Jennifer Lang | 3 O'clock Saturday

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3 O'clock Saturday

by Jennifer Lang

Jennifer Lang’s album 3 O'clock Saturday is sultry journey into chilltastic realms. Jennifer’s voice is smooth, soulful and above all else extraordinary! At times her voice puts me in mind of Jennifer Hudson. It’s the kind of voice that’s capable of belting out rafter shaking ballads or sweet melodies whispered to the ear.
Genre: Urban/R&B: R&B Pop Crossover
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1. Jenny's Groove (intro)
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1:13 $0.99
2. Fairy Tales
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5:11 $0.99
3. Hi
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3:31 $0.99
4. Take Me There
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4:45 $0.99
5. You're All I Ever Wanted
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5:02 $0.99
6. Ya Keep Sayin'
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2:08 $0.99
7. I Don't Understand
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5:15 $0.99
8. You Said
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3:58 $0.99
9. Falling In Love
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4:51 $0.99
10. Don't Think On It
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4:01 $0.99
11. Betcha Thought
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3:55 $0.99
12. Hey Love
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3:53 $0.99
13. Keep Your Head Up
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4:42 $0.99
14. I Don't Know When It's Coming
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
Wow, Jenny Lang is one fine singer! Her new CD, 3 O’ Clock Saturday, would sound good on a weekend afternoon, or just about any old time.
Much of this release has an upbeat, modern day rhythm and blues feel to it. But Lang truly shines brightest on “I Don’t Understand”, which is a bit of a slow blues tune. Over a sparse groove, which brings to mind those great Philly soul sounds of the ‘70s, Lang takes her time contemplating why a man had the nerve to cheat on her. Lang doesn’t ever have to let loose, vocally. Instead, she uses her flexible voice to work out her trials and tribulations in song, with great care.
Lang is equally adept at expressing her gospel roots as she is in contemplating the sins of her mate, however. This disc closes with “I Don’t Know When It’s Coming”, where Lang incorporates spoken word scripture quotes into a track that speaks of her confidence that God’s blessings are on their way. Although the subject matter is entirely different than “I Don’t Understand”, “I Don’t Know When It’s Coming” nevertheless utilizes a similar vocal approach. So many times in gospel music, singers vocalize so strenuously, the listener starts to be afraid they’ll pull a muscle or something while performing. But Lang is so confident enough in her innate musicality that she doesn’t need to push herself to get people to notice. It’s a little like watching a basketball player going through extremely difficult gymnastic moves to make a shot, when all they really need to do is simply lay it in. Lang is like the latter instance, as she always makes it look easy. But this is not to say Lang is not a skilled singer; she is a natural beauty, vocally, and she’s learned well how to showcase her instrument. She paces herself, instead of sprinting to the point of being out of breath.
There are moments during this 14-song disc where Lang brings to mind Sade’s Quiet Storm soul vibe. But sometimes Sade can come off a little too-cool-for-school, to the extent of making the listener apathetic after a short while. Yet Lang is both smooth and warm at the same time. Something like “Fairy Tales”, which – if not handled correctly – could have come off a little too cute. In Lang’s hands, however, the mystery of love, which can oftentimes be fairy tale-like – comes through loud and clear.
With 3 O’ Clock Saturday, Jennifer Lang has created a batch of fine listening music. And there’s a clear distinction, by the way, between ‘listening’ music and ‘dance’ music. A lot of R&B music sounds great in a club or booming from a car stereo. But if you attempt to enjoy such sounds in a stationary position, you may become a little restless. In contrast, Lang’s sounds have a calming affect. They make you want to sit back, relax, and take it all in.
Jennifer Lang’s picture on the cover of this CD is sweet and inviting. One look and you will say to yourself, ‘That looks like a nice girl.’ The same thing happens when listening to the music contained within. You’re not just listening to some unknowable singer. Instead, it’s like you’re sitting and letting a good friend sing to you. Without a doubt, 3 O’ Clock Saturday is an appointment you definitely need to keep.
-- Dan MacIntosh


Reviews


to write a review

Heath Andrews

A Smoothly Sung and Well-Produced R&B Showcase
Review Summary:
Jennifer Lang's second album, 3 O’clock Saturday reveals itself to have two stars; Jennifer Lang with her full voice and sincere songwriting, and producer/multi-instrumentalist Cloyd R. Willis Jr. Together, they've created a solid R&B album with uplifting spirituals, danceable numbers, and soulful ballads.

Review:
The liner notes to Jennifer Lang's 2009 album, 3 O’clock Saturday are peppered with thanks to God, tongue-in-cheek, crediting to herself and thanks to Cloyd R. Willis Jr. From this, it's a bit tough to anticipate what's going to play once the disc starts spinning. About one minute into the opening, "Jenny's Groove", everything becomes clear; Jennifer Lang is going to deliver a soulful collection of R&B tracks with passion.

