RnB has been on a rocky path this decade. With the rise of EDM music’s popularity and rap music taking over the culture, the genre’s artists had no other choice but to adapt. We have seen Chris Brown exploring rap and EDM to varying degrees of success, Bryson Tiller introducing his own kind of genre and Drake showing us that he has feelings. That pretty much sums up RnB today.
2018 has graced us with good RnB albums marking a return to the once-beloved genre. Case and point, Jorja Smith’s wonderful album. Now we have Ella Mai with her self-titled debut album. Hype surrounding her began with her hit single Boo’d up. I have heard this song everywhere, from every radio station to every girl’s playlist. It is worth mentioning that her EPs have been well received by critics and now we have her album to talk about. Is it any good? Yes, it is.
What I like
Ella Mai’s album production was mainly handled by DJ Mustard, who signed her to his label. To be honest, I was surprised to see that it was him that produced it. This is a well-produced album. I couldn’t find a single fault in it. Instead, I found myself enjoying it and putting it on repeat for the past two weeks.
Given that this is a RnB album; we have to talk about the lyrical themes. It’s what you would call modern RnB. Unlike the 00’s RnB which focused on the romantic stuff, this is more of real talk. She tells us how she is good bad for a guy, having too much sauce and how love is easy. I like this kind of RnB because it doesn’t feel cliché or forced in some weird way. This is her telling us how she feels. It feels organic. Soulful.
The whole record feels like an unwritten story finally coming to light. In this case, Ella Mai’s story. She is giving us an opportunity to understand her more through her music. This could be noticed through her explanation of definitions of every letter of her names throughout the album which is a nice touch.
And yeah, the features are great. There is nothing more to add about it.
What I don’t like
Most of the time, my first disappointment is usually the album length. Ella Mai is 15 tracks long (or 16 if you get the bonus track) which is three tracks more than the recommended 12. I should be ranting my ass out but I won’t because the songs are great. However, it is kind of long.
Perhaps my main complaint is that the song Naked is a bonus track. It’s my favorite track in the album and it serves as a bonus depending on which version of the album you get. Which sucks really. Unless you’re subscribed to Apple Music (like me) or Spotify, this won’t be a problem.
I will admit, 2018 has been a great year for RnB. Ella Mai is a great addition to the collection and a great addition to my daily playlist. Good stuff Ella. I give it 9/10.