I was very excited to receive this album, as I’ve been patiently waiting to hear what was in store. 2008 was the last time we heard from this beautiful, quintessential artist. Angela Johnson released her critically acclaimed album Angela Johnson Presents: A Woman’s Touch. She has been compared to a couple of the most notable female artists that have come our way – Patrice Rushen and the incomparable Roberta Flack. Angela’s writing and producing are stellar and of course, you can be sure to catch her performing with her instrument of choice – the keys. Angela is back two years later on a different plateau, enjoying life and looking for a dancing partner with her new release It’s Personal.
The album begins with the lightest of melodic piano intros on “Only One.” A sweet, yet not sugary ditty about a significant other’s status in one’s life. “Hurts Like Hell” has the most alluring disco undertone, you’re tempted to get up, press repeat and give it a few spins. The lovely tribute, “For You” is a beautiful ode to her daughter, stating: “It’s true/my love for you/is worth more than anything this world can give/and as long as I live/I’ll do/all that I can for you/every sacrifice heartache and pain/I would do it all again/for you” Just beautiful. The catchy background vocals, the sexy tenor and baritone sax along with Angela’s rhythm and energy on the track, make “Be Myself” one of my favourites on the album. Even though you can clearly hear her indifference in the song, you sense that not only does she want you to have a good time, but she is undoubtedly enjoying it too.
The first single “Better” has the distinct Michael Jackson infusion and attitude, right down to Angela’s coos of “come on boy…” in contrast to MJ’s “come on girl…” you can’t help but fall into the ’80s inspired groove. “Days” is a track everyone can relate to, everything that can go wrong will go wrong. But the lovely Maysa (Angela’s daughter) makes it all better towards the end with her ray of sunshine, she’s bound to put a smile on anyone’s face. The next two tracks basically go hand in hand and are pretty much self-explanatory. “Indie In Me” co-writing credits go to Eric Roberson, while “On The Radio” is co-written by Josh Milan. And then we get to the gem of a track (in my opinion) “All In Me” featuring Darien. I love it and that’s all I will say. I’ll leave that one up to you when you hear it, however, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Angela’s jazzy playful side is shown on “Get Myself Together” and the upbeat, instrumental heavy “It’s Personal” is a fitting close to an exceptional album.
Speaking with Angela recently, she shared with me that she wanted this album to be fun. She wanted to make people dance and just enjoy the music. She stated she was a tad nervous with the new turn, as an artist is about the inception of their new baby to their fans. I assured her, this album would be loved by many of her fans and then some. It’s highly anticipated and rightfully so, it is a compilation full of disco and house inspired, 80’s influenced, jazz, pop and soul tracks that will keep you bopping from beginning to end.