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In Love & War Def Jam

Be­fore Ri­hanna came along twirling her um­brella, the smart money was on Amerie Rogers to be­come the r’n’b pop queen­pin. On the back of the fan­tas­tic 1 Thing sin­gle in 2005, Amerie’s on­wards and up­wards tra­jec­tory seemed as­sured. Yet her fol­low-up al­bum,

Be­cause I Love It, failed to make a mark, and she’s now back try­ing to make up for lost time with this fourth al­bum. Rogers is a fighter, and she ap­proaches In Love & War with much gusto. When this works, it’s de­light­ful. You get a hint of her brash bravado on the vi­brant, catchy Heard ’Em All. There are also some in­ven­tive touches on the snappy

Danger­ous to go with those sweet vo­cals, and Higher is a fierce cre­ation. But, like so many oth­ers in the new r’n’b school, the sickly, trea­cly bal­lads are Amerie’s down­fall. Fewer bal­lads and more bangers next time out, please. www.loveam­ JIM CAR­ROLL

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