Album review: Mýa - K.I.S.S.

After finally getting the message that not enough people in America care about her to buy her albums and make a ho some money to live, Mýa decided to explore the independent route, which led to Japan only releases. During this trek down the yellow flopped road, Mýa tripped, scraped up the whole of her knee and lost a clump of hair which got caught in a nearby bush on her way down to the floor with Sugar & spice. Yet another Mýa release that nobody cared enough to import and Tokyo branches of HMV used at sake drink coasters. But not one to give up, Mýa recorded a follow-up K.I.S.S. There were pretty much no expectations for this album, which makes it all the more surprising that it's actually a good album, possibly one of her best.

K.I.S.S. is an acronym for Keep it sexy and simple, which is exactly what Mýa does for this album. Rather than trying to hop on a bandwagon or cultivate a new style, Mýa rolls with what she knows has worked for her in the past and hones it. The wonderful thing about K.I.S.S. is that Mýa sounds like she is having fun and this new lease on life and her outlook on how she goes about her music is projected from the word go, with album opener and album title track "K.I.S.S". It's big, it's fun, it's uplifting, it's pretty much Keri Hilson's "Pretty girl rock". But it's such a damn good song that you just admire how great a song it is. And if truth be told, Mýa's shit is better. Bye Keri.

Mýa keeps the energy up with a set of fun loving uptempo's back to back, and bitch means business. Because the first 4 songs on the album could easily be Mýa's first four singles.

"Rear view mirror" is a cute cross between pop, dance hall and rock. A great single for the summer if there ever was one. The way Mýa puts it down on the song is really nice and very Brandy-esque. Sean Paul has been living under a dutty rock for the past couple of years, but his guest appearance on this song fits and feels right. Mýa loves that 80's disco. Home girl pretty much takes us there on every album. So "Fabulous life" should come as no surprise.  This song is titties deep in 80's. The second this drops you will see roller skates, tube socks, red leather jackets, bubbles perms and lace gloves. The 80's have been making a huge comeback with music over the past few years, so some may find this song a bit tired. But Mýa sounds so great on these types of songs and Jeff Miyhara comes so right with the production that it's hard to dislike this song. Great for the summer. With Mýa's label situation there was no chance in hell of this getting a worlwide release. But she should have pushed for this to get a Japan release at least, because Japan would jump on this if Mýa came correct with the video. "Mess up my hair" lives in the house that Stargate built with Rihanna's "Rude boy" and re-enforced with "What's my name?" Similar beats, song structures and three minutes of singing about how a chick needs to get her hair pulled and get broken off with the quickness. The similarities are glaring, but "Mess up my hair" is hot regardless.

After 4 tracks of hair whipping and crunknicity, Mýa slows things down with a bunch of love songs. A mix of those Why is this shit happening to me? love songs and those You be my everything please don't leave me love songs. Mýa sings about inescapable loves in "Fugitive of love", "Problem + solution" and "Running back". "Running back" is the weakest of the bunch, sounding a complete mess and featuring Iyaz, who keeps being billed as an international artist despite never being heard of and his biggest hit being a guest feature on a Charice song. "Problem + solution" is the strongest of the inescapable love collection. The song may seem a bit stale and dreary at first, but give it a chance. Because as soon as the chorus rolls in the whole song comes alive. Brilliant song. Mýa sounds great, and in an odd and rather cool turn, channels Brandy really strongly.

Mýa gets slow, sexy and lovey-dovey as she has in the past. But does so with a pop gloss which would sound great on radio if radio stations hadn't taken on restraining orders on all of her songs aside from "Lady Marmelade" and "Take me there". First up is "Love me some you". Now, I'm not sure if Mýa owed a dude a favour, or if her lack of large label money resources forced her to scrape the bottom of barbells to get an R&B artist she could afford to pay in Snickers bars and packs of Skittles - but Marques Houston features on this song. I thought the dude was dead. He pretty much was the second that Tia and Tamera straightened that hair and Sister Sister turned to crap. Go home Roger. "Mr. Incredible" seductively rolls along with its phased drums, guitars and soft piano's: very Los Da Maestro and Tricky Stewart. Mýa sounds nice on the song, but it doesn't really go anywhere and gets boring quickly. "Before U say goodbye" K.I.S.S.'s love song with a beat folk can step to. Featuring the production talents of Daisuke Imai the song sounds very much like a Beni jam, but the song is fire, so who the f**k cares!? Imai comes correct with the production and Mýa rides the beat nicely and laces the whole thing perfectly. I actually wish Daisuke had done more cuts with Mýa, because his production compliments her nicely. Beni had better watch her back. Otherwise we could have a battle of the bottom feeders on our hands.