Lang's spiritual influences are rooted deep into her youth as she grew up singing in church and eventually began listening to the music of Aretha Franklin and Al Green. Fittingly enough, Lang's voice is well described as an amalgamation of those two. Though she doesn't display the range of Aretha (but who does?) she takes a bit of her power and combines it with the smoothness of Green. Lang's songwriting plays well with her voice as much of the subject matter is fairly by the books. There's a good deal of female empowerment and triumph over love and life's pratfalls, ("Don't Think On It", and "Betcha Thought") betrayal, ("You Said", "I Don't Understand) and hopeful numbers that round out the album's sixty-minute running length ("Keep Your Head Up", "I Don't Know When It's Coming").

The songwriting is well done but on its own, seldom exceptional. More than anything, it's sincere. Lang's voice however is compelling whether it’s standing on its own, or superbly overdubbed like on "Falling in Love." When she sings her self-penned lyrics, it lifts the songs to a level they wouldn't otherwise reach. Her passion for her music is very much evident and it shines through on every song.

Though Lang's name is the one on the cover, the album's "secret weapon" of sorts is the aforementioned Cloyd R. Willis Jr. Willis is responsible for not only the production, but every instrument on the recording, including (but not limited to) Fender P-Bass, strings, vibes, flute, percussion, oboe, electric piano, soprano sax, organ, and French horn. The consistent stand-out is his bass playing. There's not a song on here that doesn't feature a tight bass groove. The drum programming though often leaves much to desire. As is typical with much modern R&B, it's very mechanical and static. Given the dynamics of the rest of the music, real drums would've been a welcome addition to the mix.

Some of the album's finest moments are when Lang deviates from the formulaic R&B to deliver performances that feature the influences of other genres. "Ya Keep Sayin" is almost a throwback to slow jazz. It's easy to imagine this song being played in the confines of a smoky bar in a film noir. The album's closer, "I Don't Know When It's Coming" is the most gospel influenced of the fourteen songs; a surprising oddity in how much Lang's faith is displayed in the liner notes. Regardless, the placement of this song is impeccable; ending on a strong gospel note of hope and faith is a welcome turn-around from some of the darker images presented on earlier songs. Some more of this material would've made for a stronger album overall, but doesn't really detract from it being a solid R&B album.

3 O’clock Saturday will be very well received by R&B fans. Lang's voice is a great instrument, effectively produced by Willis throughout. What the album lacks in amazing songwriting it makes up for in a fantastic amount of sincerity and emotion. Safe to say, Lang has avoided the "sophomore slump" that artists can encounter and has turned out an album that she can be proud to thank God for helping her and Willis create.

Zack Daggy

Smooth Vocals
Review Summary:

Music flows through Jennifer Lang’s veins. Whether it was from her family’s aptly named band “The Lang Family” or growing up singing in a church choir, from a very early age Jennifer’s life has been surrounded and shaped by music. She lives it. She breathes it. She channels it. Is it any wonder what career path that the fates led her down?

Jennifer Lang’s album 3 O'clock Saturday is sultry journey into chilltastic realms. Jennifer’s voice is smooth, soulful and above all else extraordinary! At times her voice puts me in mind of Jennifer Hudson. It’s the kind of voice that’s capable of belting out rafter shaking ballads or sweet melodies whispered to the ear.

Jennifer’s style is absolutely rooted in R&B, but with that said a few tracks off of 3 O'clock Saturday have a bit of a new age meets trip-hop vibe about them. These tracks, “Fairy Tales” and “Hey Love” set her apart from all the rest. These are tracks that Jennifer truly hits her stride. This isn’t to say that her soulful R&B tracks are weak–far from it. Tracks like “Keep Your Head Up” and “Betcha Thought” more than prove that she could go toe-to-toe with such artists as Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige and Angie Stone. It’s just that I’ve listened to quite a few chill, trip-hop, downtempo and electronica tracks and I can’t help but wonder what an album Jennifer released of any of these genres would sound like. Wishful thinking? Perhaps…

I suppose if I were to knit-pick, I’d have to say that some of the music (not vocals) seems a bit patchwork. That is to say that in some songs it comes off as a bit over the top or just doesn’t seem to quite sound right. I may be wrong, and it would hardly be the first time, but the music sounds a bit computer generated. I have nothing against computer-generated music when done well, but on some tracks it seems to come off as sounding a little cheap. Tracks like “Ya Keep Sayin’” should have more of an organic feel. I picture this song stripped down to just a drum, bass guitar and that’s it. It should have more of a bluesy atmospheric vibe about it.

