Meredith Brooks let her hair down with 1997's Blurring the Edges, but went against it with her sophomore effort, Deconstruction. On her third album, Bad Bad One
, Brooks doesn't follow any one formula. She finds herself fooling around with the pop stylings that made her a star in the first place, but tweaking them to her liking. She had her hand in writing every song and mastered the guitarwork by herself. The mix of hip-hop, funk, and sharp pop rhythms over basic three-chord jams keeps it tight without going overboard creatively. The songs on Bad Bad One
are versatile, and Brooks' confidence is real. Bad Bad One
is unafraid in letting it be known. Brooks urges one to embrace its soul on cheeky debut single "Shine." The country-tinged ditty "Crazy" follows suit in Brooks carefree nature, but it's the sexy funk of "High" that brings the party to the forefront. Brooks is happy -- happy with making music by her own standards and just plain smitten to be doing what she's doing. The tides do turn on this record. Some of Brooks' best work comes alive when she dissects the darker side. "You Don't Know Me" and "Walk Away" aren't exactly heartwrenching, but the salt wound is open. Everyone is a sucker sometime in their life, and Brooks has been one herself. But she's better for it. Meredith Brooks captured the moment and claimed victory on Bad Bad One
. She found an inspiration -- it's fiery and passionate while also literate and cathartic -- and ran with it.