The tail end of the album mixes things up a bit with a ballad, an epic sounding self empowerment and an 80's club jam. "Evolve" is a big loud kiss of song to the haters. Steeped in violins, bells, choral samples and thunderous drums. The song sure does make a lot of noise and works the epic angle nicely, but Mýa gets lost in all because vocally she is not able to hold her own. She screeches over the music in an attempt to get heard, and she hits some bad notes. I'm talking super bad. Think of the music as Christina and P!nk on "Lady Marmalade" and you get the picture. Home girl be struggling. "Alive" is a nice surprise as you would not expect it to come after a song like "Evolve". The song is very Japanesey, and as with "Before U say goodbye" the whole thing sounds like a Beni joint. But I will not hate, because the song is hot. A great closer to the album and single worthy to boot.

K.I.S.S. is Mýa's most consistent album to date, and possibly one of her better albums. Everything about it feels polished, tight and accessible. The album hits a pretty forgettable section as it begins to wind down to a close, due to Mýa's insistence on ballads and down-tempo's. Commanding people back to the floor from track 11 until the end would have made this a much stronger album. But none-the-less, the tracks flow nicely and cohesively.

Mýa's career being pretty much in the toilet right now, but she sings every song like she's in a really good place - which makes it all the more shameful that this album has already bombed, and that it will not get a release outside of Japan despite featuring a slew of hit and single worthy songs which could do well across America and Europe.

Do not let the commercial failure of  K.I.S.S. deter you from giving it a listen, because it is a really nice album, which puts that Sugar & spice mess to shame and gives the latest releases from Rihanna and Britney a run for their money. Although some may argue that's not saying much.

Album highlights:
■ K.I.S.S.
■ Rear view mirror
■ Fabulous life
■ Mess up my hair
■ Fugitive of love
■ Problem + solution
■ Before U say goodbye J's fave
■ Alive


  1. Daisuke Imai's my dude... that said, I gotta go listen to this album now! I haven't heard many good albums this month, and I do need some summer bangers.

  2. I miss mya! She put out some hot songs when she was at her prime. I used to be in love with her song fallen from Moodring. It's Unfortunate that she's been regulated to albums that see japan releases only, and shitty BET made for t.v movies.

  3. wow...only Japan release that is sad but at least she is trying to follow her dream

    But this really shows how America is making their music industry more narrow with just a handful of artist like honestly how many timed do I need to hear Fireworks in an hour, once maybe not ten

  4. Stop listening to the radio and stop watching MTV... I used to be a radio personality, but I would never listen if I could help it.

    That said, this album is hot and cold as a witch's tit. Is it hard to ask for an album with DECENT ballads? I got bored of the album before I could even get to the D.I-produced track (which was good). Had to hit skip on a bitch.

    Anyway, I hope the D.I track is a good indicator of what BENI's English album might sound like (dunno if they're still planning that). Even though I don't think she can sing well in English.

  5. Mya's album cover makes her look like Prince's lost half sister x_x

    But my fav. songs from her is K.I.S.S, Paradise Life, Mess up My Hair, Rear View Mirror and Fugitive Love

  6. Great album, very her. All I can really say. And Frederick... BENI is American. Her last name is Daniels. Of course she can sing well in English. Have you hear "The Boy Is Mine"?

  7. @syfi I think he means the way she sounds when she sings in English, not about her accent. I heard the boy is mine and her English singing voice is rough.

  8. @Melvin Well, The Boy Is Mine is a really deep song, but also, BENI's voice is husky. I personally like that, but the way she sings in Japanese is pretty nasally, like most every other singer, and the Japanese just like that better. I hope she shows off her low range when/if her English album comes out.

  9. @syfi I hope she stays away from her lower range because she sounds like shit in it.


HTML tags for bold, italic and hyperlinks are allowed