CD REVIEW: Natalise - "I Came To Play"
By Gian F - 06/20/2005 - 10:24 PM EDT
Album: "I Came To Play"
Sounds Like: Britney Spears
Technical Grade: 9
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10
Commercial Value: 10
Overall Talent Level: 8
Songwriting Skills: 9
Performance Skill: 9
Best Songs: Get Me Off, Make It Clap Now, Watch This, Something Special, Make It Clap Now (Remix)
CD Review: Natalise, a singer/songwriter (and Stanford graduate) from San Francisco, California, turned in her follow-up LP which contains songs that are a vast departure from the teen-pop hit "Love Goes On," that launched her career and placed her on the music industry radar. She makes her triumphant return endowed with the strongest collection of commercially viable tracks that I've ever received from a female dance artist, and experience under her belt. She appears confident, poised, and prepared to step onto the dance music playing field and take on the likes of Britney Spears, Christina Milian, Mya, Amerie, and Ciara.
The opening track "It's My..." jumps off of the CD and commands your attention. By the time you've recovered from having your pre-conceived notions completely shattered of what she may/or may not sound like because she's Asian, the stage is set and she is on it - front and center, performing the potential club hit and future radio single, the Cirque du Soleil inspired, "Make It Clap Now," which also has a vicious re-mix that even J-Kwon may not recognize if he hears it in the club while getting tipsy.
Choosing the most commercial song on this project is really a matter of how Natalise wants to be presented (or in this case, re-introduced) to the market place. With many of the the young r&b princesses migrating to to rock, it may behoove her to stand firm in the r&b genre, but the rock edge makes artists more appealing to the coveted "MTV" generation/audience. In that case, "Get Me Off," is just what the doctor (and the radio program directors) ordered with it's thumping base lines, melodic verses, and screaming guitar chorus.
Natalise's autobigraphically written title track, "I Came To Play," is sure to draw comparisons to Justin Timberlake's "Cry Me A River," but it works for her just the same. Contemporary r&b dance songs must find acceptance in the clubs: the strip clubs. Natalise has got those covered too in "Watch This," and "My Imagination." What should be released at some point is the youthful, but poignant pop ballad, "Something Special," which captures Natalise performing in her chest voice and delivering a memorable vocal performance that sticks with you long after the song is over.
I must make mention of the super music duo of Chris Carter and James Earley, who not only brought years of production experience to this project that enabled Natalise's individuality, personality, uniqueness, and talent to shine, but succeeded in getting her ready to compete on a much larger playing field.
Advice: You've got a cash cow. Milk it!
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