Newest Review: ... to. The album is well constructed with a solid tracklisting of songs and whilst they don't carry an overarching story, the words all... more
SO is OK!
Stacie Orrico - Stacie Orrico
Member Name: IainWear
Stacie Orrico - Stacie Orrico
Advantages: A couple of stand out tracks
Disadvantages: Mostly no more than average
Back in the summer of 2003 whilst flicking between the various music channels, the sounds of two young female artists caught my ears with the first song I’d heard from either. One was Amy Studt with “Misfit”, the other was Stacie Orrico and “Stuck”. Impressed enough with “Misfit” to try an album, I bought Amy Studt’s “False Smiles” and was so disappointed with it, I never gave Stacie Orrico’s self titled album a thought. Soon after, both seemingly dropped off the musical radar and I forgot about them.
Earlier this year, I heard the first single from Orrico’s second album “Beautiful Awakening” and, whilst not terribly impressed, it did remind me of her existence. This is turn made me think of how good “Stuck” had sounded and made me wonder if I hadn’t perhaps dismissed her too hastily those years before. After all, the cream does rise to the top and with Orrico managing a second album, which Studt hasn’t up to this point; maybe a sign that she was, in fact, the better of the two.
The album opens with the song that first caught my attention. “Stuck” is seemingly a fairly harmless pop song, with a slight R ‘n’ B undertone, until it runs into the chorus. Then it really gets going and there’s a little harder edge, making it more of a heavy pop song, which is a sound I’m a big fan of. It sounds like a harder edged Britney Spears for the most part. Even three years after I first heard the song, it still impresses me.
There’s more of an R ‘n’ B edge to “(There’s Gotta Be) More to Life”, although it’s essentially another up-tempo pop tune. It doesn’t have the heavy pop edge of “Stuck”, being a fairly straight pop tune, but it bounces along quite happily and it’s another decent track in an early Christina Aguilera kind of way and does remind me of a smoother and better version of Amy Studt’s “Misfit”.
The sound continues to edge towards the R ‘n’ B end of the pop spectrum with “Bounce Back”. It’s a slower tempo track, with a definite pop-R ‘n’ B sound, especially over the chorus. It reminds me a little bit of some very early Destiny’s Child songs, which isn’t a bad thing, but not really my preferred sound, so whilst this isn’t a bad track, it’s not one of my favourites.
The pace drops even further, for the album’s first ballad, “I Promise”. Sadly, it’s not a great example, as it’s another R ‘n’ B edged pop song, which doesn’t seem to be Orrico’s strength. There’s not really too much wrong with the track, but it’s very insipid compared to what has gone before. This track does show off Orrico’s skill as a vocalist, though and proves that she can really sing, which isn’t always the case with a lot of today’s artists.
Orrico keeps up the R ‘n’ B edge on “Security”, which is another slower paced track. It’s a pretty standard example of the genre, reminding me of some of Mariah Carey’s work when she was edging into the same pop-R ‘n’ B genre, particularly songs like “Fantasy”.
“Instead” is a bit better, as it doesn’t seem to be caught between two genres. This is a straight out pop-R ‘n’ B song and it reminds me of some of the tracks on Jamelia’s latest album. Admittedly, the genre isn’t my favourite and I still prefer the opening couple of tracks, but this is certainly her best take on an R ‘n’ B tinged song. The other thing that sets it apart is that this is a pop-R ’n’ B tune with a social conscience, which is pretty unusual.
Orrico heads even further into R ‘n’ B territory with “Hesitation”. It’s a pretty standard R ‘n’ B tune which could have been by any current R ‘n’ B artist. The chorus in particular does remind me a bit of Jamelia.
It’s back to the ballads for “Strong Enough”, with a piano introduction that reminds me very much of Delta Goodrem. It is a song very much in her style, being a fairly straight piano based pop ballad, although the vocals have a little more of a soulful edge than Goodrem, reminding me a little bit of classic Whitney Houston.
It’s back to the up-tempo R ‘n’ B influenced songs for “I Could Be the One”. The pop edge is back this time, meaning the song falls part way between the likes of “Instead” and “Stuck”, in a similar place to “Bounce Back”. It is a bouncy happy tune, though and a decent foot tapping tune.
“Maybe I Won’t Look Back” is another mid-tempo R ‘n’ B tinged track. It’s quite close in sound to something like “Security”, although there’s a little less of the pop influence. It’s not a bad track, but it is quite similar to others on the album and it’s not her best.
The intro to “Tight” has a very Destiny’s Child flavour to it. It’s got more of an obvious pop influence and less of the R ‘n’ B style that they did, although there is a hint of Mis-Teeq’s “Scandalous” in there as well. It’s a harmless enough song that grooves along without really impressing, until you get to a strange almost rap bit at the end which just doesn’t work for me and probably does more than anything to make this my least favourite track.
The strong intro to “That’s What Love’s About” suggests another ballad in the making and, unlike the end to the previous track, there are no real surprises here. It’s a harmless enough pop ballad with a fairly soulful vocal and a tinge of R ‘n’ B and reminds me a little of early En Vogue, from way back in the 1980s. It’s quite a pretty end to what hasn’t been a bad album.
Whilst there’s nothing especially brilliant about the album, although some of the tracks are pretty good examples of the pop and R ‘n’ B genres, this certainly isn’t a bad album, either. It’s fairly average in length, at 12 tracks and 43 minutes, but certainly no less than average at any stage, with some real stand out tracks.
Given that it’s no longer Orrico’s current release and is about three years old, the prices have dropped, so it’s pretty good value if this is your kind of music. It’s available from Amazon, CD Wow, HMV and Virgin all for around £6.99, but bargains can be found from £2.40 at the Amazon Marketplace or as little as 20 pence on eBay. At a price like that, Orrico is definitely worth a chance, especially if you’re into pop-R ‘n’ B. If you’re a fan of the likes of Jamelia, Beyonce and Destiny’s Child, as well as some of Christina Aguilera’s earlier songs, you’re likely to find something you’ll enjoy here; possibly not the whole album, but enough to make it worth buying.
Summary: Debut album from then 16 year old Stacie Orrico