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Album Review: Goapele – Break Of Dawn

Bay area songstress Goapele’s Break Of Dawn is her first long player in almost six years. Having first graced our ears way back in 2001 with Closer, followed up five years later with Change It All, she has earned respect from the likes of Kanye West and Erykah Badu.

Break Of Dawn features a few production big hitters such as Malay (Mary J. Blige) and Bobby Ozuna (John Mayer). Unfortunately, their involvement does not necessarily guarantee success and in the case of Break Of Dawn has led to an unpolished, unnecessary record.

‘Tears On My Pillow’ is a ballad reminiscent of Mary J. Blige but is a precursor of what is to come over the duration of the records nine tracks. The lyrical content is there, the vocal talent – to some extent – is there, but there’s just that something special missing and I can’t seem to put my finger on it. ‘Undertow’ is to some extent, a brief relief as it depicts what its like to be in the throes of love backed by a comfortable beat, interspersed by a dream like piano. Title track, ‘Break Of Dawn’ disappoints with its boring, repetitive beat and trivial synth line; whilst, ‘Hush’ is an example of what a ballad would sound like had it been recorded in her bedroom such is the extent of which it has been ‘produced’ to sound raw and unique. It just sounds lazy and unpolished.

Break Of Dawn then is a record that in a normal world would never have been released. We already have a Mary J. Blige, an Alicia Keys;Goapele doesn’t stand out and isn’t even close in terms of talent. The reason for its release on an independent label is hailed as the beginnings of a shift from the majors but, in all honesty its perhaps more weighted towards the realisation that RnB of this type has peaked and hurtling back towards earth.

- Gavin Bevan

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