Review : Selah Sue - Selah Sue
PopmattersJudging by Selah Sue’s self-titled debut album, the Belgian singer-songwriter is a creative and sensitive musician who likes to explore different contemporary styles. The record has already sold more than 400,000 copies in Europe and hit No. 1 in her home country. The record is now being released in the United States. While Sue has talent, it seems unlikely that this release will make her a major star in America. Her persona is too vaguely defined. She lacks a distinct style and dabbles in several genres. That’s not necessarily a bad thing if one can override this through the force of one’s personality or other means. But is seems more likely that Sue will get only minor chart traction with this release.
In this postmodern global smorgasbord, a musician can dabble in many forms looking for the right way to express oneself. One creates an identity through a musical bricolage. Indeed, this is how most listeners partake, putting the iPod on shuffle and going from say, M.I.A. one track to Melody Gardot the next. The problem on Selah Sue isn’t that, at times, one goes from hearing echoes of M.I.A. on one cut to the resonances of Gardot the next, it is that the music lacks a identifiable personality.
The production compounds this problem. Several of the songs are densely layered with beats and rhythms that turn her voice into just another element. Sue does not stand out as much as coexist. On catchy songs, such as the bouncy riddims of “Crazy Sufferin’ Style” and “Ragamuffin”, Sue’s contributions seem minimal. The songs drip frills like sweat off of a stripper. Sue could be any body –anybody – vocalizing. Songs like these suggest that while Sue may be a dynamite live performer whose presence can center the focus of attention, her voice alone is not sufficient enough. Something is missing....full text
AllmusicFresh from a support slot on Prince's European tour and an appearance on Cee Lo Green's The Lady Killer, Belgian singer/songwriter Selah Sue cemented her reputable soul credentials with her self-titled debut album. Influenced by the likes of M.I.A., Lauryn Hill, and Erykah Badu, its 13 tracks, produced by the likes of Patrice, Farhot, and Me'Shell Ndegéocello, include the singles "This World," "Crazy Vibes," and "Raggamuffin," alongside the aforementioned duet with the Gnarls Barkley frontman, "Please."...full text
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