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Angela Johnson: It's Personal

Dome

There's a cathartic delight in watching a woman claim her freedom. Talented singer/songwriter and multi-instrumental producer Angela Johnson projected the conservative woman next door on her first two urban/AC bellwethers, Got To Let It Go and They Don't Know, but that provincial view shifted on her compilation, A Woman's Touch. There, Johnson growled and belted in ways that shattered her former restraint and dignified air. On the aptly titled It's Personal, Johnson unleashes further, embodying a vocal strength and vigor on one self-produced disco smash after the other. Heavy with Latin and Afro rhythms, propulsive house songs like "Better" and "Hurts Like Hell" thread Salsoul Orchestra classics. Such languid ballads as "All In Me (feat. Darien)" maintain Johnson's softer side, as does the project's exemplary live instrumentation. Edgier and brasher, especially on the damning "On the Radio," Johnson finally lets her short fro'd hair down. (4 out of 5 stars)