Chrisette Michele is back with a brand new album, Milestone. It’s her first release in three years since 2013’s Better. Milestone is also the first album to be released on her own label, Rich Hipster via Caroline/Capital Records since her departure from Motown Records, and is executive produced by Michele’s former manager and now fiance, Doug “Biggs” Ellison, who is the inspiration behind the LP’s theme of unbounded, unconditional love. Four King Productions is a dominant force on the album, with their numerous call-outs on tracks like “Unbreakable” and “Equal”.
The album allows Michele to operate in any lane she chooses, and as such, the album presents many sounds. With its spectrum of styles, Milestone is what we have come to expect from today’s R&B music as it blends other genres including hip-hop. There are the typical odes to standard R&B topics including romance and heartbreak, while also presenting new styles; there isn’t one distinct tone to the album.
The album starts off promising but tapers off towards the end. Milestone shows a range of music styles, going from a trap-inspired records to something for the grown and sexy. “Steady” permeates the trap sound in the vein of Janelle Monáe’s “Yoga.” Records including “Meant To Be” and “Soulmate” represent Chrisette’s signature R&B sound. “Meant To Be” is a slow jam for the grown folks; it tugs at your heart with emotions of passion and love. “Soulmate” is a record that’s relatable for anyone who’s ever yearned for someone’s love: “I’m just one half without my soul / One-half with my soul”. Like “Soulmate, “Unbreakable” is another record that speaks to the importance of love; it’s an anthem of affection and dedication to her fiance Ellison. The hook states, “You could keep on trying / You can’t break a diamond / Our love’s on fire / Unbreakable love.” About the song, Michele explains, “I just wrote this song to say to everybody who may have pulled us apart, our love is unbreakable.”
Milestone allows Michelle to revisit past relationships too; it sees her team up again with former collaborator Rick Ross on “Equal,” a song that checks the ego of her man, played by Ross. The Maybach Music rapper declares “You know I love you girl. I apologize. It’s been too long,” in the opening sequence. “This song for me was closure to everything that happened in the past,” Chrisette explains.
Another track that lyrically stands out is “These Stones”, a record which takes aim at Michele’s “haters who are watching her and want to catch her slip.” As the old saying goes, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.” On the song, “Michele asks, “What gives you the right to cast these stones?” Many times you can’t help but wonder what went wrong in someone’s life for them to find joy in someone else’s misery, and Chrisette Michele is no different. She mentions, “I ain’t even gonna front. Sometimes I look at these trolls… who be on my page commenting. Did no one tell you, you were beautiful today? Go put you on some lipstick.”
All in all, Milestone is worth a listen. Is it a dominating album that will have your mind blown? Hmm, that’s subjective; for some, the theme may (sonically) seem all over the place, but it’s respectable in many ways; the album features clean production, and Chrisette Michele still showcases she’s a dominating talent with her wide range of vocals. It’s an understandable mixture of sounds and themes because it displays her growth as an artist, an individual, and business woman who’s letting her creative freedom shine as an indie label artist/owner. From this point forward, her success is more or less in her own hands, so only time will tell what the outcome will be.
Purchase Milestone on iTunes HERE!