The intro track I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand it shows off personality–which I give major props for. On the other hand it sounds a bit hokey. That’s a trap that every intro track of this type falls into, so I can’t really hold that against the album. Put the intro in the plus column!

Jennifer Lang is an amazingly talented singer whose voice will carry her far in the music industry. While her album 3 O'clock Saturday seems to have not reached its full potential, it is an album worth checking out.

Andrea Guy

An R & B Angel
Review Summary: A fantastic R & B CD by a woman with a voice of an angel. Jennifer Lang is definitely a rising star in her genre. Move over Mariah! Move Over Toni, Jennifer is here and she’s going to say!

When I first held Jennifer Lang’s 3 O’Clock Saturday in my hands I was taken aback by the cover. What a beautiful smile Jennifer has. I assumed that this CD was going to go the route of the usual R & B CD, but I could not have been so wrong and I was so glad of that. This is one fantastic R & B CD!

Pop 3 O’Clock Saturday into the nearest CD player and be prepared to be wowed by Jennifer Lang’s voice. To describe her voice probably wouldn’t be doing it proper justice, but her sound is like a finely aged wine about to be uncorked and shared with a few friends, something to be enjoyed and savored.

3 O’Clock Saturday is Jennifer’s second album a follow up to her 2008 debut Just A Lang Thang. Her songs are centered around a love theme, and stem from Lang’s desire for people to know how important love really is. She does it beautifully with the new album. Her voice conveys sensuality, romance and the heartache of a breakup, which is something that we haven’t seen since Toni Braxton hit the scene. Yes, her voice is that big!

The songs are soulful, sometimes dealing with loss (Keep Your Head Up and Don’t Thing On It), new love (Take Me There), and even more spiritual things (I Don‘t Know When It‘s Coming), but no matter what the song, Jennifer keeps most of the tracks upbeat and a little bit funky. That’s what sets this album apart from the rest. It is a perfect mixture of up and down beats. It’s not all funky with one token ballad tossed in for good measure. The tracks have a good flow and nothing seems out of place or unexpected.

If asked to pick a favorite, I’d be hard pressed to select just one. Falling In Love is such a bittersweet tune. Betcha Thought puts the funk back into funky. If you have a groove thang to shake, you’ll be shaking it to this song. Fairy Tales is delivered in such a way that the song delivers a one two punch to the listener. There’s just something about the vocal and haunting Middle Eastern sounding melody that gives this song that something special. Perhaps it’s because it really lets you see what a wonderful range Jennifer has. She hits the low note with precision and then soars into the clouds with the next.

There are plenty of R & B singers out there to choose from, but not many of them have a voice like Jennifer Lang and even fewer have an album as powerful as 3 O’clock Saturday. Jennifer is a fresh face on the music scene but that doesn’t mean she should be ignored, with her latest album, she shows the world that she’s hear and she’s ready to take it on.

So get your hands on a copy of it, let her fantastic smile warm your heart while her music warms your soul. Listen to this over and over again and appreciate the vocal talent of a lady whose star is most certainly on the rise.

Jason Randall Smith

3 O'Clock Saturday
The world of R&B is full to the brim with singers that equate riffs with emotion. As a result, vocalists run lines as if they’re running a marathon, fulfilling the necessary attitude quota with mandatory head rolls, prerequisite finger wags and, should the need arise, just a hint of side eye. Within the first five minutes of listening to Jennifer Lang’s latest album, 3 O’ Clock Saturday, you’ll notice something significant: no riffing and running, just straight singing. It also helps to know something about what you’re singing about and it’s clear that sister Lang knows a thing or two about having loved and lost.

There have been many crossover artists that have come out of the church and been able to make a big splash as pop, rock, soul or R&B singers (Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston being immediate examples). Jennifer Lang could be another one of those artists, but as beautiful in tone as her voice is, it conveys more sweetness than grit. Considering that a majority of the album’s songs deal with losing the game of love, the pain and sorrow that comes part and parcel with such experiences is not always convincing.

Take “I Don’t Understand” as exhibit A, where she confronts her significant other on their past discretions. Even while she’s singing “Say goodbye, ‘cause this is the last time,” you can’t help but get the feeling that this scenario will reoccur. The fact that “I Don’t Understand” is followed up with “You Said” (as in “You said you’d always love me”) only reinforces that belief. This is not to say that she absolutely has to sound like she’s about to slash some man’s tires, but evidence of a breaking point is slow in revealing itself.

