With the aptly-titled Unexpected, her third solo album and first since 2004’s Do You Know, Michelle Williams has moved away from the gospel flavor characterizing her debut and sophomore releases and created a bold new collection of contemporary pop/dance classics. Executive produced by Mathew Knowles for Music World Productions and Michelle Williams, Unexpected finds Michelle collaborating with some of today’s hottest producers including Jim Jonsin (Jamie Foxx featuring Ludacris, Sean Paul, Danity Kane, Trina featuring Kelly Rowland, Pretty Ricky, Lil Wayne featuring Static Major, Bow Wow and Omarion); Rico Love (Usher, Omarion, Natasha Bedingfield, Tiffany Evans featuring Bow Wow); Wayne Wilkins (Natasha Bedingfield, Kylie Minogue, Pink, No Doubt); Andrew Frampton (Natasha Bedingfield, Kylie Minogue); StarGate and more.
“We Break The Dawn,” the first single from Unexpected, is produced by Wayne Wilkins and Andrew Frampton, who co-wrote the track with the singer/songwriter Solange Knowles. (The younger sister of Beyonce Knowles, Michelle’s ensemble-mate and musical colleague in Destiny’s Child, Solange has written songs for Beyonce, Destiny’s Child, Kelly Rowland and Trinitee 5:7.)
Other stand-out tracks on Unexpected include the irresistible “Stop This Car,” produced by StarGate, the Norwegian production team behind #1 hits for Ne-Yo and Rihanna as well as Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable,” the biggest song of the year on the Hot 100 Billboard Year End Chart 2007.
On a personal note, I have heard several of Michelle’s new songs and they are all great. I found myself liking many of them on first listen. Sadly for Michelle however, is the fact that Beyonce’s leaked tracks have overshadowed her new music. Both Michelle and Kelly have had to fight extra hard to get their music played on the radio (no, I don’t blame Matthew) and it will be a shame if radio programmers continue to overlook both these sistas, even when Bey has no official music out.