I think I can speak for a lot of people when I say that I was skeptical of Ella Mai’s self-titled debut album. “Boo’d Up” was such a vibe, and it seemed impossible for her to release something else that was on that level. It could be really good or it could completely flop and dub her as a one hit wonder. I’m going to go ahead and call this album a hit!
I’m not going to say that every song was great and perfect, but she had a decent number of good songs. If anything, I will say that her songs that I thought were bad weren’t even bad songs. They just didn’t do it for me. They aren’t going to be something I skip if it’s on somewhere, but it wasn’t worth downloading on my phone. It was also very unique to see her have a name acronym developed into the album. (E for Emotion, L for Lust, L for Love, M for Mystery, A for Away, and I for Inner) Each one would fall at the end or beginning of a song, and she explained why she defined that letter as that. This project took listeners on a journey, and it made the album more interesting to listen to.
Mai did some surprising work with her features. Her voiced blended beautifully with John Legend in “Everything,” and a collab with H.E.R. was meant to put me in my feelings. Those two were very laid back and just easy to listen and hum to. My other favorites from this album were a mixture of subtle love songs and bad b*tch anthems. “Sauce” had me thinking that nobody could touch me, and it’s okay because I’m that girl, period. She did her thing on “Shot Clock” while sampling Drake’s “Legend,” it was a catchy song that emphasized that a dude better not sleep on her. Ladies, I know many of us can all relate to this, because cmon’ now, you know people are quick to miss their beat.
Mai tends to make really good music for when you want to be in your feelings, but you still want to be mad. It makes you want to sing-scream every lyric, and juggle back and forth with your emotions. “Boo’d Up” was that song to put her in heavy radio rotation, and I’m pretty sure the same thing is going to happen again with a couple of songs from this album. They are going to start being overplayed and forced down everyone’s throats, but hey, let’s try to enjoy them until this happens. Go check it out and let us know what you think.
By Kyla Hubbard, Junior, Whitney M Young Magnet High School