Who ever would have guessed that Alaska would produce a woman with beauty, charisma, innocence, sincerity and a talent to sing R&B? Unbelievable as it is, Amerie is native to Alaska. Not that she’s exactly a newbie on the hip hop scene anymore, since she has been having some grand appearances with the likes of Nas, Royce Da 5’9″ and LL Cool J, along with hosting a show on BET now. Her potential is clearly seen, but is it clearly delivered on her debut album “All I Have”?
She starts the CD with her first release “Why Don’t We Fall In Love”, and it has a very nice feel to it with nice complex harmonies and excellent background instruments. The premise of the song is pretty simple, falling in love with a person she’s been hiding her feelings for, although not lyrically complex in the least it does ring true to life. Next is “Talkin’ To Me” which also happens to be her second solo release. Once again, the lyrics are nothing to concentrate on as much as the general feeling the song helps create with its heart-spoken songstress. A very mellow production really generates a sense of love-filled presence.
“Nothing Like Loving You” is right on par with the first two tracks, the chorus is nothing short of lovely to listen to but that’s almost all you hear for the entire song. A set of quads in the background, and some chimes here and there are still going for that aroma of emotional reminiscence. “Can’t Let Go” starts right off with a harp and piano rift that shifts straight over to the slightly up-tempo laced beat. Unfortunately this song does not really work due to the lyric/notes/flow of her words, it doesn’t compliment her all that well and comes off slightly forced. While her voice is still good, it definitely isn’t at its peak.
“Need You Tonight” is the attempt at the party starter joint, however it simply gets tiring by the time the fourth measure hits. The beat gets old quickly and she’s still singing in the same key that she’s been in since the start of the CD, towards the end she goes for some Mary J. Blige style stabs. The next song on the track list is “Got To Be There”, and it manages to hit some beautiful harmonies, but she’s still in the same dang key and singing the same pitches. At this point the beats are also managing to blend together, not a good sign. There needs to be an amount of refreshing ingenuity when the next song starts up, but not so much that it won’t fit well into the track listing, and so far this has not been accomplished.
The next selection is “I Just Died”, and finally there is a fresh beat and this is a fresh breath of air and demonstrates a better dexterity for her vocals. She assumes for the most part a whispered voice and the chorus is nice, using an analogy of falling in love with that of dying as if to say she loves her man to death, and does not desire to be brought back to life. There are once again some real nice melodic mixtures with her vocals which makes you pay attention and wish you could sing. “Hatin On You” is just a track filler, nothing to make special note of and something to just add onto the CD. It is actually the lyrics and style that makes it such a boring song that you may drift off while listening, I did, ain’t I supposed to be reviewing this?
The intro to “Float” definitely builds up a good bit of hope with a mixture of talking and her voice drops a little before the beat hits, and it is a nice beat. She gets another chance to flip up her style and it works pretty well, but now the only problem is that the harmonies are beginning to feel overdone yet it still remains beautifully sung making this a nice addition. “Show Me” has a traditional beat similar to “Nothing Like Loving You”, a very ordinary R&B rhythm. Apparently in the studio it never gets tiring to use a harmony for the chorus and sing over it, because it’s been done on every track thus far. This song fits into the selection a little too plainly.
My last hope rests on “All I Have” for something great to happen on this CD, which is for the most part a success with the intro laced with a few guitar rifts gently laid down, very nice. The chorus is a pure delight (yes, it is very harmonious) but it brings a somewhat unique feel with a more urgent beat yet she lays back on it to bring in her own vibe. It’s very R&B, but not cliché. The “Outro” is a quick reflective track with a hard piano and a few touches in the back from an organ, a nice beat and the lyrics point to a basic shout out to God, thanking him for her blessings.
Overall, the disc becomes boring at spots due to the overuse of the vocal techniques used. It would have been much
better if they had kept “Why Don’t We Fall In Love”, “Talkin’ To Me”, “I Just Died”, “Float”, “All I Have” and the “Outro” and just brought in a more thought-out seven tracks to leave a much more lasting impression on the audience. With the exception of those songs, the rest are sub par and may not even need a full listen before anxiousness sets in. However, potential is clearly seen here and for a debut album this is not horrible but it does reveal weaknesses that will undoubtedly be worked on before a future release. Due to the points of total repetition, I give this 2.5 out of 5 stars.
01. Why Don’t We Fall In Love
02. Talkin’ To Me
03. Nothing Like Loving You
04. Can’t Let Go
05. Need You Tonight
06. Got To Be There
07. I Just Died
08. Hatin’ On You
10. Show Me
11. All I Have
2.5 out of 5