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If you take a solo listen to Marsha Ambrosius’ latest release Friends and Lovers and think ‘Dang, I don’t need to be alone after hearing this’ well, Ambrosius says that was completely intentional. The U.K. born songstress who was once the vocal half of the beloved duo Floetry says that’s exactly how she wanted you to feel.

“What I set out to do is plan an album that you play intimately with someone that you’re into or loving at the time, she told the Tom Joyner Morning Show.

That said, the 16-track burner is probably the most romantic release of the year, as well as one of the most unapolgetically soulful. It’s grown folks music and a breath of fresh musical air for those turned off by misogynistic R&B and hip-hop.

And because its grown folks music there are a few songs that can’t be played or even talked about on the air, although there’s at least one whose meaning could be taken more than one way.

“There are songs that we possibly can’t say on air nor play,” Ambrosius says. “’69’ – it’s about a bus that goes around and around in circles,” she jokes.

Or songs like “Shoes” which details the morning after when a woman is searching for various articles of clothing, the listener can only assume that have been scattered around the room.

“I have a slight obsession, for anyone who follows me on my Instagram -shoes are my thing whether a stiletto heel or sneaker – so the concept behind the song was to have that ‘late night or early morning’ that resulted in a kiss and love’ type night and now I don’t know where my shoes are. Some 9-5’ers have to go to work and one thing you’d want is your shoes…the walk of shame is real.”

Ambrosius is on her second solo release after 2011’s Late Night and Early Mornings, which also dealt with relationships, obviously something Ambrosius likes to write about. Even her Floetry classics dealt with the highs and lows of love and it’s many different incarnations.

“With this album I needed it to play seamlessly so it’s the same through line, it’s the same male vocal I wanted people to feel like they were in that relationship. In movies, you do Part Twos or the sequel of something but in songs you want to know what happened to the dude in “Say Yes.”

You want to know did the dude in “Getting Late” hurt me again twice or three times over. With songs, you only get an average 3 minutes 20 seconds. I can’t say all I want to say at times, so in this album I revisit what happened in Late Night Early Mornings that resulted in “Shoes” the guy in “Your Hands” is now [in] “La La La La La.” I really wanted to do sequels of songs I’d already written.”

Friends and Lovers tracklisting:

1. Friends & Lovers Intro

2. So Good

3. Night Time

4. 69

5. Shoes

6. How Much More (Interlude)

7. Stronger (feat. Dr. Dre)

8. You & I

9. La La La La La

10. Cupid (Shot Me Straight Through My Heart)

11. Kiss & Fuckk (Interlude)

12. Love

13. Run

14. Spend All My Time (feat. Charlie Wilson)

15. OMG I Miss You

16. Streets of London (feat. Skye & Lindsey Stirling)

Marsha’s album highlights:

Stronger: Sade’s one of my favorite vocal queens of all time There’s soo many influences just growing up in the UK. Sade reminds me of home same reason I did Portishead on the first one.

Streets of London: I’m going back [to the UK]on August 25 to do a festival in Liverpool. My nephew is featured on the song and we’re performing it together.

Spend Some Time: It’s such a sentimental song dedicated to my grandmother and aunt, both passed away of cancer very rapidly. My brother and I wrote that song so I’m so grateful Uncle Charlie killed it.

(Photo: RCA Records)

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