Be The Love You Want Album Review

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Roots and Blues Festival (from left to right: Tikyra Jackson, Evan Sarver, Tierinii Jackson, Jeremy Powell, Ori Naftaly)

On August 27,2021, the world was blessed with the third album of the band Southern Avenue, an LP titled Be The Love You Want. Like its predecessors, self-titled debut album Southern Avenue (2019) and sophomore album Keep On (2017), the third installment is a brilliant compilation of the sounds of Memphis blues/roots, r&b, gospel-infused soul and rock.

The band consisting of its five members- sisters Tierinii and Tikyra Jackson (lead vocals and drums), Ori Naftaly(guitar), Jeremy Powell(keyboards), and Evan Sarver(bass guitar)- come together to deliver a rich 70s-inspired soulful album that fuses many genres and sounds. With the help of multi-Grammy winner Steve Berlin as co-producer, this album is sure to soothe your soul and spark some drive in you!

Track List:

Be The Love You Want
Kicking off the album, the title track starts off with the powerful message to be the love you want. Preaching self-love with funky elements is sure to hook listeners and strap them in for the ride of the album.

Favorite lyric – Forgive yourself. Live your life. Do your best.

If this ain’t the truth, I don’t know what is. Being your own personal grace of forgiveness is a journey worth taking. Along the way, you release guilt and shame and learn to just simply do your personal best, and from there life gets sweeter every day.

Rating – 5/5

This song is a reminder that to better our lives we must be our own disciplinarians. It is great to listen to while navigating a semblance of normalcy thru this pandemic. We are ultimately in control of the direction of our lives, and sometimes you need a reminder to get a better grasp of it.

Favorite lyric – You don’t have to give up what you dreamed of, but it’s gonna take some self-control

Personally, I can get so distracted and anxious that I disregard my responsibilities and duties of importance. This lyric was a beautifully sung voice in my ear that in order to achieve the level of greatness that I seek to be, I must be in control of both my thoughts and my actions.

Rating – 4/5

Don’t Hesitate (Call Me)
The band slows it down a bit to convey the pov of a trusted individual inviting another to reach out when they are feeling low. The lyrics are supportive in nature and showcase the power of a support system.

Favorite lyric: Down in the trenches of your thoughts, you’ll hear my voice scream you’re more than enough

This lyric is so powerful. Everyone fights different internal wars, but not everyone has that voice that rings above that rest with words of encouragement. If that’s you, I introduce you to this song. Let the Jackson voice be your safety for you.

Rating – 3/5

Push Now
This encouraging number is great for when you need a kick in your vehicle of life. Advises “when you find your fears, gotta dive right in”. From the pov of a baby bird flying for the first time, the action might seem daunting and scary. And from the pov of its experienced mother, sometimes you need a push out of the tree, so you can find your strength and soar across the skies.

Favorite lyric: You’ve got to be a bit crazy and sometimes a bit insane

Ooh, wee! This song gave me the courage to step out of the smaller box I was restricting myself to and follow my dreams! It’s good to allow unpredictability into your routine because it creates the space for flexibility, and that, my dear, is key.

Rating – 5/5

With bluesy guitar riffs, Fences is dedicated to a love that perseveres past hardened barriers around the heart. Being vulnerable and open to receiving love from another can come with plenty of obstacles or “fences” in this case. The song is about feeling safe enough to remove the fences from guarding the space, allowing the person to fully reach their heart.

Favorite lyric: Fell off deep into your heart right to my saving grace

I think the process of letting your guard down is absolutely beautiful. Trying, sure, but beautiful all the same. It’s a learning experience of finding where you have walls up and the process of taking them down.

Rating – 3/5

Let’s Get It Together
This album wouldn’t be complete without at least one song that mirrors a call to action for the betterment of the world. Infused with a lovely guitar solo, it encourages the unification of the world’s inhabitants to bring more empathy back into it.

Favorite lyric: Love comes with responsibilities.

And that’s a fact, Jack! The Earth gives us love thru the resources that she provides us, and in return, it is our duty to share that love with each other. That is the responsibility of our inhabitancy. This song questions how we strayed from that and gives us a tool to get back there.

Rating – 4/5

Heathen Hearts
The gospel influence is heavy in this piece with vocals being led primarily by rhythmic claps and stomping in the background.

Favorite lyric: The cries of surviving in a wretched land. We override expectations

As a person living a–both– black and a woman experience, this lyric makes me feel seen. My experience in this world is met with a hand full of injustices and unfairness with potentially deadly consequences. Many paths are carved out for us to fail and be discouraged. And yet…we still make it to our destinations with our heads high. That will forever be one of the greatest senses of pride that I have felt.

Rating – 4/5

Move Into The Light
Next on the album is an upbeat number that is sure to get you up and dancing.
It preaches lifting your vibes and instructs you to always move in the direction of the light.

Favorite lyric: I open up the blinds. Kick down the window. Feel the wind blow

With the emergence of springtime, this song is perfect for the season of rejuvenation. This song is full of lyrical gems, so it was difficult for me to narrow it down. But it’s something about opening the blinds and letting the rays of the sun kiss your skin that gets me. During the beginning of the mandatory quarantine in 2020, I found my peace outside in the sun with the wind flowing thru my hair. The point is, you have to greet the light to follow it.

Rating – 5/5

Love You Nice And Slow
The band keeps the tempo even with this sultry piece. Setting the scene for when “it’s about that time”. The horn section and overall instrumentals are absolutely fantastic in this number.

Favorite lyric: Keep it sweet and low. Bring me yo sugar-loving

Can’t help but love this sugar bar. Especially when you take into consideration that the song is one big groovy innuendo for lovemaking. Sweet all around.

Rating – 4/5

Tierinii plays vocal acrobatics with the range of her sound in this song with a short guitar solo to add to its sound letting us know that pressure isn’t always a bad thing. In order to get to that diamond state of being from coal, you must feel the pressure and let it help shape you.

Favorite lyric: Tough winds just might be what I need

Oof. Listening to this song was a nice reminder that I had to feel the pressure to let it mold me into the next version of myself. With pressure you can do two things: let it break you down or let it build your strength. Over time, I’ve been choosing the latter. And I’ve come to find that when you build your strength the pressure lessens and becomes less heavy. Keep that in mind.

Rating – 4/5

Too Good To Be True
This romantic ballad includes an incredible horn section as the song steadily increases in energy. It’s a love song that is especially sweet because lead vocalist Tierinni and guitarist Ori are married with a recent addition to their family.

Favorite lyric: You took my hand like you knew we were meant to be

I personally love the subtle maracas in the background that pair beautifully with the guitar and horns. And the escalation of the dramatics in the song gets me every time. I sing love songs like this to myself to show my gratitude for that self-love, one. And two, to practice for when I share it with a romantic partner someday.

Rating – 4/5

Move On
The album ends with a groovy song dedicated to the haters to simply move on because there will be no time or energy given to entertaining their hateful energy. In the same sentence, the lyrics urge you not to dim your light because others say it’s too bright. An that’s on what? Period.

Favorite lyric: I won’t dim my light to fit into your gray space

Shine that beautiful radiant light of yours out into the world! Can’t nobody do that but you. I’ve learned that this world may try to push you into a lens of black and grey where it’s bleak and dreary. But! Nature is full of vibrancy that brings life and variation to the lands and across the seas. So shine on and embrace the brilliance!

Rating – 5/5

Overall album rating – 4/5

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