In the era of social media, it’s not hard to feel as though you are misunderstood and misrepresented. R&B singer Queen Naija feels no different. About six months ago, she released her debut album, ‘missunderstood’, exploring her relationship with media perception.
On April 16, she released the deluxe edition of this album, ‘missunderstood…still’. This deluxe has Naija continue to re-represent herself, giving her fans a clear image of who she is despite what others might say in the media. Naija struck R&B excellence again with ‘missunderstood…still’, with very few blunders throughout.
‘missunderstood…still’ includes all of the original songs on the album, plus six new songs. Naija had been teasing a deluxe version of ‘missunderstood’ since January, dropping snippets of brand new and fan-requested songs throughout the year.
One of the biggest requested songs was a then untitled snippet of a song featuring fellow up-and-coming R&B singer Ari Lennox. Queen Naija would eventually drop the song as the single “Set Him Up”. Both the song and the video were very enjoyable, and, after seeing the tracklist, my anticipation for the deluxe heightened tenfold. The tracklist included one of my favorite snippets, “Supa Vibe”, which dropped right before the world shut down last year. It also included “Butterflies Pt. 2 (Remix)” featuring Wale, which was one of my most played songs last year.
Songs to highlight on this reissue are “Love Is…,” “Supa Vibe” and “Insecure.” The J.I. assisted “Love Is…” samples Eve’s 1999 classic “Love Is Blind”. The song discusses domestic violence and self-esteem issues, building on one of Naija’s previous tracks, “Too Much Too Say”. This was the most marvelous track on the entire album. The subject matter, the production, the vocal layering and the harmonies melded together beautifully, making this track a standout.
The Hitmaka produced “Supa Vibe” is also a catchy bright spot on the album. This song that fans wanted to see the most on the original version of the album. When it wasn’t, many fans expressed their disappointment. Queen Naija heard their cries and placed it as ‘missunderstood…still’s’ album opener. The song is a catchy club single with nice drums, and its production allows the song to shine on the album. With the right video, “Supa Vibe” could take off this summer and become another big hit for Naija.
Saving the best for last, “Insecure” is a brash, throwback single reminiscent of 2000s R&B songs. The song speaks of Naija’s partner pushing their issues on her, making Naija develop self-esteem issues and want to leave the relationship. The song’s subject matter isn’t anything new for Naija, who spoke on these issues previously on her self-titled EP with “Karma” and on Soundcloud with “What You Won’t Do For Love”.
Overall, the deluxe edition of ‘missunderstood’ was a great continuation of the standard version, building on its excellence. My only problem with ‘missunderstood…still’ is Naija’s continued overuse of reverb and pitch correction. Queen Naija is one of few singers from the new generation of artists that has a very broad vocal ability. But on ‘missunderstood…still’, she seems to tone the vocals down and reverb them until they are barely noticeable. An example of this would be the “Empty (Interlude)”, which, when previewed, had much stronger vocals from Naija. Yet the album version reverbs the song to the point of no return, taking away from its essence. What’s the point of belting the song if we can’t hear or feel it?
Other than that, there are no problems with ‘missunderstood…still’. Though I hope we get to hear more raw vocals in upcoming releases, Queen Naija’s sophomore era is shaping up to be a great one.