Album Review : August Alsina

Album Review     :          Testimony

Artist                    :         August Alsina

Genre                   :         Rap and R and B

I was kind surprise with this album.  Looking at its cover, you would think that this is in the same league with Lil’ Wayne, Young Jeez, and other hate rap artist that you are familiar with. 

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Testify                  –        a kind of song which has stamp of John Legend; piano and some kind of emotional vocals.  It even has the same pattern like with Mr. Legend songs.  Slow at first, then breaks in between stanza and you would think that it will segue to faster beat. 

Make It Home      –        probably a continuation of the intro song, however, after listening to this song, you might get the idea that you are hearing stuffs R Kelly, Usher, and other smooth R and B and rap artist did early on their career.  The melody and the musical instruments were just right and you really can imagine going home in this music or pleading for someone to be back home ASSAP.

Right There         –        the third song in the album, and in this piece, you can conclude that this rap artist has a style of his own.  Like with the first two songs, you have difficulty deciding if the main lyrics are the one uttered in the background or the ones that you hear audibly.  There is a two-fold element; interspersing background vocals with main vocals. 

You Deserve        –        the first non-rap song in the album.  Good for swaying your hips discreetly or just plain head and shoulder movement.  Again, feels like listening to Usher and some melodious songs from Jay Z.  Without the vocals, you might think that the song is a Motown melody.

No Love                –        one thing that you notice in the first four songs were the use of drums conservatively.  Like the previous songs, this piece is easy on the drums; no banging that hurts your ear and vibrates through your chest.  Surprisingly, already in his fifth song in this record, you still have to hear the usual f and n words most artists are fond of peppering in their rap creations. 

Porn Star             –        in this song, you might thought that the album is miscategorised in terms of genre.  You can observe that the artist is fond of using trip hop and ambient music to introduce the song.  As the title impress upon, it mimics what you frequently hear in soundtrack music in some porn movies.  The background melody and music is enough to imagine erotic dreams.

FML                     –        finally, you have a rap song that you usually hear with rap albums.  Pure synthesizer and lot of “oh wa” mix with pleading for love lyrics.  And you get to hear the “N” word finally. 

Grind and Pray / Get You Money    –        more of the same at this point, you get the feeling that it becomes boring. 

 Ghetto                 –        what is this? Backward masking, I just don’t understand the background music.  Very confusing, like an amateur tinkering with instruments. 

Kissing on My Tattoos           –        the piano background doesn’t work here, with vocals that you can only partially heart what he is rapping about.  As a whole, the association of his music with that of Bone Thugs N’ Harmony is still apparent. 

 

Ah Yeah       ­   –    don’t know what he is trying to accomplish with clapping background and vocals in the lower octave as background and main vocals rapping the same words.  It is quite difficult to comprehend if he is trying to impress various musical styles, or just another idea on how to fill songs for his record. 

Mama                   _        I expected to be sullen in this song.  But I find the marching like tempo in the background distracting.  Maybe it is his method of telling everyone that his Mom died already and this is supposed to be a tribute song for her. 

Benediction                   With Rick Ross as his duet partner, you would expect a rap song with no melody just pure drum and bass.  Fortunately, you have a song that is good.  I expect that it will have a remix version and will catapult him in Billboard Dance Charts.  

I Love This Shit            –        ok, here comes the shit song.  This is an unexpected song considering the title.  It is quite bouncy not the usual hate rap song when you factor the title.

Numb                             –        very Coolio, that’s all I can say with this song.

Grind and Pray (Extended Bonus Track)            –        nothing much that can be said here.

I Love This Shit (Extended Bonus Track) –        not what I expected as dance remix, typical bonus tracks with lots of featured artist.   

 

My verdict on this album, you can use the skip and forward button if you feel you are listening to the same song.  My rating is 2 ½ star out of five stars.                                                                    Rating’s Description:
1 star = Ignore it
2 stars= risk it
3 stars = borrow or buy it
4 stars = buy it and keep it
5 = buy, keep, and treasure it
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

 

 

 

                   

 

 

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Album Review: Me I Am Mariah The Elusive Chanteuse

Album Review:  Me I Am Mariah The Elusive Chanteuse

I do like Mariah, thus, I am one of those who were excited to listen to her latest album.  And, I was surprised that based on her track record, this is a huge flop.  So, I decided to write a track by track review to discern why is ti so.

 

  • Cry – she tried to attempt Adele type of song wherein the instrumentations were kept to minimum.  Sadly, it didn’t work because the song has no interesting hook or melody.  It felt like she was just reciting a poem or narrating a story with piano as background.  She has a song way back then with similar title and it was more melodic than this one.

Watch live performance of “Cry” in here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJG2yCmdt6s.

  • You’re Mine (Eternal) –I was not surprised that this song only manage to rack one week on Billboard Hot 100, when this song was released as a single months prior to the release of The Elusive Chanteuse.  Listening to this song, made you remember her 90’s stuff especially the latter part of that decade where she dabble with R and B and Hip Hop genre.  You will be convinced that this one was a reject from any album she churned during the nineties.

Watch official video in here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toOlPqXW75A.

 

  • Meteorite – the intro groove feels like a rehash of Robyn’s Show Me Love.  The beat is somehow infectious, however, I believe that should she infused it with EDM, it could have been better. Well, a little bit of house music in this era of electronic dance, this dance beat is a satisfactory alternative.
  • You Don’t Know What To Do ft Wale – the song could have been had it started with the infectious groove instead of wailing first for knowing what to do.  However, like You’re Mine (Eternal), you felt like listening to a remix version of any of her old ballads.  It has the kind of groove common to B side songs that were remixed.   You thought that featuring Wale would be a potent combination, unfortunately, the rapper acted like the usual rapper, singing uttering phrases for Mariah.

