Fantasia, "Back to Me"

Album Review

Fantasia has had her share of public ups and downs in the past few years. The season-three "American Idol" winner has at times been forced to support her family (as depicted on Vh1's "Fantasia for Real"), admitted to going broke on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and was hospitalized this past week for a "medical overdose," following reports of the surfacing of a possible sex tape made with a married man. But she hasn't let these situations slow her down on new album "Back to Me." Over a mid-tempo production on the song "I'm Doin' Me," Fantasia reclaims her independence after walking away from an unstable relationship, while in "Who's Been Lovin' You" the singer boasts atop a piano-based beat about her ability to love a former boyfriend better than his new girl. With the accompaniment of synths on the track "Falling in Love Tonight," she touches on love at first sight and loses desire for a man on "The Thrill is Gone" (featuring Cee-Lo). But while Fantasia delivers a soulful, laid-back album with tinges of gospel, her distinct voice is most enjoyable when singing heartfelt ballads. This arrives during first single "Bittersweet," in which the singer remembers a past love, and motivational track "I'm Here" (from musical "The Color Purple").