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Erykah Badu

New Amerykah Part 2 (Return Of The Ankh) (Universal)



Already a contender for 2010's summer album, Badu's Part Two is filled with breezy, relaxed jams that beg for late night rooftop patios and sweaty beers. Badu effuses confidence, even when she seems fragile: This is a woman who's obviously confident in her own skin, as witnessed by the controversial video for "Window Seat." Closer to her 1997 debut Baduizm than 2008's Part One, which, at points, felt more like an experimental funk trip, Badu still takes a few risks, like a passionate three-part, 10-minute closer, "Out My Mind, Just In Time." These are songs about love and relationships that rate up there with master romantics like Marvin Gaye.

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