Nevertheless, Ms. Lang is capable of becoming one with the words on the page. Credit is due in part to producer and multi-instrumentalist Cloyd Willis Jr. for crafting effective musical beds for Jennifer’s voice to rest upon. “Hi” taps into the sweetness of her vocals, revealing her playful side. “Falling In Love” is the best of these themed selections, as she dusts herself off over a shuffling drum beat accented with acoustic guitar and occasional horns. “Betcha Thought” is one of the strongest offerings overall, set up beautifully with a warbling bass line from Willis and punchy flute and sax riffs that bounce under Jennifer’s strong delivery on the chorus. “Hey Love” gets hypnotic with an airy, spacey instrumental and vocals that elude to the butterflies in your stomach when love is brand new.

However, love is far from the only subject out there, so it’s good to hear her take the motivational route on “Keep Your Head Up,” which brings the album to its logical conclusion and steps into the spiritual realm. “I Don’t Know When It’s Coming” is faith that you can feel. In time, Jennifer Lang’s ability to express real pain and anger through her music may not be as strong as the promises of God she stands upon, but it will increase in conviction.

Review by Jason Randall Smith

Annie Reuter

Like It
Raised singing in church, Jennifer Lang’s introduction to music and performing started at eight-years-old. A member of her church and high school choir, Lang’s sophomore release, 3 O’Clock Saturday, is a stellar album of heartfelt and soulful music. It is no question that music is her passion.

“What excites me most about music is simple: The sound…music is in the ocean. It’s in your heart beat. It’s in your spirit. Even a guy who can’t carry a tune in a bucket is moved by music,” Lang said.

While comparisons to Jennifer Hudson abound, Lang proves her continued versatility. Whether it’s tracks about heart wrenching relationships such as “I Don’t Understand” or gospel filled album closer, “I Don’t Know When It’s Coming,” Lang keeps the listener intrigued.

3 O’Clock Saturday begins quickly with intro, “Jenny’s Groove.” An upbeat track with electric beats and soulful vocals, “Jenny’s Groove” is one of the more lively tracks on the album. Segueing into the optimistic “Fairy Tales,” Lang introduces romance to the listener before her world seemingly crashes.

Throughout the 14-track album, Lang takes the listener on a journey. From the fantasy of “Fairy Tales” and “You’re All I Ever Wanted” to the heartbreak of “I Don’t Understand” and “You Said,” describing an unfaithful lover, the listener witnesses the ups and downs of a relationship.

A solid release, at times the musical accompaniment overpowers Lang’s soulful vocals, “Hi” is one example. The interludes are distracting from Lang’s vocals on this track. Unfortunately for listeners, her sultry singing is masked over the beat of the music.

On “Take Me There,” a slow drum beat is heard in the distance while Lang sings, “I want to go to that place in your heart/Where nothing can tear us apart/You’re the love story that I dream/That was written just for me.” Mid-song she continues, “Every time I see your face/Every time I feel your embrace/There is something I can’t deny/The butterflies they don’t lie”

“Ya Keep Sayin’” switches things up from the R&B feel of previous tracks on 3 O’Clock Saturday. With obvious jazz influence, the song showcases Lang’s talented vocals with a light tap of cymbals, horn features and continuous percussion beats. Just over two minutes, the track is long enough to make an impact without leaving the listener wondering.
Emotional “I Don’t Understand” is a tale of saying goodbye to one who does you wrong. “You cheated on me,” Lang sings with passion. Portraying appropriate angst and confusion with the horn feature and bass beat throughout track, she continues, “I don’t understand that you lie/Sure don’t understand why I cry/I don’t understand saying goodbyes/’Cause this is the last time”

“You Said” continues the wrath of “I Don’t Understand.” An edgy track with a heavy percussion Lang sings, “You said you’d always love me/You said you’d always care/You said you’d always love me/But now you’re not there.”

A slower ballad, “Falling In Love” switches gears once again. The anger is gone and it’s time for the woman in the story to get over a relationship’s end. “I know that it’s going to take some time/To get you out of my mind/But I’ll be strong and I’ll go on/Somehow I will learn from this.”

On “Betcha Thought,” Lang’s voice blends well with the musical accompaniment, so well if fact, the listener forget she’s even signing. “Hey Love” is a soulful R&B infused track that complement’s Lang’s vocals well as the music takes a backseat to her singing. Finally a song with a happier ending than previous tracks, the album starts to come full circle. Ending with gospel track “I Don’t Know When It’s Coming,” it is refreshing to hear spoken word interwoven within the song.

With her angelic and soulful vocals, Jennifer Lang is well on her way. While at times the music overpowers her vocals, 3 O’Clock Saturday is an album that begs to be listened to on repeat. Whether she’s lamenting failed relationships or singing gospel tracks, Lang gets her emotion across. I’d be interested to listen to her sing sans musical accompaniment.

Review by Annie Reuter