Toledo born, singer/musician Lyfe Jennings, has made the best of his life after spending ten years in prison. He’s dedicated himself to music, and apparently has not looked back to the iron bars for nothing… other than inspiration. On his third album, Lyfe Change, Lyfe Jennings continues to progress, and “change” for the better.
Lyfe always seems to be certain to write music with a meaning, which separates him from several of his musical cohorts. Where he stands on certain issues like safe sex, self-determination, and self-image, are clear without ever coming across as preachy. At the very outset of this album, the song, “Keep On Dreaming,” a song referencing Suzanne Vega’s , “Tom’s Diner,” Lyfe encourages his listeners to do just that, keep on dreaming. “Warriors,” is a testimony of his life, and a tribute to all of the “survivors,” the warriors, who share in this story of pain and pressure. “Midnight Train,” a sweet, folk-rock tune about escaping, is a fresh sound to break up the usual R&B monotony, for a man who can actually play an instrument. But Lyfe Jennings shines the most on the reggae flavored, “You Think You’ve Got It Bad,” featuring Wyclef Jean. It’s on this song, Lyfe reminds us that “everything happens for a reason,” and that we must always be grateful, despite our shortcomings.
I must admit, Jennings’ strained, raspy voice can be a bit annoying after a while. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that Lyfe Change is an honest album, with heart and soul abound. And if we could get more artists to take this stance, maybe we could see the the second coming of the seventies, when music had a purpose, and singers and musicians were vessels of hope and truth.
– Jason Reynolds