Now that Ashanti's career runs three albums deep, not including 2003's floptastic Ashanti's Christmas, it's high time Inc head Irv Gotti put the Mary J. Blige comparisons to rest. Mary -- power tempered with finesse -- and Ashanti -- consistently soothing, never overstated -- are entirely different stylistically, and a compilation of the younger singer's best work wouldn't stand a chance against her elder's What's the 411? or My Life.
This is the self-proposed princess of R&B's third album in two years, not counting her execrable Christmas album (please, let's not). Ashanti doesn't stray from the R&B rulebook that has so far seen her sell some 7m albums in the US alone - namely a hip-hop backdrop of hard-knock beats tempered by a soul-lite vocal. There are a couple of variations on the Mary J Blige blueprint, including the deliciously dark, rock-tinged lead single Only You, the energised strut of Turn It Up and the perfectly plucked melancholy of Don't Leave Me Alone.