REVIEW: Sy Smith’s ‘Fast and Curious’

Singer/songwriter Sy Smith carves her own lane and genre with her latest effort, ‘Fast and Curious’. Having teamed up with producer Mark de Clive Lowe, the New York songstress delivers a fun and up-tempo sound on the 11-track LP, which was released on March 6th, 2012.

Instead of sticking with the traditional slow jams or venturing too far into the electro-dance sound in today’s R&B era, Sy brings back the funky groove vibe, with the addition of a dab of house and electronic soul. Together, Sy and Mark have managed to thoroughly create an ’80s-inspired tribute album to the sounds that have influenced music today. Coupled with her topnotch storytelling lyrics and soulful vocal abilities, the album is a complete package.

Starting off the synth-heavy album is the title track “The Fast and the Curious,” which ultimately gets the groove started, as Sy sings about the females that are not quite ready to settle down: “The fast and the curious, they love for the fun / They’ll wine & dine ya, sixty nine, play with ya mind / And then they move on to another one.”

The album flows effortlessly, with each track strategically placed to keep the boogie going. On the nearly 7-minute single “Personal Paradise,” the jazzy music plays for over a minute before we even hear Sy’s voice. Her soft vocals complement the steamy lyrics perfectly on the dance-inspired song: “Exploration of my pressure points of no return / You discovered my ability to love and learn / Now I’m here to love you freely with little concern / ‘Cos your passion’s like a fire that I live to burn.”

Sy also pays tribute to the jazz funk group The Rah Band on the album with “Messages From The Stars” and recruits Rashaan Patterson for the cover of Billy Ocean’s classic song “Nights.” On “Teena (Lovergirl Sybersized),” Sy brings back her well-known underground neo-soul sound as she slows it down tremendously with a tribute to the legendary Teena Marie.

Another standout cut would be the sensual jam “The Ooh To My Aah” as Sy gets intimate as the title suggests. Her whispery vocals fit the throbbing bass perfectly for a seductive love affair.

Intentional or not, Sy Smith has managed to find a clever and creative way to deliver an album that maintains her underground sound, while modern enough for commercial success. ‘Fast and Curious’ is a must-have for fans of funky jazz, fans of soul, fans of house, and just fans of music, period.