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CD REVIEW: Jodie Levinson - In the City
By Cyrus Rhodes - 04/20/2011 - 11:53 PM EDT

Artist: Jodie Levinson
Album: In the City
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: R&B
Sounds Like: Vanessa Williams, Mariah Carey, Expose
Technical Grade: 10./10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 8/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 8/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Lazy Sunday, Matter of Taste, In the City
Weakness: A few winded songs
CD Review:

New York's own Jodie Levinson her debut CD entitled In the City in 2010. CD was produced by Lisa Ratner (Barbra Streisand, Vanessa Williams, Dolly Parton).   

The CD kicks things off with “Quad Va T’]Il Arriver” a sassy intro piece that serves up easy flowing dance grooves, against honey coated vocal layering & catchy chorus from Levinson. Track 2 “You Make me Smile” dishes out yet another metro-driven ditty against driving jazzy rock groove, catchy harmonies & well placed vocal accents. Track 3 “Lazy Sunday” shifts gears with infectious melody & hip hop groove with & off the hook chorus where Levinson lets it all hang out. As the CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical textures reminiscent of classic acts like Expose, Mariah Carey, & Vanessa Williams. The music itself is an impressive blend of modern dance pop, soul with a Latin aftertaste. Levinson’s voice goes down smooth, & is full of flavor, passion, honesty & slight vulnerability. Levinson definitely knows how to fill the sonic space with her voice & she also brings to the table everything you would expect from an artist within this genre. She's got a spicy look, infectious persona, & strong vocal presence. You will also catch brilliant flashes of bold honesty & vulnerability that can’t be faked. Levinson really makes the (singer to listener) connection with all the aforementioned. The songs themselves are short & sweet musical experiences, each one possessing unique personality, flair, & signature groove. You will also notice rich layers of dynamic instrumentation layered within the music - from piano, jazz guitar, keyboards, strings, horns, organ & well placed percussive accents. From heartfelt “Books, Tea” to defiant “Grass Ain’t Green” & the title track to upbeat “Matter of Taste” to bluesy “Rough Boys” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with “Like the Rain” a perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.

It's hard to find any solid weaknesses with this production. I don’t really care for the rap sequence on track 3 as it sounds out of place. All tracks over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. Perhaps Levinson could use a tad more vocal passion especially during some of the final moments some of the songs. Don't be afraid to release lightning in a bottle.  

Overall the debut CD from Jodie Levinson is a rock solid debut statement. At the end the day Levinson knows how to work it, but just venerable enough to really win your heart over. She's doesn't give off any "Tainted Goods" factor, in fact her voice is rather pure & somewhat innocent. She definably brings a lot to the table: her voice, her look, her persona, her youth & yes her personality. Her best songs are clearly the ones that are spicy, seductive & "bring the groove." Kudos also goes out to the production brilliance of Lisa Ratner - a true professional. If Levinson just so happens to be a good dancer & can deliver a slam dunk live presentation - well this would make her extremely dangerous.

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