Review : Jordin Sparks - Battlefield
EwSnow'' — the first track on Jordin Sparks' sophomore set — sounds like a close cousin of the riff that kicks off Kelly Clarkson's ''Since U Been Gone'' should come as no surprise. One couldn't blame Sparks, American Idol's sixth-season champ, for attempting to mirror the career trajectory of the original-flavor Idol: a decently received debut followed up by a pop masterpiece with multiplatinum sales.
Battlefield certainly delivers on the artistic end: It's packed with more hooks than a fisherman's tackle box, none better than on the gorgeous title track, which sports a soaring chorus. When Sparks hits that ''Better go and get your armor'' bridge, you can practically feel the wind whipping through your hair....full text
NytimesJordin Sparks entered the first phase of her pop career as an ingénue, winning “American Idol” with bright talent, bubbly charm and a willingness to learn. Her self-titled debut sold more than a million copies on the strength of four hit singles, each a gust of teenage wonderment or torment. “Battlefield,” her expertly constructed second album, upholds a darker, more experienced tone without losing an ounce of melodrama. Ms. Sparks, now a worldly 19, has her principles, including a stake in overblown emotion.
“Why does love always feel like a battlefield?” she wails, with remorse and rebuke, on the album’s title track, a Top 40 single. She sounds vexed but in control, and undaunted by the copyright interests of Pat Benatar, who preferred her battlefield metaphors in declarative form....full text
AllmusicJordin Sparks didn't get any traction until she received a boost from Chris Brown via their duet "No Air," the one moment on her 2007 eponymous debut that felt unquestionably modern, so it makes perfect sense that her second album,Battlefield, ditches almost all lingering American Idol pageantry for stylized pop and R&B pitched halfway between Rihanna (whose "S.O.S." is shamelessly rewritten here, with Shannon's "Let the Music Play" substituted for "Tainted Love") and Leona Lewis. That doesn't necessarily mean that Sparks is now better-suited for this sound -- she's still mannered and too eager to please -- merely that she's had success, enough of it to hire some of 2009's biggest hitmakers in the business, including T-Pain and OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder. Most of these namebrands are recordmakers, not songwriters, so it's not a great surprise to find Battlefield bears a brittle production almost as combative as its title, all treble and bass and rhythmic hooks, where Jordin's voice is only another brick in the digital wall. This doesn't apply quite as strongly to the clutch of Sparks'collaborations grouped toward the end of the album -- all ballads, some with vaguely spiritual overtones such as "Faith," whose chorus inadvertently flirts with John Hiatt's "Have a Little Faith in Me" -- but for the first two-thirds of Battlefield, it's all a cool calculated assault where Jordin seems almost incidental to the creation of the sound. Because the sound is of paramount importance, this does succeed as pure radio-ready product, which is enough for Sparks to sustain her momentum if not enough to give her some kind of identity to build a career upon....full text
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