While too many pop and R&B divas rely on Mariah Carey-like vocal histrionics, Sunshine Anderson wins over fans with her understated maturity. The first single, "Heard It All Before," breathes new life into a typical R&B diva scenario of a jilted woman confronting her cheating lover. The guitar-based mid-tempo track "Lunch and Dinner" features smooth guitar and straightforward, earnest lyrics. Your Woman features some solid production by Mike City and Mark Spark, and rather than trying to overpower the music with her voice, Anderson has enough confidence to just go along for the ride.
Sunshine Anderson is the latest in a long line of confident female R&B singers to whom self-realization is a given, and who have no problem demanding their due from their often inadequate men. Her second album, imaginatively produced with a wide range of hip, grainy-sounding beats, deals with the tough realities of relationships, in songs as varied as the grittily realistic "Problems," "Switch It Up," superficially about romance gone stale but more concerned with turning a life around, and the galumphing "Trust," whose mutant beat buffers a tale of deceit. Anderson never leaves any doubt who's in control, though she can still turn on the erotic softness in silk-sheet jams like "Force of Nature."
This seeks to be a good-time record while maintaining the musical intelligence that listeners should expect from Anderson. "Putting the cookies on a lower shelf" can be dangerous if the artists are too busy worrying about public taste to do any real cooking, but it's obvious from the start that the players (Amina Claudine Myers, organ, piano; Jerome Harris, guitar; Lonnie Plaxico, bass; Tommy Campbell, drums) are having a blast themselves. I can't imagine any complaints about anyone's contributions instrumentally. The rhythm team swings, Anderson sounds just great, Myers and Harris shine throughout, and the trombone-organ-guitar ensembles are downright dangerous. The four vocal tracks feature Myers and Anderson solo and in tandem: gutsy, extroverted performances of intelligent lyrics by Jackie Raven. This music is hard to describe but it's natural and infectious, somewhat comparable to Mose Allison, but hotter.