Philly’s Vivian Green is back. In 2002, Green released her debut album, A Love Story, then in the spring of 2005, 3 years after the release of her debut album, Green released her second studio album Vivian. Her 3rd album titled Beautiful was released April 6, 2010. And her 4th album The Green Room was released on October 9, 2012, making Vivid her 5th release. She’s been around a while, having been the first artist signed to rapper/producer Kwamé’s record label, Make Noise Recordings in 2014.
“I think it’s important to share my experiences and that’s what I’ve always done from the very beginning,” says Green. “The empowering messages within the music, that part is constant. I definitely need a change. I feel that my music needed something different. It’s still definitely empowering lyrics, just not as much sadness. More empowerment, less sadness,” she adds laughingly. Vivian Green, now a mother says she is simply in a different place in her life and describes this new album as “a breath of fresh air”. Vivid was released on August 7th and Vivian wants to remind fans that the power behind her music is still there, but this time around she hopes to give a more empowering sound and make you dance. And Vivid is definitely an energetic, lush collection of R&B/neo soul jams.
One of the best aspects of this project is that it does not overstay its welcome and moves along quite swiftly, being only 13 tracks, with 3 of them being interludes – an intro and an outro, and one being a set up for a song. Her son Jordan gets the introduction to the album, with a sweet audio clip of him choosing appropriate words to describe his mother, words that start with the letter “V”. Even her song writing reflects more of that playful side of her personality. Songs like “I’m Not Broken,” “Get Right Back to My Baby,” “Count Your Blessings” and “Disrespectful” are among the most memorable tracks, dealing with love and pain, relationships and some of the deepest human emotions. Those are also among my favorite songs on the album, including the final song before the outro, “Leave It All Behind,” and probably the best example of a dance track on this album: “Work.”
What makes these songs in particular stand out, at least for me, is a combination of the production, the songwriting and how her vocals carry over the hook. “Get Right Back to My Baby” has a small taste of something from the ’90s, with the sample that is being used. It is addictive, along with the chorus. “Disrespectful” was set up nicely with the “Cayman Kelly” interlude, and the spanish guitar being layered in with the otherwise R&B atmosphere makes it memorable. Caymen Kelly is a radio host, who introduces the concept of wanting a man so bad that you wish you never wanted him to begin with, and that unhealthy back-and-forth cycle. Which pretty much lets you know what “Disrespectful” is about. “Count Your Blessings” meditates on her dreams as a teenager and her love of music and those simple, small things being more than enough to sustain happiness, and the song is well executed with her songwriting and indelible hooks. On almost each and every song, Vivian is able to hold the songs toghether with an incredibly catchy hook.
“Im Not Broken” showcases the vibrant and lush production that is coursing all throughout the album. “Work,” as I mentioned earlier, is by far the most dance-friendly beat on here, soulful and a bit of funk thrown in for good measure. “The One That Got Away” is the first track that begins th album right after the intro, and it feels like it brings us into the album on a bed of clouds, with the light synths and piano. “123” is probably the most upbeat, positive sounding record on Vivid, that seems to express nothing but pure joy, in Vivian detailing how easily she can leave your trifiling ass.
Overall, Vivid is a fun little R&B project, that is a nice cut above the usual calibur of Neo Soul/R&B that is released.
But what does Vivian Green want fans to take away from Vivid?
“I want them to be empowered by it because it’s a very powerful record. I want people to walk away feeling that way. No matter what the contents of the song, be it spiritual, strong, a sad love song, upbeat, they all have a message of empowerment that goes throughout the whole theme of the album. And you can workout to it, you can clean the house to it, play it at work, you can drive, do a long road trip with it. I want people to live with it.”