Concrete Rose

Music review by
Kathi Kamen Goldmark, Common Sense Media
Concrete Rose Music Poster Image
Sweet vocals, but falls short of diva status.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Positive Messages
Violence

A few references to doing jail time and gangsta life.

Sex

Lots of innuendo, and some very sexy photos.

Language

The "n" word appears a few times, for no really good reason.

Consumerism

Package includes inserts advertising pre-paid debit cards and juicebox personal video player.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Nothing obvious.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the formula for this CD seems to have been to take two parts sexual innuendo, one part so-so songwriting, a dash of racist epithet, and blend together.

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What's the story?

Ashanti puts her best foot forward on CONCRETE ROSE, but it's not quite big enough to fill the R&B diva shoes she so clearly longs for. Everything about this, her third album, is just so-so. Starting with the singing, Ashanti's pleasantly adequate voice is carefully and electronically enhanced by her production team, who should get the lion's share of credit for anything good about the CD. Her vocal limitations are beautifully disguised, but it becomes obvious after a while that this young woman just doesn't have the power or passion necessary to hold her own among many of her phenomenally talented contemporaries. There's a sweetness and a bit of style, but not much else.

Is it any good?

Move on to the songs, which are also pleasantly adequate. Filled with repetitions and clichés, they just aren't all that interesting. A few lovely, beautifully produced songs are surrounded by filler. And then the lyrics: a few gratuitous uses of the "n" word, with no apparent redeeming social message; the rest is either sap or glossy sexual innuendo -- nothing original or amazing enough to get excited about. Let's hope this young artist is allowed to keep growing, and growing up.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this CD compares with other R&B CDs. Are there songs that stand out? Do some of the songs seem rather clichéd?

Music details

  • Artist: Ashanti
  • Release date: December 7, 2004
  • Label: Def Jam
  • Genre: Hip-hop
  • Parental advisory: No
  • Edited version available: No

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