I was going to review Aira Mitsuki’s I’LL BE BACK album next, but it left me with no taste in my mouth. Not a bad taste–no taste. I figured it’d be a waste of time to write a review on an album in which majority of the tracks will have the same comments. Let’s just move onto the next one: JASMINE. If you aren’t familiar with her, she’s a primarily J-R&B singer with quite eccentric style. She debuted over 4 years ago with sad to say, but hasn’t garnered much success since then–only small victories. Recently, her style has incorporated quite a bit of electro, most likely in order to appeal to a broader crowd. Her second full-length album, Complexxx, released on August 21st, 2013. My favorite songs are italicized.
01. High Flying – The album opener, also a previously released A-side, is a great one to start off with. It has an upbeat R&B tone while sounding a bit serious at the same time. It’s pretty obvious that there are clear electronic influences; however, it’s done in a perfect dosage–not overdone, thankfully. I find the track to be kind of soothing–even though that sounds a little odd since I called it upbeat. The one thing I don’t really like much about this song is the chorus; I think it subtracts from the feel. Quite frankly, it can get a bit annoying. Regardless, the song is well-done and modern-sounding.
02. Best Partner – The song starts off like it could possibly be a mid-tempo ballad but quickly picks up the R&B instruments. Again, the R&B is apparent in Best Partner as it was in High Flying, but other elements give it influence from different genres. The piano and “violin” give the track a touch of softness compared to High Flying. But like the album opener, the shoutiness of JASMINE’s vocals in the chorus are a bit bothersome. However, I still find the track quite easy on the ears.
03. Addiction – A fairly old song, released on her 2011 ONLY YOU single. Addiction begins to add some umph into the album with a solid beat and busy overall sound. For sure, I fell in love with this song at first listen. I love the marching band sound of it. It’s a very strong song while still being pretty fun and playful. I enjoy its lean toward Hip-Hop/Dance.
04. Touch me on the beach – Ooh, the album took a bit of a nosedive. The way the song started sounded a pretty tacky to begin with. Actually, the whole thing sounds a bit tacky. The English feels misplaced and awkward. The song had a bit of potential but it really didn’t use it very well. Bottom of the barrel for me.
05. B*TCH*S – Okay, with a title like that, you’d expect a really hardcore track, right? Well, that’s not exactly what’s going on here. Actually, the title barely makes sense with the song! I expected a… like… “Oh yeah! All you haters, eat it! I’m the bomb!” track, but the lyrics were much more sensual than you’d expect. I’m just confused! The song isn’t too bad, but I can’t see myself listening on repeat.
06. I Hate You – I absolutely the sound of this song, despite its prominent electro/club/dance nonsense. It incorporates an airy, fantasy-like sound with the odd dubstep-influenced breakdown. I mean, it’s a pretty odd-sounding break but it was stuck in my head after a few listens and I couldn’t pinpoint where it came from. Alas, it’s this song! Thankfully, JASMINE’s shouty lines don’t bother me much here. I like it, even if it’s not the JASMINE I’m used to hearing.
07. Weekend High – I’m a little bothered by how American this track sounds. It has the same beat, the same melody, and the same buildup as majority of Western songs released today. I mean, even the instrumental break was so Western! It’s not a terrible song, but the fact that it doesn’t sound very original ruffles my feathers.
08. ONLY YOU – Remember this song from 2011? There’s no doubting that I still love it. It’s a perfect mid-tempo R&B ballad. It suits JASMINE’s style and vocals to a T. Come on, there’s no way you can listen to this song and not like it at least remotely. It has a great smooth sound–it’s beautiful!
09. Realize – The ninth track is probably the lightest song on the album. It has quite a ballad flavor while not being very quiet. A sweet sound is something a little foreign to JASMINE, but she pulls it off flawlessly. Her long notes give me goosebumps. Let’s not forget these insanely beautiful lyrics. I have to say, this is set to be one of my favorite JASMINE songs.
10. ONE – I have to admit, I kind of loathed this song when it first released. I don’t know, it was just not enjoyable for me. However, after a few full listens, I’ve warmed up to it a bit. The Hip-Hop/R&B isn’t executed perfectly, but it is quite catchy. It isn’t one of my favorites but it isn’t a bad song.
11. HERO – Similarly to Weekend High, the song is very Westernized: the quiet verses, loud chorus, and repetitive instrumental break. JASMINE’s louder vocals kill me a little bit in this. The song is just a tiny bit bland–mostly because us Americans hear music like this constantly. It isn’t bad, but I wouldn’t call it amazing. Truthfully, I’d probably adore this song if there weren’t any vocals at all.
12. I’ll be there – And we end the song with a R&B ballad, of course, I saw that coming. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is her best. The overall sound sounds a bit too similar to some of her other R&B songs. However, the chorus is definitely catchy and quite pretty. This song was a bit underdone. I feel like more could have been done to make it stand out on its own.
I liked half of the album! Although you may think that should give it a lower score, hear me out. Quite frankly, this album showed a step in a different direction for JASMINE. It has a much more electronic infused sound compared to her earlier releases. I can’t say that every single song is perfect and flawless, but I can say that she did a pretty good job making majority of it her own. There were a few songs that didn’t sound completely original and a few that just weren’t interesting enough, but JASMINE did very well overall. Regarding her singing, I was a bit distraught over the shouty vocals in some songs. It became a bit annoying and difficult to listen to. That aside, any songs that I didn’t favorite weren’t terrible, so I can’t lower JASMINE’s score any more. Pretty good album, I’d say!