Breaking into the radio-friendly R&B world is not a task that many people in their right mind would try with so much competition. However, that is just what New Jersey’s Victoria White is trying to do with her debut album, The Upside. She’s even trying to do it without the bustiers and complicated dance moves. And it’s true, amidst the half-dressed, oil-lathered nymphs splashed across magazine covers and music channels, there exists a world of Jill Scotts and India.Aries. While White isn’t exactly a part of that scene, those are definitely the ladies she’d lunch with.
Truth be told, White’s is the kind of music that would play over the really dramatic scenes in early-‘90s romantic comedies. Far from being a slight, that is meant to be a compliment—because everyone knows early-‘90s romantic comedies are the best romantic comedies, a treasure trove of believable and desirable emotion in a genre that easily becomes overly sappy and systematic. Sound familiar? Who knew that romantic comedies and R&B had so much in common?
The Upside contains 11 tracks of sultry, downtempo R&B—not the plastic, paint-by-numbers imitations radio is so inundated with today. Far from preying on the sap-factor, “Girl of Your Dreams” is an honest rejection of the fairytale standards of love put forth by, ahem, romantic comedies and popular love songs. It is also worth noting that not only do the liner notes contain a photo of White holding a guitar, she actually plays the thing on nearly every song on the album.
Just like romantic comedies, R&B is easily written off by both males and females alike, but every once in a while there comes along that one film that everybody can agree is not only watchable, but re-watchable. Thus, if Ashanti was Over Her Dead Body, then White would be Pretty Woman. If Jordin Sparks was The Lake House, then White would be Four Weddings and a Funeral. Put simply, (minus all this useless metaphor), White is worth checking out.
Writer: Jaclyn Arndt