Teedra Moses. Remember the name. Write it down. Because she will be all over the radio very soon, with her debut CD widely recognized as one of the year's best, so get it before it's the hottest thing going and you can brag that you realized it first.
Complex Simplicity recalls Monica and Brandy, if only because this R&B diva also effuses her music with a hip-hop sensibility. Yet there are a few differences: Moses sings with a soulfulness lacking in her contemporaries, and she studiously avoids filler. Several tracks here could easily become certified hits, with contributions from the likes of soulful, eccentric Oakland singer-songwriter Raphael Saadiq and edgy rapper Jadakiss. Elsewhere, "Be Your Girl" is already enjoying a great deal of airplay on both coasts, and for good reason: Moses' sultry voice pours over one of the summer's catchiest beats, giving the song all the makings of a sun-bathed summer smash. "Backstroke" is certain to be a classic contemporary neo-soul dance tune, while "I Think of You," an ode to Moses' late mother, morphs from a live gospel tune to an emphatic, emotional celebration of grooviness. For all its variety, what never falters is Complex Simplicity's underlying quality: neither exceedingly complex nor mind-numbingly simple, it's merely breathtaking. -- Alex Kellogg