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After leaving The Sugababes at the peak of their popularity. Mutya made no hesitation to start a solo career. I think she did really well because she collaborated with George Micheal, Groove Amanda and Amy Winehouse on this album. The album was a top ten hit as well, but it wasn't enough for her label and they decided to drop her. It got certificated gold and I think they were all jolly well deserved. She's got unique vocals that work well with most popular genres of music. I would describe her vocals as sharp, warm and quirky.
It gives Real Girl a really great feel to it. Compared to her work in the Sugababes it's a lot more laid back, although it does contain the signiture attitude that was present in the first four albums by the Sugababes, which gave them that really epic touch. I personally think that Real Girl is just as good as some of the albums by the Sugababes. In fact it's a lot more Sugababes than some of their later releases, but it's linked to being Mutya being the co-founder and main song writer until she left.
So the album has that overall distant R&B and urban pop that many of her fans will like. There's also a bit an influence from jazz and soul. I'm not sure if it can attract new fans, but I can see people loving the album for her quirky and like-no-other vocals. She still has those genius lyrics on this album as well as some clever samples. As a fan of hers, I think she's a really good role model.
Just A Little Bit is a great opening to the album. It's not the best song of the album, but we're quickly introduced to Mutya's great vocals and how they sound mature as ever. The choirs and bass guitar give the song a really grand feeling on top of that jazz vibe present. The lyrics are really sweet and romantic on this song. I think it's a good hype up for the album.
Next up is the leading single of the track called Real Girl. I think it was the best choice as the first single because the orchestral samples from Lenny Kravitz's song It Ain't Over Till It's Over. The lyrics have a strong self motivation theme which I think represents Mutya's personality brilliantly. There's a couple of clichés in this song such as the "don't need permission", "be true to myself", "this is the real world", though most of those clichés are all sewn together in the chorus. I don't personally mind though because Mutya's vocals are awesome on this song and it's a pitch higher than usual.
Song 4 Mutya (Out Of Control) has a strong modern sound. I think it's wonderfully produced. Mutya shows a range of vocal techniques and the fusion of first, second and third person was really clever. The instrumental of the song makes me feel energetic because it feels so 80's with the synthesisers, but the bass line makes it feel modern and timeless.
The title of the fourth track, Breakdown Motel reminds me of Elvis Presley's hit Heartbreak Hotel. It's worlds away from the song because the track is a nice R&B ballad. At the same time it's got that trance vibe that reminds me of the work of William Orbit. It reminds me of an album called The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill as well as some of the ballads from the original line up from the Sugababes. It sounds really fresh and relevant for today. I think this would have been a better choice for a single than Just A Little Bit and This Is Not Real Love. Breakdown Motel is also pretty self motivating, it reminds me of Christina Aguilera's album Stripped because that album's main theme was self motivation and a woman's strength. The song is excellent, so expect amazing vocals.
Strung Out takes it all to the next level. You might say it's cheesy with the energetic piano, but I think it adds a whole lot of emotional baggage to the song. I think it really compliments Mutya's voice very well. Another thing I like about the song is the subtle electronica in the song that makes it a bit more modern, but not too much to spoil it. Mutya belts out quite a few lovely notes. I can't feel the tragedy incorporated in this song because Mutya sounds so brilliant in the song.
It's Not Easy is such a sweet song. I think the song is about her daughter when she was a baby. I think it's a wonderful song that shows off the spirit of motherhood as well, especially the young mothers. The first verse is about wondering what the child will end up being like and the second verse is hoping that the child will be good. The chorus and hook are wonderful. It's so real. Great song for mother's day.
Suffer For Love has that vibe from the original Sugababes because of the creative lyrics and production present in the song. It's such a sweet and pleasant song. Unlike the other tracks, it shows desires to be happy and content and wondering why you have to suffer for love. I really like the line, "there's no instructions so I keep on getting hurt."
Not Your Baby is a very energetic and upbeat song. There's no introduction, it goes straight into it. It's got that 50's vintage vibe mixed with the present. Mutya pulls it off really well, but if I could say something that could improve the song I would say that Mutya is a bit quiet on this song and the instrumental is overpowering, but that's my opinion. I'm sure it can be quickly resolved by turning the volume up.
Wonderful is another powerful song from this awesome disc. I think it's such a soulful song. Love how simple the song is because it makes the message of the song more powerful. I love the Michael Jackson influences. I can't really fault it other than it might not be everyone's cup of tea.
B Boy Baby features the soulful vocals of the late great Amy Winehouse as well as borrowing lyrics and samples from Be My Baby from The Ronettes. At the time of it's release it was considered a commercial flop, although it's been a bit more successful elsewhere and it also increased the album sales. I personally think the song has a Christmas vibe to it because of the use of constant chimes and horns. It's quite an adorable song.
