Mai I Be Frank?

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Uncle’s Critique

2 out of 4 party cups


London bred singer Ella Mai recently released her self-titled studio album. Still riding high on the break out single Boo’d Up, this album is sure to give fans more of what they have come to love about Ella Mai.

While I appreciate artists like H.E.R. and Ella Mai’s attempts to resurrect what we’ve been missing in female R&B vocalists, I am not a 100% sold. It could be the fact that I am getting old which dawned on me while I was listening to the first 7 tracks of the songs. In some regards, they all sound the same and the lyrics came off a little young and recycled. I had to remind myself that she is only 23 years old.  Ella Mai enlisted the help of Chris Brown on Whatchamacallit which was a snoozer about cheating.  Chris Brown is incessant in giving us the same riffs and runs from the past 10 years.  Yawn.

I was sitting back waiting for a song to really grab my attention and it didn’t happen until I stumbled across the track Everything featuring the one and only John Legend.  Full disclosure, I’m a die-hard John Legend fan which could have been the sole reason for my affinity for the song.  Once I heard John’s vocals slide in on the 2nd verse, I know we had a winner. It’s a nice match up of these artists with unique and distinctive voices. In my opinion; this album starts to build momentum from there.  One of my favorite tracks is Own It which samples the 90s classic T-Shirt and Panties by Adina Howard.

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My main problem with this album is that is doesn’t offer anything that you can’t find on the radio or SoundCloud currently. The production value is on point, but the beats are nothing invigorating or innovative. When I can predict the next lyrics before they are sung, I have to give a major side eye.  Where is the creativity? I’m sure a lot of people would disagree. I know the masses will love it but it didn’t wow me. But I said, what I said.  I won’t deny Ella Mai’s talent. She definitely has room to grow as an artist and songwriter especially as she experiences more in life.

Other standout includes: Shot Clock, Gut Feeling, Naked, and Close