Album review: ‘American Idol’s’ Candice Glover shines on ‘Music Speaks’

If you love big-voiced R&B singers, it”s a good time for you. First came Ruben Studdard”s “Unconditional,” a few weeks ago, followed by Toni Braxton and Babyface”s “Love, Marriage & Divorce.” Now, to complete the set, comes “Music Speaks” from “American Idol” season 12 winner Candice Glover.

Like “AI” season 2 winner Studdard, Glover has a big, open voice that retains its strength and power no matter how much she pushes. She”s a belter, and if opening track and first single, the underrated “Cried,” doesn”t prove it, there”s plenty more on “Music Speaks” to convince you.

The album stays mainly in the adult R&B vein, though she”s not afraid to stretch a little. “I”d Die Without You,” with its slinky electronic production, feels like a cut from a Seal album.  “Passenger” makes good use of loops and an echo track.

Different stylistic flourishes aside, Glover stays mainly in her sweet spot: singing mid-tempo tunes about love whether doomed (“Same Kinda Man” and “Damn”) or glorious (“Passenger”) or sultry (“Kiss Me”). A fun exception is the sassy, bouncy, flirty “In The Middle.”

There”s an unabashed swinging-for-the-fences feel here without any whiff of trying to be hip that is endearing. This is an album made for people who enjoy a great voice, even if the material doesn”t always live up to her abilities.

Glover doesn”t have the down-and-dirty anguish in her voice that fellow “American Idol” Fantasia has at her disposal and that hurts her when she can”t bring the requisite depth to a song like “Damn,” about falling for a married man (though she brings it to “Cried.”) That could be something that age and experience will bring because the raw talent is clearly there.

Glover includes her transcendent version of The Cure”s “Lovesong, ” which she performed on “AI” to a rousing response. She adds a lovely, jazzy tone to the song and sells it as if it were her own.  She’s an exciting new talent to watch.