Thursday, November 18, 2010

Amerie - the good and the bad

Amerie's Because I Love It is one of the great overlooked R&B albums of the 21st Century. Despite the magnificent, Sam & Dave-sampling Gotta Work and the Cee-Lo collaboration Take Control, it sank quicker than a brick in a paddling pool and Amerie was dropped by her record label. Take Control has even been pulled off YouTube for some reason.

Since then, the singer has popped up every couple of months with the "new single" from her "forthcoming album". None of them sound alike, and the connecting threads are the increasing air of desperation and an eventual, crestfallen retreat back to the drawing board.

I'm not sure why this should be - Amerie is a great songwriter (all the tracks on Because I Love it were self-penned) with a great appreciation of harmonics, rhythm and the history of soul. It would be a terrible shame if her natural abilities had vanished in the face of an unjustified setback.

Her latest attempt - Outside Your Body - popped up online today. The hi-NRG synthpop sound is apparently popular in her mother's home territory, Korea. To me, it sounds like the intro music to Dance Dance Revolution.

Hmmm.... not her finest work, is it?

In the meantime, someone else has recognised Amerie's genius. A singer-songwriter called Mara Carlyle has recorded a mash-up of the star's sole smash hit, 1 Thing, and The Pixies' Hey. It is a revelation in three minutes.

Mara Carlyle - Piximarie

Thanks to the magnificent Pop Labyrinth blog for bringing that one to my attention. They've got a free download of Mara's track if you pop over to this destination.

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