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CD REVIEW: Natalise- I Came To Play
By Jon Stewart - 01/25/2006 - 01:26 PM EST

Artist: Natalise
Album: I Came To Play
CD Review: The first time I went through this second CD by Natalise, my reaction was “There’s a great dance album in here somewhere.” As I listened more and more, I was able to identify the sources of my apprehension. Two of the songs, written by Natalise without collaboration, are the weakest on the album. “How Far” soars to nowhere and is a piano-heavy composition that completely misses its musical and songwriting targets. For example, Neil Young, in “A Man Needs A Maid” takes a much more unorthodox subject and lyrically does it so much better while exhibiting a musicianship rarely heard in pop or dance music today. “I’m Ready”, has the same limitations as the other Natalise song but is slightly more successful in communicating on an emotional level.

Many albums released today feature cellphone calls and voice mail messages. This should not be done without adult supervision. None of these four “Interludes” add anything to the album and take away from the dance theme that should be going on. I would delete the whole lot from the CD.

“It’s My…” is the first song on the CD and tries to set the pace for the album. It’s her “Intro” song and we hear a lot about that. (This is one of the few where she is not attributed.) However, I’ve always believed that an “Intro” should be something that’s not good enough to be a song and it does meet that standard. Nothing can be done to rescue this song from itself.

Now things begin to get really good. “Make it Clap Now” uses an unusual Middle Eastern music theme that works. At over 4 minutes, it may go a little long for some listeners but I enjoyed the lyrics and the beat. The next song up, “The Hotness” is a genuinely great dance song, even more so because of the lyric’s treatment of a past infatuation. Continuing on with the dance theme, “Get Me Off” really succeeds in forcing someone who wants to party onto a dance floor. It’s a rip on pretenders and “wanna be” players and makes all its points spectacularly.

“I Came to Play” sounds as good as any Top 40 tune you’ll hear. Well produced and with an infectious beat, it will get people up and grooving. Immediately following is “Watch This” but it should have been titled “Dance to This”. I wanted to get out of my chair and start moving when she uses that sexy chorus to back her vocals. “Imagination” and "Girls Like Me" have a musicality and groove that causes non-stop dance magic.

The rest of the songs on the CD stand out for their infectious rhythms and lyrical sophistication (at least for the 15 and up crowd). Grade: B-

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