Sunshine Anderson – The Sun Shines Again | Album Review

In 2001, American R&B singing sensation Sunshine Anderson had the R&B world at her feet with the incredible hit single ‘Heard It All Before’ and the gold-certified debut album ‘Your Woman’ but the unexpected disintegration of her record label Soulife Records (an imprint of Atlantic Records) which then led her to sign directly with Atlantic, the 2004 merger between Warner Bros. and Atlantic Records which left Sunshine in no mans land and the not well thought out signing to Matthew Knowles’ Music World Entertainment record label meant that her sophomore album Sunshine at Midnight not only took six years to be released but was poorly promoted as it crashed and burned on the US charts and failed to register in our minds. Sunshine Anderson was fast deteriorating into R&B obscurity.

Fast forward to 2010 and Ms. Anderson is well and truly back to winning ways with the release of her third studio album The Sun Shines Again which sees her reunited with long time producer Mike City (former Soulife Records A&R and Vice President) who produced the bulk of her debut album. They are back together again to rekindle the same kind of energy and chemistry that was evident in 2001’s ‘Your Woman’ and have brought it on this succinct 10-track return to form for the almost forgotten Sunshine Anderson. Do not get me wrong, The Sun Shines Again is certainly not just another ‘Your Woman’ even though they might conjure up the same reminiscent feeling of some good and proper contemporary ’90s R&B music that you’ve been missing.

The Sun Shines Again is a bona fide and dare I say essential body of work in itself upon which Sunshine talks about heartbreak, cheating men, trust and being in love amongst other things and listening to it takes me back in time to moments where I was in love, moments where I had my heart broken and those “butterflies in my stomach” moments in ways no recent R&B record has been able to do.

The album kicks off with an up-tempo sexy number titled ‘Say Something’ which gets you swaying your body gently from side to side in true R&B groove style and then aptly slides into another body-stirring track by way of the mid-tempo anthemic ‘Hard Love’ which fittingly showcases Sunshine Anderson’s rich and raspy alto-infused vocals over Mike City’s funky smooth production.

To my delight, the album is also laced with numerous sultry and sweet traditional R&B slow jams which capture Sunshine in true ‘R&B Diva’ form and allow her vocals to take centre stage such as the temperamental ‘2nd Fiddle’ where Sunshine proclaims to her ‘man’ that she won’t “be playing second fiddle to anyone or anything baby” over another stellar musical backdrop provided for by Mike City, the reflective drums-tinged ‘Karma’s A Mutha’ and the beautifully-arranged keyboard-driven ‘A Warning For The Heart’ which gives Sunshine’s glorious vocals a free role to dominate and shine through beautifully.

The album’s lead single ‘Lie To Kick It’ is a perfect choice for a lead single as it is an all-around very strong song and one of the stand-out songs on the album. Sunshine Anderson shines yet again vocally and you can hear the passion sip out of every note that she hits.

While the majority of the songs on this album are written and produced by Mike City, Sunshine Anderson does co-write three exceptional songs on ‘The Sun Shines Again’; the very personal ‘Life Back’ which is as autobiographical and honest as they come, the amazingly soulful ‘Nervous’ which shows a new and vulnerable side to Sunshine Anderson [my personal favourite song on the album] and the very seductive number, ‘U Doin’ It’ which serves as the ample album closer on which Sunshine sings, “Sit down and let lil’ mama rock you like a rocking chair” [that baby making music].

All in all, The Sun Shines Again is as I’ve mentioned before, a stellar return to form for an R&B singer who lost her way somewhat over the last decade and still remains underrated amongst many circles that don’t know better. You’re not going to get cutting-edge or groundbreaking stuff from The Sun Shines Again but what you will get is honest music, great song writing and an amazing vocal showing which all culminates in some really good R&B music that’s for a mature listening audience.

A triumphant return and a cathartic joy.

The Sun Shines Again is out now via Verve Music Group; iTunes UK/US; Amazon UK/US.