A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Fantasia's debut CD is mostly harmless, and she uses her magnificent voice to deliver predictable girl-power messages. You may want to note that the "N" word is used once to describe a loser boyfriend.
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What's the story?
Like her predecessors on American Idol, Fantasia's fantastic voice won her a record deal, but unlike Kelly, Clay, and Ruben, she also won attentive production standards and backup musicians on her FREE YOURSELF album. It's nice to see the American Idol machine taking better care of its fledgling artists, and Fantasia has a voice and style that rise to the occasion. The songs seem calculated to appeal to young girls, with a couple of "You don't treat me right so get out of my life" themes, a few sentimental love -- and lost-love -- songs, and respectful covers of "You Were Always On My Mind" and "Summertime."
Is it any good?
One notable high point on the CD is "Baby Mama," a stylish and spirited anthem in support of young single mothers that doesn't shy away from the tough stuff ("I see you paying your bills/I see you working your job/I see you going to school/And girl I know it's hard"). Fantasia gets some A-list help from Missy Elliott, who produced and co-wrote three tracks and performs on "Selfish (I Want U 2 Myself)," and Jermaine Dupree, who produced "Got Me Waiting." But it's "Baby Mama" and "Truth Is" that steal the show with powerful vocals and lovingly produced classic R&B instrumental tracks.