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Jennifer Hudson Too Restrained on Soulful Throwback ‘I Can’t Describe (The Way I Feel)’

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Jennifer Hudson Too Restrained on Soulful Throwback ‘I Can’t Describe (The Way I Feel)’

photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Jennifer Hudson's new song "I Can't Describe (The Way I Feel)" featuring T.I. is reminiscent of the more soulful sounds of disco from the likes of Evelyn Champagne King.

Though the way Hudson elongates her vocals on the opening lyric "I can't describe" feel influenced by Chaka Khan, the song evokes the emotions of King's classic jams "I'm In Love" and "Love Come Down."

It was a great idea to have Pharrell produce the song. He's connected to the summer's biggest hits, Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and Daft Punk's "Get Lucky."

Because T.I., who also appears on "Blurred Lines," is on "I Can't Describe" and the song has a baseline very similar to the aforementioned King hits (in the same way "Blurred Lines" calls to mind Marvin Gaye's "Got To Give It Up"), it seems as though they've taken somewhat of a similar approach.

Unfortunately, "I Can't Describe (The Way I Feel)," is missing something. It's nice, but it doesn't have the gritty edge that it needs. It's like the subdued, respectful "I Will Always Love You" tribute Hudson sang at the Grammys the day after Whitney Houston died.

Really, all due respect to Houston, we did not want to hear Hudson holding back. We wanted to hear her break it down, hit Whitney's high note and take us to church. But it was too soon and would have been perceived as tacky.

There's no reason for Hudson to restrain herself here. Her voice is flawless. As usual, she never misses a note. But I don't feel her connection to the lyrics. I don't feel like this song is sung with a particular relationship in mind.

Even though it’s a good effort, it just leaves me wanting to hear Evelyn Champagne King.

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