Judgement Day: Pop Heaven or Hell? – Jennifer Hudson, Ne-Yo & Rick Ross – Think Like A Man

Jennifer Hudson’s vocal prowess has never been a point of contention; I’d say none of us would disagree about that.

What I think has prevented Jennifer’s musical career from skyrocketing the way her academy award winning role on “Dreamgirls” did, is that none of her solo music or videos has ever consistently lived up to her iconic performance in that film and in it’s pop-broadway soundtrack.

The flawlessness of the “Dreamgirls” songbook aside, Jennifer has made her share of great (albeit under-appreciated from pop perspective) tracks! Gems from her self-titled debut album like “Pocketbook” featuring Ludacris and singles: “Where You At?”and “No  One Gonne Love You” from her sophomore album “I Remember Me”, have become some of my own personal classics over repeated listens. Still, overall I don’t think her albums have been fresh and current enough to appeal as crossover smash hits.

Things have been changing as of late. R&B music seems to be shedding more of the artifice and moving back towards a more soulful, 90’s urban pop vibe. (See: “Love on Top”) After a hugely incredibly guest vocal on David Guetta’s “Night of Your Life” and performing a beautiful tribute to Whitney Houston at this year’s Grammy Awards – Hudson is more in the spotlight than ever and with the release of a new single alongside R&B hitmaker NeYo and Rick Ross, Hudson may be closer to an urban-pop crossover than ever!

Like many classic late 90’s and early 00’s urban-pop collaborations, “Think Like A Man”(from the latest Tyler Perry film of the same name) feels like an instant classic. It has a melody straight out of pop heaven and all of the vocal performances are flawless; NeYo is at his finest and Jennifer slays every note. That hook is unbelieveable! The two sound brilliant together. Not only is this song more fresh and hit worthy than any of Jennifer’s previous singles (the Guetta track aside), but the video is the best she’s released!

With the exception of the obligatory (but mostly very brief) clips from the film (Wait a second, was that Chris Brown I saw for a half-second?) the staging and camera work in this video is rather stylish and the choreography and fashion was beautiful. Before NeYo’s verse I can’t take my eyes off Jennifer, who is slaying the choreography better than most of her fellow divas (I’m looking at you, Mimi!). It makes the cursed film clips more amazing because I don’t want to stop watching her. She truly SHINES in this material.

NeYo is his usual stylish, sexy sangin; self and also looks good. His verse changes up the melody in a really great way and the two sound GREAT together. Rick Ross is… well.. alright but I’m not terribly familiar with any of his other work so I have no point of reference.

“Think Like A Man” is really one of the best things to come out of the urban pop world in a while! While I know pop radio is mostly dance right now, is it so wrong of me to believe that this song stands a good chance of catching on and being a pop hit?

Even if my hopes are off base, I do hereby declare that “Think Like A Man” in both song and video form, are a couple of gifts from Pop Heaven!



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