“ Genre: R&B & Soul / Artist: ATL / Audio CD released 2004-05-31 at Epic „
"The ATL Project" is the debut album from the R&B group ATL. Trè, Will, L-Rock, Danger came together in a local talent search in Atlanta, Georgia, the name of this contest is the reason for the choice in the title for the album, and their name comes from the city where they are all based. Despite the contest spanning only as far as this one city in the south of the US, their sound mangaged to reach out to the UK and even get the a top 25 single. The album came out in 2004, and they are yet to follow it up with any new material.
2. Calling All Girls
This song was the first tha the world were able to hear from ATL, and the song whcih enabled them to commence their careers as singers. To match the fact that they were new on the scen, they come out sining in a shout-out to the potential female fans across the globe.
With a fresh and new act, you need a little something to help them on ther way, and the way which it is done here is by having the superstar R&B singer R. Kely produce it with his Timbalnd-esue flute-lead music.
3. Make It Up With Love
Thsi is the second single from ATL, and at the time it displayed a different side to the group from the more lively lead single. This has them sing about wanting to rectify past actions in their reationships. I thought that it really displayed what they are capable of in a way where you can't deny their vocal talent (as they had sang in the two main types of R&B, the club and the soulful ones).
4. Let Me
ATL performs this well-written love song to come out with some nice reults. I thought that although the lyrics were nice and thought-provoking, the opening for it was far too similar to K-Ci & Jjo's "All my Life", and as that is my favourite R&B ballard I don't really like anyting which attmpts to rip aspects from it.
5. It's Us (feat. Ciara)
I thought that this track let the group down quite considerably as apart from in this one, I thought that they were consistantly strong at singing together as a group, but once they harmonize ttogether in the choruses for it, they sound very flat, and it's a shame because without this, it would be a great dance-pop-RB track from ATL.
6. Shawty (feat. Cassidy)
The support which I mentioned with R. Kelly can be translated onto this track as the Phily rapper Cassidy performs with the group to help them get ther names up. As cassidy was relatively new at the time, it was good for all of the musicians, and he seemed to to fit in with the style of R&B here (unlike now where he has gone deep down the gangsta rap route).
7. Holla At Ya Boy
I thought that this track was one of the better ones on the album, and this is likely to be due to the fact that the experienced southern producer Jazzy Pha did the beat for it. As the pioneer producer for the Crunk & B movement he brought a club sound here (before he pushed the sound with Ciaraa the year after).
I have to say that altough I enjoyed it, I felt that it was quite unoriginal, an di could fairly call it a op off B2K as they use up-beat production to sing a nice little R&B song, and one member of the group does a little rap (as Lil' Fizz of B2K often does).
8. You Are
I thought that this track was a pretty average love song with some great vocals from ATL, but it didn't have anything special about it to make it stand out from the rest of the album, which contained a multitude of tunes with similar themes to it.
9. I Wish (feat. Ciara)
When you look back on this album, you notice more about the names and who else needs to be credited fo the album. I say this as "I Wish" features two musicians who have received much more attentiaon more recently than then as Jazzy Pa produces in a mellow way, ad Ciara (given with her surname Harris too) sings part of the chorus, and so you get a sense of the development of these Atlanta acts who have out-lived ATL, and in fact got to a higher level than the R&B group ever managed to.
10. No More
This is a song which stood out for me. I wouldn't say that it's anything to do with the actaul performance by ATL, because it remains pretty much the same throguhout the LP, I think that it's ore to do with the theme as it talks about falling out of love. This is something which is difficult to explain, so I found that way of expressing it to be a more comprehendible way to understand what it is to feel this was. As they are singing about something whcih reuiires a strange mixture of emotions, it is sang in a way to fit this; giving a nice overall sound for the topic.
I thought that this was a nice album, but when you listen to it, you always have the fact that they were manufactured in your head, so I felt that this prevented me from fully embracing thme. For an R&B album, it's pretty average, but this quartet were are a nice addition to whatever you already posses in this genre.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Calling All Girls
3 Make It Up With Love
4 Let Me
5 It's Us (featuring Ciara)
6 Shawty (featuring Cassidy)
7 Holla At Ya Boy
8 You Are
9 I Wish (featuring Ciara)
10 No More