Look: We’re not in the business of shading fallen R&B princesses, as tempting as it might sometimes be. It’s tough out there for an urban female, what with Beyonce forcing her more pedestrian counterparts to bow down and Rihanna shining bright like a diamond and making everyone look rather dull by comparison. And sure, Ashanti hasn’t had a Top 10 single since 2003, even though she’s released two albums and eight singles since — but you know what? Every concrete rose deserves redemption. And maybe this will do the trick! A new song, “Never Should Have,” that’s actually good. Really good!
Light, sparkly synths yield to a skittering backbeat and soulful verses; her vocals sound sweet and lovely over a Ryan Tedder-lite stormer of chorus. It sounds like a big, proper mainstream pop single, rather than a concession to her primarily urban fanbase. Also, she looks really grown-and-sexy in lingerie on the single artwork, so that’s crucial.
And yes, it absolutely sounds like a song that would play during a stirring montage on a Lifetime Channel original series (this one in particular is a promotional single for the new season of Army Wives, on which Ashanti is appearing), but there’s nothing wrong with that! It’s a good thing, in fact. It’s nice and cinematic, so let’s give Ashanti a round of applause. She’s still got that good, good.
Ashanti — “Never Should Have”