On her sophomore effort, Jennifer Hudson steps slightly away from pop to embrace a more grown-up R&B sound sprinkled with feel-good soul and disco flavours courtesy of top songsmiths like Rich Harrison, Alicia Keys and Salaam Remi. Opener No One Gonna Love You sets a familiar, against-all-odds tone with inspirational lyrics and bouncy piano that's pure Elton John.
Of course, the main attraction is Hudson's stratospheric voice, which at times is as much a liability as an asset. She almost always goes for the jugular, belting out Super Bowl Sunday-sized performances over the most laid-back of summer-afternoon soul clappers. Her voice overflows with emotion, and subtlety's in short supply. The album's best moments are its most down to earth, like the chuggy, 4/4 beat of Don't Look Down and the vivid lyrical riposte to an elusive lover on Where You At.
Top track: Where You At