. Blige, Janet Jackson, and Faith Evans. This confident, convincing release is one of Ashanti's best.