Queendom, the debut album from reggae singer Analea Brown, dropped March 22 and rose quickly to the #2 spot on the Billboard reggae charts. Before now, Brown has spent most of her career behind the scenes, ghostwriting for other artists before taking the spotlight as a performer. It’s surprising and impressive, then, to see how naturally Queendom falls into place.
The production of Queendom is brassy and energetic, and maintains a constant level of enthusiasm. The dense, pulsing reggae sound is rich an intense. It would be easy for a vocalist to fall out of sync, but Brown remains the natural focal point of every track, and her ability as a vocalist is undeniable.
Her assurance and charisma remains constant track to track, even as she displays her range, shifting from the upbeat and uplifting “Nuttah Buttah,” one of the album’s standouts, to the more serious and sultry “Rude Bwoy” with ease.
At points, Queendom seems carefree to a fault. “We don’t need no revolution/We don’t need no war,” Brown sings on “All We Need is Love.” This message can seem tone deaf, and at odds with her acknowledgement of the difficulties she’s faced. It’s possible that it is, but Brown’s optimism is an opportunity for brief transcendence. She isn’t ignorant to existing pain, but creates a space where the burden can be momentarily forgotten.
In Queendom, Brown provides room for the embattled to rest. She creates a small, self-sustaining universe without attempting to pander to a broader audience, most notably men. She speaks directly to women like her, who have faced similar struggles and might similarly need peace and positivity.
Ultimately, it’s Brown’s authenticity that sells the album, with a unique spirit and identity that won’t resonate with absolutely everyone, which is why it is able to strike an important chord.
Listen to Queendom on Spotify.