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Jordin Sparks

Battlefield [Japan Bonus Track] [IMPORT]

Format: CD   Release Date: 08/18/2009
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Jordin Sparks didn't get any traction until she received a boost from Chris Brown via their duet "No Air," the one moment on her 2007 eponymous debut that felt unquestionably modern, so it makes perfect sense that her second album,Battlefield, ditches almost all lingering American Idol pageantry for stylized pop and RB pitched halfway between Rihanna (whose "S.O.S." is essentially rewritten here, with Shannon's "Let the Music Play" substituted for "Tainted Love") and Leona Lewis. Jordin has had enough success to hire some of 2009's biggest hitmakers in the business, including T-Pain and OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder. Most of these namebrands are recordmakers, not songwriters, so it's not a great surprise to find Battlefield works as a collection of productions where Jordin's voice is merely one element of the overall picture. This sentiment doesn't apply quite as strongly to the clutch of Sparks' collaborations grouped toward the end of the album -- all ballads, some with vaguely spiritual overtones such as "Faith," whose chorus inadvertently flirts with John Hiatt's "Have a Little Faith In Me" -- but for the first two-thirds of Battlefield, it's all a cool, expertly crafted modern pop and RB, which is enough for Sparks to sustain her momentum. [A Japanese version added a bonus track.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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