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CD REVIEW: Coko - "Grateful"
By Gian F - 11/17/2006 - 03:31 AM EST

Artist: Coko
Album: "Grateful"
CD Review: Genre: Gospel
Sounds Like: Coko
Technical Grade: 10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10
Commercial Value: 9
Overall Talent Level: 10
Songwriting Skills: 10
Performance Skill: 10
Best Songs: Clap Your Hands With Me, The Reason, Grateful, Endow Me, I Get Joy
Weakness: None
CD Review: When reviewing one of the finest and most distinctive female voices in the industry, who happens to front SWV (one of my favorite female vocal trios), it's only natural to assume that I would have a bias. What I also had when I received this project was a perception of Coko as an R&B diva; that perception - along with its limitations - were quickly shattered with one listen to the first song, "Look At Me," in which she proclaims to have been set free and launches into a vocally demanding spiritual revival that demonstrates she is serious about Gospel music and the message she is delivering.

While the disc's second song, "Mighty God," can be viewed as a continuation of the opening sermon, Coko quickly displays her commercial savvy with the radio-friendly "Grateful," which is lyrically appealing and has pop sensibilities, but it is quickly overshadowed by the real commercial gem on this CD, "Clap Your Hands With Me," a foot-stomping, uplifting track that features aggressive strings, screaming horns, and a funky dance groove that would make Kirk Franklin envious. The only way you don't feel this song is if you don't have a pulse!

Coko settles down into the slower tracks of this CD at precisely the right time, and when she does, she is joined by her friends, Faith Evans, Lil' Mo, and Fantasia on "Endow Me," a song that can be used to illustrate the fine technique of true R&B singing to up-and-coming divas. Also of note are the mid-tempo tracks, "The Reason," and "I Promise," which are strong contenders for airplay as well.

This well-produced project radiates with sincerity and conviction and will leave you feeling spiritually refreshed, and Grateful.

Advice: You need none. Your plan is in God's hands.

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