Living in the Bay Area, Goapele has become a symbol of sorts performing at all the local festivals, and doing shows promoting new material. However, after essentially a five-year hiatus, it seemed as if a follow up to her 2005 release, Change It All, was never going to surface. We heard her single “Milk & Honey,” hit airwaves in the summer of 2009, however, no project followed—until now in the form of Break of Dawn.
With this new album, Goapele exudes a newfound sensuality and confidence. The project was said to be influenced by the life-cycle changes Goapele has had including: the passing of her father, grandmother and a close friend of hers. This album is a living testament to the validity of the cliché, “whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Throughout the project Goapele explores a variety of topics: wanting to “play” around and do some taboo things with a male suitor, a mother’s love with “Hush,” and never giving up with the optimistic title track “Break of Dawn.” The first album highlight comes from the single, “Play.” Over a Dan Electric and Teddy Thunderbolt produced track Goapele gives a sensual vocal performance in an almost growl commanding attention like a lioness does to her male prey.
The momentum only continues with the beautifully crafted love song “Tears on My Pillows,” where Goapele sings of not being able to get over the heartbreak of a relationship. With this track, Goapele gives a brilliant and vulnerable performance and the lyrics only make listeners feel everything she is saying. The highlights on the album continue with “Undertow,” “Break of Dawn,” “Hush,” “Right Here,” and “Milk & Honey.”
This project is rather solid, with only two skippable tracks: “Money,” has some great lyrics, but the production that doesn’t necessarily flow with the rest of the material, and “Cupcake” which is a cheesy love song. This is definitely a great return to the scene for Goapele, but please, don’t wait another five years to release a project.