Album Review: ‘Ella Mai’ hitting it big in the US

Keaton Knuth, Staff Reporter

“Ella Mai”, an album by Ella Mai, was released in July of 2018 in the US. After her R&B album was ignored in the UK, Ella Mai decided to seek an American producer for assistance. Her album became a hit.

Mai kind of sounds like Beyonce, but within a different genre of music. “Ella Mai” includes 16 tracks and features Chris Brown, John Legend, and H.E.R.

The album is centered around the idea of emotions and the vulnerability attached to them. The main two that are used are love and confidence, with many others used sporadically.  

“Emotions”, the first track, was unlike anything I’ve ever heard. There was no music and no lyrics. It was just her speaking. It was the beginning of a story that would continue throughout the album.

One unique feature of this album, is at the end of a few tracks, she ends with a message that relates back to “Emotions”. I’ve never heard about an do that so I was taken by surprise. It added to the experience of the album.  

When I began listening to “Ella Mai”, I was really into it. I was shaking my head and dancing along to the beat. After the first five songs or so, I wasn’t as impressed. Though I was impressed with the message each track gave, the tone and overall beat of each song began to sound the same.

Looking at the 16 tracks individually, Mai had great pitch variation and had an amazing sound. Her songs never really have a dull moment. The songs that sounded even more amazing were the ones with another featured artist.

Her album is upbeat and can easily put someone in a good mood. She can rap, sing, and talk in a way that keeps the listeners on the edge of their seats. Although she has variation, the one thing that never changes is the clarity of her words and phrases, which is important in singing. If you can’t understand what the artist is singing, the message and meaning can be unclear.

A few of her songs were more impactful for me than others. I would have to say that it is because they all had different aspects and some had greater meanings. A few songs that had that had an impact on me were “Good Bad, Cheap Shot” and “Own it”. These songs were most  based on the lyrics. There was something I could relate to in each of them.

I would give Ella Mai’s album a 7/10. Her tracks showed power and had a strong message, but her beats and rhythms seemed to be too similar to one another. Although this is one of the few times I’ve listened to R&B, I do think that Mai has an amazing voice and a great deal of talent that she can share with the world.