This Is Not (Real Love) is a duet between Mutya and George Michael. It has that classic stamp from both of them. I think it's a shame it wasn't as popular as it was because I think it's the kind of song that's really suitable for soundtracks. I love the production on the song because it sounds relaxing and chill. It matches the slow mood of the song. The music sounds really exotic which makes the tragedy a bit more real and more ironic. The song was also included in George Michael's Twenty Five album. The song has that magic from the 90's.
Paperbag brings up back to the modern life. I think this is one of the stand out album tracks because the modern production sounds so energetic. The imagery of the song is also really nice because the lyrics are very imaginative, emotional and realistic. My Song has that self inspiration theme and goes on about having some bad experiences and the chorus preaches a lot. I think it's a decent track although the music feels a little cold. It gets a bit better at the end of the song. I bought this album on iTunes and it also included an acoustic performance of her hit, Real Girl. I quite liked the song because I think it sounds really pretty. If you've got the CD, I'm not sure if it includes this track.
To conclude this review. I think it's a wonderful album and a great conversation from a pop band to a solo artist. I have a feeling that this is going to be the last solo album, we'll hear from Mutya for a while although she's working hard on some new music. I'd personally recommend it because I think it's very good. Of course anything with Mutya's name on it is bound to be good music.
I've always liked the sugababes for their unusual, edgy pop sound. They're certainly not your typical girl group- for one thing, they can all sing! But I'd always rated Mutya's soulful yet gritty (in a good way!) vocals as the best of the lot, so I was quite disappointed to hear she'd left the band.
This solo album, which I found in the Woolworths closing down sale for the bargain price of £1 definitely showcases Mutya's fantastic voice at its best. It's hard to confine this to a particular genre- she combines elements of R&B with pop and gospel sounds too, but the overall effect is a bit indieish. So there's definitely something for everyone on here.
Now for a whistle-stop tour of the tracks:
1. Just a little bit- great, chilled out but upbeat. Has a modern motown feel to it, enhanced by the gospel choirish backing vocals.
2. Real girl- fresh and poppy, this was one of Mutya's most popular singles, reaching no 2 in the charts. This song samples Lenny Kravitz's 'It ain't over til it's over'.
3. Song 4 Mutya (out of control)- my personal fave, this song makes you want to sing along at the top of your voice! Mutya collaberated with Groove Armada on this track, and the results are great.
4. Breakdown Motel- much more chilled out and lyrical.
5. Strung Out- heavy on the piano with a strong beat and bleak lyrics.
6. It's not easy- more poppy, definitely an album track, but well worth listening to for its personal, thoughtful lyrics.
7. Suffer for love- a soulful song, which shows off Mutya's versatile voice and great range.
8. Not your baby- another poppy track, much more upbeat and funky.
9. Wonderful- a bit of a cheesy ballad, hardly remembered this when I listened to it just now!
10. B boy baby- great track, remix of the Ronette's 'Be my baby', given a cool, laid back modern twist. This really works with Mutya's voice.
11. This is not real love- duet with George Michael. I usually skip this track- in spite of the great vocals it sounds like a really cheesy 80s ballad.
12. Paperbag- this track is a bit slow and ballady, though still with the gritty vibe. Not particularly memorable.
13. My song- great lyrics, smooth sounding- a good finale to the album.
I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who liked the Sugababes as they used to be, before the entire line up changed. Mutya is uniquely gifted as a singer, and she moves through all the different vibes on this album with ease. A great debut and I'm looking forward to see what she comes up with in the future.
This is the debut album from the ex sugababe,which I honestly was not disappointed with,it honestly shows her true talent.
Well known Singles which were released from this album include: Real Girl (which samples Lenny kravitz's song It aint over til its over. Song 4 Mutya which features Groove Armada, and this is not real love,featuring George Micheal.
For me this was a fun and interesting album to listen to. Mutya Buena is a very passionate and soulful singer and I think this really shows in each and every song on the album.
I felt this album incorporated a wide range of genres and styles,from the more pop/dance with songs such as song 4 mutya,to more soulful and toushing songs and lyrics like the ones featured in this is not real love.
Honestly I feel this not an album you will regret buying,its diverse,and I really dont feel that they are any weak links or tracks. I find this album hard to categorise,as one song could be very pop orientated and sounding and the next track could be more r'n'b or dance sounding.
Definately a top solo release from Mutya Buena
The track listing for the album I have is as follows:
1. Just A Little Bit
2. Real Girl
3. Song 4 Mutya (feat groove armada)
4. Breakdown Motel
5. Strung Out
6. It's Not Easy
7. Suffer For Love
8. Not Your Baby
10. B Boy Baby (feat Amy winehouse)
11. This Is Not (Real Love) (feat George Micheal)
13. My Song
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Just A Little Bit
2 Real Girl
3 Song 4 Mutya (Out Of Control)
4 Breakdown Motel
5 Strung Out
6 It's Not Easy
7 Suffer For Love
8 Not Your Baby
10 B Boy Baby
11 This Is Not (Real Love)
13 My Song