"I Remember Me''
The Academy Award winner is considered one of the strongest vocalists of her generation, but Hudson hasn’t made a major impact as a solo artist. Her sophomore disc is geared to rectifying this. Alicia Keys, Swizz Beatz, R. Kelly, and Stargate contribute to this set that wants to state emphatically that three years after the murder of three of her family members, Hudson is just fine, thank you. Her debut was a disappointment — not even her big voice could breathe life into the songs. Thankfully, these are stronger, and Hudson sounds more poised. Keys’s “Everybody Needs Love’’ puts bounce into her step and the singer delivers Ne-Yo’s “Why Is It So Hard’’ with understated tenderness. There is a reliance on formula, especially the title track (co-written by Ryan Tedder), which is little more than a string of cliches. The breakout song, no doubt, will be “Still Here,’’ Diane Warren’s big schmaltzy ballad that Hudson manages to elevate. There certainly was no need for the clumsy cover of “Feeling Good,’’ because when Hudson sings the fleet “I Got This,’’ you already know what she means. (Out today)
ESSENTIAL “Why Is It So Hard’’