Ella Mai’s self-titled debut album was released this past week and is a considerably strong start for the upcoming British R&B singer.
There has been plenty of anticipation surrounding Ella Mai’s debut, self-titled album with the summer hit “Boo’d Up.” Other than the Chris Brown feature and unnecessary interludes, the album shows off the singer’s abilities and writing skills to a level that has not been heard from an R&B singer in years. With songs like “Good Bad” and “Shot Clock,” Ella Mai sets herself apart from her contemporaries by making a statement that she is not a flash in the pan. She has her own story that needs to be heard.
The album starts off with the intro “Emotion” where she defines the admittedly heavy word. Ella Mai’s defining words continues throughout the album and is reminiscent of Ciara’s “The Evolution” and Janet Jackson’s “Damita Jo” in terms of unnecessary interludes. These interludes sprinkled throughout Ella Mai’s album just seem melodramatic and add nothing of substance.
“Good Bad” is a truly solid R&B track and the perfect introduction to the album. This really should have been the first track of the album, so that the listener could get a more authentic vision of Ella Mai as an artist.
“Ella Mai” is consistent and keeps up the R&B sound with the Brian-Michael Cox-produced “Dangerous.” This track is super fun with the production changing from a slower sound to more upbeat. “Sauce” keeps the sound of the album consistent with Ella Mai’s electric writing and vocals perfectly melding with the DJ Mustard beat.
“Ella Mai” would have been a much more solid album without the generic sounding “Whatchamacallit.” Aside from the goofy sounding title and uneventful production, the song features known abuser Chris Brown. This song adds nothing original to the album, and Chris Brown only subtracts from the already boring track.
One good thing is that the next track, “Cheap Shot,” is a much more interesting track. The song truly feels heartfelt and shows the emotional maturity of Ella Mai. It has an original sound that really sounds one of a kind with an indie guitar sound mixed with an R&B beat.
The peak of the album comes in the form of the next few tracks that feel like a punch one right after the other, starting with “Shot Clock.” When the song starts off it might sound kind of generic, but the song really sets itself apart once the beat gets going and the bridge kicks in.
After “Shot Clock” comes the hit of the summer, “Boo’d Up.” This track is a certified hit and bound to be a classic in the years to come. This funky, relatable track about love and heartache fits perfectly in the middle of this album.
“Everything” is a stunning John Legend feature that is slow, romantic and groovy. This song is emotional, well-written and maintains the groovy feeling of the album. John Legend and Ella Mai’s vocals sound great together, and this track is bound to find itself in plenty of slow, romantic playlists.
The next few tracks are slow and very lush sounding. “Own It” and “Run My Mouth” are similar in their slow, romantic sound. This continues into the incredibly beautiful H.E.R feature, “Gut Feeling.”
Other than the Chris Brown feature, the last few songs are probably the most skip-worthy. “Trip” is cute and catchy, but it is nothing that has not already been said or done on this album. “Easy” and the bonus track “Naked” is okay, but not as grand or good as other songs on the album. However, “Close” is a beautiful, sensual track that should be the album ender, especially with her announcing that she is “Ella Mai” at the end of the song.
Ella Mai’s self-titled debut might have some weak points, but that is to be expected with one’s first album. Overall, Ella Mai establishes herself as an artist with a voice on this exceptionally strong debut.