Album review: Amerie - Because I love it

Album review: Amerie - Because I love it | Random J Pop

Amerie's third studio album Because I love it is a complete throwback to the 70s and 80s and it works great for the most part. Amerie's vocals suit both styles and not once does it feel contrived and gimmicky. The 70's numbers all rely on what made "1 thing" a huge success: Heavy percussion, sharp guitar licks, horns and harmonised wails. Not the best way to prove your biggest hit wasn't a fluke. But you can hardly blame her. If it ain't broken, why fix it...right?

Amerie hits with the familiarity of "1 thing" on several of the albums cuts. "Hate 2 love u" hits with it's funky drums, horn sections and organs. The song is just okay. My liking for this song is hit by the fact that Le'Che Martin used the same beat for a different song "Get away" which yielded much better results. Plus, I can't believe The Clutch wrote the song. You'd think they'd have come better. A nice song, with hot production and one for the car on a sunny day. But the song isn't anything special. "Gotta work" teeters right into "1 thing" territory head first. Frenetic Go-go percussion and loud horns that chicks can knock knees, shake their booty and thrash a weave to. Amerie unashamedly tried to capture the magic of 'that song', but you can't hate on her. It's her angle, her style and "Gotta work" is a hot song.

The 80s tracks are the highlights, because not only do they showcase Amerie best - but they show more of the side to Amerie we didn't hear on heavily 60s, 70s funk and Go-Go inspired Touch. Her soft vocals and girl next door tone is a perfect match for the bubblegum sound of the 80's. The track "Crush" is the best example of this and is Amerie on top form. It is the epitome of what made 80's records so great and sounds as though it was dug out of an old 80's vinyl archive. "Crazy wonderful" sounds like something off of a Prince record. You could imagine a cheesy arse music video to this. Amerie on a bed with her red bakelite phone, whilst some n***a with a Jheri curl kicks it on the other end of the line in his shell suit and Reebok high tops. The song is such a hot throw back tot he 80's that what could easily have come off as cheesy ends up as hotness. I wish I could say that Amerie in full on 80's mode can do no wrong, but it does backfire on a couple of occasions. "Some like it" is awful. It sounds incomplete, badly mixed, has no direction, no appeal and is just a ragged mess of a song. "All roads lead to you" does Amerie no favours. She doesn't have the range to pull of a song like this. Her voice grates and she hits several notes off key throughout the song. It's enough to make you wish you were tone deaf.

In a day and age where we buy CD's and make our own playlists. You could say a track list order on a CD isn't important. I still believe it's crucial. And this is one thing which harms Because I love it. The first half is chock a block of uptempo's and the last half is full of slow songs. I can understand why the tracks would be ordered in this fashion, but it causes the album to feel very divided; almost like two completely different albums. As a result, the album not only feels split down the middle, but causes it to sound as though it's losing steam as it nears the end.

Because I love it is the kind of record that you have to listen to several times before you can appreciate how good an album it is. The songs don't jump out and grab you the way they did on Touch, and the songs aren't as catchy. But they will win you over eventually, and before you know it you'll be humming along and hitting the repeat button on several tracks.

Many were quick to write Amerie off as a 1 hit wonder with "1 thing", but this album proves that Amerie is no one trick pony and knows full well what works for her.

RATING: 6 / 10

Album highlights:
■ Hate 2 love U
■ Gotta work
■ Crush ★ J's fave
■ Crazy wonderful
■ Paint me over
■ Somebody up there


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