During the decade that followed her split from major-label Elektra, Tamia recorded only two independent albums. Both releases had no trouble peaking in the Top 10 of Billboard's R&B chart, however, and the title track from the latter one, Beautiful Surprise, was nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best R&B Song. That success led to a new major-label alliance with Epic, who evidently offered a larger recording budget.
Tamia Tamia A Tamia album is like a favorite pair of jeans. They're a surefire choice; they match any mood and hug you tight. Sure, there may be edgier or flashier numbers in the closet, but it’s that trusted pair that gets the most mileage. “Love Life,” the singer’s latest, is a reminder of how comforting familiarity feels.
The attention-getter on Tamia’s new album is “Sandwich and a Soda.” For its first 30 seconds — a lot of real estate on a track that’s only three-and-a-quarter-minutes long — she whispers over the intertwining patterns of two electric basses, played by real fingers with real hesitations and stickiness; one has the tone of an undergreased hinge. They sound close-up and untreated, punctuated by short chord stabs from an organ, which seems far away and softened by reverb. The song makes you think about distances.