A little too dangerous for both the neo-soul set and commercial radio, Teedra Moses 'brilliant 2004 debut was one of those sad casualties of a fickle, vision-bereft industry; it is the kind of record that still earns new fans each year, many of them certain that it will one day be recognized as an overlooked 2000s soul classic.
Complex Simplicity is a shockingly self-assured debut — it is short on guests; there are no superstar producers, only Poli Paul (of "Dip it Low" fame) and Raphael Saadiq; and Moses asserts herself with a bewitching swagger. She's no dame in distress: "Listen daddy, I'm too cute to fight," she sweetly coos on the carnivalesque "You Better Tell Her," before warning: "You better get that bitch told tonight."
It is a remarkably versatile album, moving from the poppy efficiency of "Caution" to the earthquaking gospel of "I Think of You (Shirley's Song)" with ease. The trembling guitar and woozy, "Spottieottie"-like ambience of "No More Tears" perfectly complements Moses 'piercing, skyward pleas, while "You'll Never Find"— featuring a brutish, man-scorned verse by Jadakiss — is a massive piece of sweet chipmunk-soul. Best of all is "Be Your Girl," a proud-but-vulnerable strut alongside the sweetest 80s groove ever.