“ Genre: Pop / Music Album / Artist: Alexis Jordan / Release date: 28 Feb 2011 /Disc #1 Tracklisting: 1 Happiness 2 Good Girl 3 How You Like Me Now? 4 Say That 5 Love Mist 6 Habit 7 Hush Hush 8 High Road 9 Shout Shout 10 Laying Around 11 The Air That I Breathe / Label: Columbia „
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I remember when I was first introduced to Alexis Jordan. I was watching the music channels when a 'new song' came on. At first, I thought that the girl in the video was Rihanna as I thought it looked like her. Although it turned out that it was actually a young American singer called Alex Jordan who was runner up on the show 'America's Got Talent'. Alexis Jordan is the debut album from Alexis Jordan. It was released in the United Kingdom in February 2011 and so is very recent. You can buy your copy of this album from Amazon for £6.00 which I think is good value for money. ~* Tracklist *~ 1) Brazil Edit 2 2) Shout 3) Happiness 4) Good Girl 5) How You Like Me Now 6) Say That 7) Love Mist 8) Habit 9) Hush Hush 10) High Road 11) Shout Shout 12) Laying Around 13) The Air That I Breathe I was really impressed with this album! It is a fantastic collection of songs. Each song is slightly different and brings something amazing to the album. There are some great songs on this album and a real mixture. A lot of the songs are up-beat which is good as they are ones which will get you up and dancing; the kind of songs which will put you in a good mood. Such songs include 'Happiness' a really catchy and up-beat song which is very infectious. 'Good Girl' is among one of my favourite songs on the album. It's like two songs rolled into one; some parts of it are very upbeat and make you want to dance whilst other parts of the song are slower and quite emotional. I also like the song 'Hush Hush' as it very 'dance-like'. I could definetely imagine dancing to this in a club. I really like Alexis' voice. It is very unique and different and I like the fact that she has quite a 'raw' sounding voice. She sings really well and has the power when and where needed in her songs. She can also do the 'softer' bits really well, and I like how she puts the emotion out there; you can really hear all of the different emotions in her voice. I really cannot believe that she is just eighteen years old. I really like this album! I like all of the songs, and really cannot say that there is one song that I dislike. I don't feel the need to skip any of the songs which is good, as it means that I have got good value for my money. If you have liked Alexis' singles (Happiness and Good Girl) then you will love this album. Thanks for reading! 2nd May 2011 xd-o-n-z-x (also posted under xdonzx on ciao)
One of the things I have discovered as parent to a teenager is hearing chart music emanating from her bedroom or from the music channels on TV. As a music lover myself, I am at the stage in my life now when I frequently find myself moaning that the charts "aren't as good as they used to be" and slagging off music which I believe has no worth performed by artists with minimal talent. Of course it should be this way. Teenagers don't want to listen to the same music as their parents so while my daughter happily laps up N-Dubz, I invariably turn my nose up. This is not to say we don't share some likes when it comes to music however, but it invariably tends to be from people perceived as album acts such as Adele or Duffy. One song my daughter introduced me to last year was "Happiness" by Alexis Jordan. Jordan isn't the sort of pop star I usually pay much heed to, but the song had a lovely trancey beat to it so when she downloaded it I added it to my iPod. Jordan released her debut album recently and unsurprisingly my daughter bought it. Having been reasonably impressed by her second single, I decided to give it a go myself. ~~Alexis Jordan~~ Alexis Jordan is 18 years old and hails from South Carolina. She first came to prominence at the age of 14 on "America's Got Talent" when she displayed a precocious level of confidence singing Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing". She didn't win the show but she made contacts and eventually moved to Atlanta in the hope of getting a break in the industry. Her break came in a less than traditional manner however. Whilst waiting for her career to move forward she started posting videos of herself singing cover versions of hits on her own YouTube channel. She built up quite a following of fans this way until finally, in a move more at home in fairytales, she was spotted by Jay-Z and Norwegian uber-producers Stargate who signed her to their record label. "Happiness", which was her debut release, charted at a respectable number 3 in the UK charts last year. ~~The Album~~ This is an eponymously titled debut album but what will strike you almost immediately is that this is pop fluff aimed at teenage girls. Now don't get me wrong - I am not in any way criticising that. I was a teenager myself after all and can still recall how the lyrics of "Love's Unkind" by Donna Summer resonated with me when I was 14 years old. What doesn't ring true is the cover however. Jordan has been styled to look incredibly like Beyonce and while there's no denying she is very attractive, it would appear she's been styled to appeal more to the boys than the girls and I believe this is a mistake. There are plenty of shots of her in the inlay booklet where she looks like a typical American teenager and they speak "teen girl" far better than the cover. Of course Beyonce is married to Jay-Z and has worked with Stargate on "Halo" and while I would hope both were trying to avoid the possibility of any direct comparison, at times it's hard not to notice and not just in the cover art visuals - vocally the spectre of Beyonce looms large. Stargate have also worked extensively with Rihanna and there are songs on here which I guess may originally have been written with her in mind before Stargate decided to invest in a Mark 2 version. The album kicks off with "Happiness", a track co-written by Stargate with Deadmau5 and it's a super little pop song which has such a strong hook you can't fail to forget it. Deadmau5' influence looms large on this one - the trancey backing from him is eminently danceable - so much so that I had hoped for a remix tacked on as a bonus track. This is one of those