It’s been almost two years since Melinda Doolittle shrugged her way into my heart during her great run on the sixth season of American Idol. She was always my secret favorite, even though I knew she didn’t have much of a chance against Jordin Sparks’s indomitable cuteness or Blake Lewis’s bubble-butt. Still, third place ain’t bad and a month or so ago her solo album was finally released. Entitled Coming Back to You, it’s a charming collection of diverse covers (from standards from the 30’s to Celine Dion), all of which show off Melinda’s brilliant interpretational skills and amazing vocals.
For those not paying attention, the music world is in the midst of a spectacular R&B/soul/doo-wop revival, especially in the UK (Amy Winehouse, Duffy, Adele, Estelle, and many more), and Melinda is the latest American artist to participate in the trend. These artists not only revel in the old styles, they also revel in recording the songs with as little production as possible, perhaps to capture the live feeling of so many of the great albums from the past. Melinda’s arrangements, when they aren’t appropriately sparse, are full of big-band brass and whispering strings, and the vocals, obviously, are absolutely pristine.
Since Melinda Doolittle famously got her start as a back-up singer, it’s no wonder that many of the songs on the album feature exuberant backing vocals, a quality that probably catches Melinda’s immediate attention. Nowhere is this more obvious than on her first single, It’s Your Love. Personally, the back-up vocals are the hook to this song – I tend to sing along with them more often than the melody…
Here’s the video: