Album Review: Leona Lewis, ‘I Am’

Written by Samantha Evans

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Splitting from a label or anything for that matter is never an easy task but Leona Lewis has come back with a vengeance with her new album, I am. Since 2007, Lewis has won the hearts and minds of those that have heard her powerful and unique voice. Emerging from the X-Factor series, Lewis would have never thought that she would have reached the fame and overall success that she has. Many Grammys, MTV music awards, five top albums and eight years later, Leona Lewis still captures the listener’s ear with the new honest and influential album, I am. With many critics at the edge of their seats and Leona Lewis on a new label, this highly anticipated album has a lot to offer. Whether it is extreme power ballads with honest and true lyrics, beautiful stories of past and present relationships, or electrifying dance tunes, I am tells a tale of breaking through life’s toughest obstacles and empowering yourself first.

Starting the album off is the feel good fighter anthem, “Thunder.” Some may argue that this song is about the split from Simon Cowell’s record label. Regardless, the song empowers those that have been fighting through the let downs of life. “You were rising like a star reigning like a king. While I was waiting in the wings and I won’t wait any longer. When you left me down, I got stronger.” Getting more into the nitty gritty of how bad the professional relationship disintegrated, “Fire Under My Feet,” is a booming, catchy song drawing you into the story. “I tripped and I stumbled watched my world crumble. Sometimes you eat dirt. You live or you learn.” Slowing it down, stripped to just Leona’s voice and the piano, “You Knew me When” is the classic “kick me down but I have gotten back up” ballad. “You knew me when, you knew me then but you don’t know me now.”

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Not being afraid of barriers or turning heads, Leona Lewis tears through all the struggles with the title track, “I Am.” “I am, free without you. I am, stronger without you. Thought I would never rise again, but I am, I am.” With all the different aspects of the album, Lewis shows that her growing concept of music continues to be tested and she passes with flying colors. A more upbeat song, still about building herself back up though, “Ladders,” has a funky bass line and catchy hook drawing the listener to her journey back up to the top. Telling about the new artist that Leona is and how she is breaking free from the chains that were once supporting her, “Essence of Me” is a powerful song. “I’m breaking free. I’m taking the leap. These borders are deep. I’m feeling, I’m feeling the essence of me.”

“When the world is gray and you can’t find your way. I got you through the darkness and the heartless. When the rain won’t stop. When you feel no love. When it all falls through. I got you.” Strength, stability, and overall fun pound through this dance anthem, “I Got You” along with “Another Love Song.” Both have fun beats and catchy lyrics. Power ballad “Power,” stresses heavily on POWER and being stronger than ever before. This can argumentatively be the most inspirational sounding song on the album. Leona’s voice resounds and echoes throughout the ballad. Ending the album on a more positive note is the beautiful, “Thank You.” Leona’s voice shows true beauty in this song along with the piano. “Our hearts get stronger after they break. So, thank you. Thank you. For seeing the best and the worst in me. The angel underneath, thank you.”

Thanking those that have brought her back up, empowering those that feel the same, shooting down those that have caused her grief, Leona Lewis tells it all in this inspiring, new chapter of her life. A pleasure to listen and sing/dance along to and relate to the story unfolds.

Album rating: 9 out of 10