lovely summer pop songs that even from the midst of middle age puts a smile on my face with it's ability to connect primarily with young people but also with anyone who finds Jordan's vocal enthusiasm contagious. Follow up single "Good Girl" is more obviously a Stargate production and it's been said that Stargate have the ability to make most of their songs all sound the same and certainly their clattery production style is evident all over this but Jordan manages to stamp her own identity on another hook filled pop song. Unfortunately on several other songs it sounds as if Jordan has been given Rihanna's leftovers. "How You Like Me Now" is particularly reminiscent of the Barbadian songstress stylistically, however as Jordan asks her former boyfriend what he thinks of her now they are through it sounds like she's outside the lockers at high school. In Rihanna's hands I think the setting in the listener's mind would be somewhere altogether steamier. And this is both a strength and a weakness for Alexis Jordan. She has the ability to be incredibly accessible to teen and pre-teen girls but also to possibly run the risk of not being cool enough. She doesn't have the musical credibility of pre-teen fave Taylor Swift either being in essence a performer and not a writer or musician. She has a strong voice but there are definite hints of autotune in use here and having heard some of her live performances tuning does sometimes play second fiddle to sheer vocal power. On more delicate tracks, such as "Say That", a sweet teenage ballad she is able to stamp a bit of personality on the song despite not having the distinctive tone to her voice that the likes of Rihanna has. There are a couple more songs which sound like Rihanna cast offs, the reggae backed "Love Mist" which has a memorable and hook laden chorus reminiscent in places of "Happiness". Jordan does manage to stamp a little of her own personality on this by taking out the sex factor in her voice which gives the lyrics a convincing charm. "Habit" is a more uptempo song with heavy production and Jordan's vocals are louder on a song which has no double meaning - this isn't about holding hands in the park. And this is where Jordan's vocals fall flat a little - she is good at singing about juvenile, chaste things. But when she moves up a notch to sex in a pop/RnB genre, she lacks any real sensuality. The more I listen to this album the more I think Stargate should have tried to steer Jordan away from RnB and stick her firmly in pop and dance music. The best track on the album for me after the joyous "Happiness" is another pop dance song called "Hush Hush". This song has a far more pronounced electro backing and the chorus is ripe for endless remixes and dub versions for the dance floor. Jordan's vocals are strong here too - she seems to be more comfortable singing pop and there is a genuine sound of longing in her voice as she sings - the chorus in particular is lovely. The album continues in this vein - with a fab electro pop track called "High Road" which is one of the few tracks Stargate don't have a hand in writing. The Europop sound continues however courtesy of Dutch collective NOISIA. The song has hints of New Order (I swear I can hear a bit of "Blue Monday" there) and the pounding synthesised beat is excellent. Jordan's vocals veer a little to the pitchy in places but she makes a decent stab at telling her no-good boyfriend where to go. The 80s theme also features on "Shout Shout" which heavily samples the Tears for Fears hit "Shout" in the chorus and is also inspired by much of their early electro pop on the instrumentation. Vocally Jordan is fantastic on this, adopting a sincere sense of longing in her vocals. This is a great electro pop song and I guess this may well be a future single. The album rounds off with a couple of laid back ballads which allow Jordan's voice to shine without so much of Stargate's studio trickery. "Laying Around" is an utterly charming teen love song for the 21st century which references cooking in the microwave, popcorn and pillow fights. Vocally and lyrically this captures the joy of youth perfectly. The album rounds off with "The Air That I Breathe" a gentle guitar led ballad which is sweet but lacks the youthful charm of "Laying Around". Jordan's vocals are convincing if a little wobbly on the higher notes, revealing that perhaps her range is a little limited beyond her comfort zone. This song isn't to be confused with the Hollies hit - it was co-written by Norwegian singer Espen Lind. ~~Final Thoughts~~ This isn't an album that's going to set the world alight. It's something I say often because I know a lot of the music I listen to is intended to appeal to a small market and probably isn't crafted to stand the test of time - more than likely it's crafted to appeal to a small demographic who spend a disproportionate amount of money on music. I've never been a huge music snob - although I do draw the line at Westlife - so pure feel good pop music is something I have been enjoying since I was a child. Stargate half manage to capture that on this album, and certainly "Happiness" shows that if you give a decent vocalist a song which enables her to be herself, then she can come from nowhere and have a huge summer hit. The problem however is in giving Alexis Jordan songs to sing which don't really suit her. She has a reasonably soulful voice but I don't believe RnB is the right genre for it - she really shines far better doing pop/Euro Dance. Sadly this is the curse of the music industry at the moment - RnB is the biggest selling genre so too many artists have it foisted upon them. It works brilliantly for Rihanna, but Jordan lacks Rihanna's oozing sex appeal. I have however been pleasantly surprised at this debut album - when it's good it's really, really good and I can see past Stargate's irritating trait of regurgitating the same songs here because of Jordan's undeniable appeal as a vocalist, and an ability to engage with her target audience. This is a great insight to what teenagers get up to, what they think about and how they feel, all sung by a girl who is still a teenager herself, and who has managed to transcend that 2006 "America's Got Talent" performance by no longer being precocious - but by being herself . It's just a pity that Stargate didn't allow her to be herself all the time.