Uncut - 11/03, p.1183 stars out of 5
- "...This is a competent set of drivetime love songs..."
Mojo (Publisher) - 11/03, pp.124-53 stars out of 5
- "...The songs are full of good cheer...all delivered with a sure touch....Lyrically, it feels like her most personal record in ages..."
Personnel includes: Aretha Franklin (vocals); Mary J. Blige (background vocals).
Producers include: Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Barry Eastmond, Gordon Chambers.
SO DAMN HAPPY was nominated for the 2004 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. "Wonderful" won for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance.
Aretha Franklin released only two new albums in the 1990s, but 2003 saw a flurry of activity, with Franklin putting out both the gospel album ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM and this secular R&B disc. Her voice sounds as vibrant as ever, and most of the songs have a joyful feel that's no doubt influenced by the depth of Franklin's faith. The soft-grooving "Wonderful" and the slow-burning soul of the title track bespeak an inner jubilance, but this album isn't emotionally monochromatic. She gracefully plumbs the depths of disillusionment on the Burt Bacharach-produced/penned slow-jam "Falling Out of Love" and the remonstrative "Ain't No Way," where she even references her legendary hit "Respect." Still, it's no accident that things close on a decidedly spiritual note with the celebratory "Good News" and a reprisal of "You Are my Joy," a wedding song that--like Aretha herself--seems to have a direct link to the divine.