Artist: Syleena Johnson
Label: eOne Music
Release Date: January 31, 2020
Singer-songwriter Syleena Johnson’s new album, Woman, is a timely, soulful ode to womanhood as well as a call to action wrapped in deep reflection. Opening with “Woman (intro),” Johnson positions this brief spoken introduction as a centering track that grounds listeners in the journey of empowerment they are about to embark on. Additionally, she guides us through each track with lyrics that illuminate the common threads of strength, resilience, and healing that tie women together.
Woman has no shortage of social commentary, critiquing everything from politics to gender roles and relationship dynamics in the age of situationships. For example, in “I Deserve More,” Johnson highlights all the ways in which women are sometimes put last within their relationships, and she encourages women to exercise their agency to take what’s theirs: equitable and proper treatment. In the title track, “Woman,” Johnson delivers the powerful lyrics, “You gotta think like a woman but act harder than a man. Show love like a woman but take advantage like a man. Sacrifice like a woman but tell lies like a man if you wanna make America great again.” The song highlights the antiquated double standards to which women are still held. Just as dynamic as the calls to action and reclamation of space is how love is brought into the balance. Johnson highlights another important message throughout this album: even though there are numerous trials that women go through, at the end love is possible, but first one must love the woman that they are, and who they are becoming.
Reviewed by Just Duléa