Earthy follow-up to artist's intergalactic first installment

By Simon Vozick-Levinson
Updated March 26, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT
Bode Helm

The first installment in Erykah Badu’s New Amerykah series, released two years ago, was an interstellar funk odyssey with room for tons of funny voices and avant-garde tangents. She stays comparatively earthbound on this follow-up, singing mostly about relationships over a set of warm, organic grooves. Some listeners will no doubt wish for more of the risks she took last time around. Ultimately, though, New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh‘s comfortable style only makes it that much easier to get pleasantly lost in. A?