Watch live performance of “You Don’t Know What To Do” in this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5–ZnmiRlE.

  • One More Try – what is funny about her cover version of this George Michael song she took the song literally.  The introduction of the song had traces of Dreamlover and other past hits of hers.  Giving listeners the idea that she wanted to recover singing prowess that she used to own.  In fairness, she did not deviate from what the British singer did with his song; she delivered it even better.
  • Make It Look Good – another pseudo-anthem type of song from her, in the league of Make It Happen, this time it is quite slower.  I believe this is the right song that should have minimum instrumentations instead of Cry.  It could have beaten Adele’s Someone Like You or John Legend’s All Of Me.  One more thing, the harmonica factor could have been used as intro music like what Madonna did with the banjo with Love Spent.

Listen to audio version of “Make It Look Good” in here v.

  • Heavenly (No Ways Tired / Can’t Give Up Now) – for a singer who has two decades exposure and experience, it is quite unfathomable that she is still singing about survival.  Katy Perry is singing about The One That Got Away, Lady Gaga was advocating about being Born This Way, and  Britney was pouncing someone as Womanizer, still Mariah is still playing the underdog.  Is she telling us that she has lots of insecurities?

Listen to audio version of “Heavenly” in here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wfv5E6b6ZUM.

  • Almost Home – I can say that this is a decent song when you consider how dated some of her songs in this album.  However, the way the song was constructed, one would think this is a cover version of a One Direction song.  It just has the right combination of good hooks, feel good lyrics, and good singing (no wailing and whispering.)
  • Triumphant (Vintage Throwback Remix) – while she is known to produce remix versions of her songs that could stand as singles, this other version is just repulsive.  Why can’t she hook up with Avici, Swedish House, Dave Guetta, and other popular EDM artists or mixers? This song needed their help to make it more relevant.  If you want to relieve the 90’s dance scene, this is the song for you.

Watch official video of “Triumphant” in here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UM156Pkfg70.

  • Faded – I thought I was hearing INOJ or Sisquo with the melody of this song or the chord progression.  And, after listening to this song, you asked yourself why this album is not selling well.  Of course, the nineties was two decades over yet, she is still using the same trick popular in that decade.
  • Beautiful – the title credit of this song goes like this “Beautiful”  Mariah Carey featuring Miguel however, when you listen to the whole song, it should be Miguel featuring Mariah Carey.  One question, did she recognized Sugar Ray, it feels like you are listening to their song “Every Morning.”  Well, it is a good song.  It deserved peak position at #15 in Billboard Hot 100 charts.
  • Supernatural –  Madonna also has a song with similar title.  At least she was honest enough that it was filler and she contributed that song to a certain compilation.  This song from Mariah is not only a filler song but an extension of Beautiful.  It is a matter of inserting something here and something there and there you go you have a song.  This one is so not creative.  Still, her lambs are not convinced that this album is in between repulsive and okay.
  • Dedicated (with Nas) – and who the hell is Nas? This one is “Obsessed” in uptempo version.  One would think she created this song, just to fill the album with so many songs.  You can hear similar songs and tempo with any other artists who are lazy to make their album memorable.  This is just one “ Ladidah” song to complete the album.  Amber’s asexual is better with the “Ladidah” thing.
  • It’s A Wrap – the truth is that Mary J. Blige was paid enough money to be featured in this song.  The song might declare that Mariah was represented; in fact Ms. Blige was misrepresented in this song.  Just for the heck that Mariah has to have a song.  How you wish that she would produce the same album along the like of her first three albums.
  • Thirsty – again, the intro is literal, pouring water in a jug.  And then, hip hop thing, just to go on with the song.  Another filler song to complete the album.  Another variation of “Cry” song of long ago.  No wonder she kept on pushing the formal released of this album, because this song just remind you of filler songs with her previous albums.
  • Camouflage – the intro was good.  But then, another recitation.  Just how do you camouflage tears?  Just one song with stupid lyrics.  She could have used the lower octave instead of whimpering.  It’s just listening to an audition trying to pass of a song with personal touch.  Is this the effect of being a judge on “American Idol?”
  • Money – oh, I thought Little Wayne is in here.  Another “come on Mariah” why can’t be featured rappers rap like “Mariah is a shit.”  Come on girl, you try to be poetic trying to rhyme lingerie and holiday?  And then, load the song with “hey” so many times?”  Fatima Rainey, why don’t you sue Mariah?
  • Betcha Gonna Know Now – when you have a song talking about rage, the listener should feel the rage in you.  Unfortunately, R Kelly had the rage Mariah just don’t have it singing this song.
  • The Art Of Letting Go – this should have been the title of this album.  Yes, it was sane for her to let go of this title.  Lyrically, the song just don’t have it: meaning, the kind of lyrics fans would expect.  You know something about being disappointed and realizing that it is all about reverberation and echo about things.

Yes, there are so many songs in this album and you thought that you got a bargain.  Of the 19 songs listed in the album nearly a half are worth listening to.   So, no question there why the album did not sell based on her standards.  At 55, 000 first week sales, it is an indication that even her fans find this album just so so.

Rating’s Description:
1 star = Ignore it
2 stars= risk it
3 stars = borrow or buy it
4 stars = buy it and keep it
5 = buy, keep, and treasure it