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//Neon Reviews: Shontelle – Shontelligence//

 

23-year-old Barbados-born Shontelle has the unforunate disadvantage of being constantly compared to another Bajan beauty: Rihanna. It doesn’t help her cause being on related record labels, being discovered by the same producer (Evan Rogers), and being managed by the same company. One skim through her bio would lead you to think that she’s just a gimmick; a pretty face plucked off the little island to pick up where Rihanna left off when she decided to go bad, and that her debut album, Shontelligence, will sound like an album replete with Rihanna leftovers, or worst, Rihanna copies. One word: wrong. Shontelle’s 11-track debut album is filled with songs that are confident, fearless, and rally for women’s empowerment.

The comparisons to that other Bajan diva will be plenty, but, sometimes, they work in Shontelle’s favor. Those whom are fans of the two will quickly notice that Shontelle’s voice is developed; clear, strong, full of range, and no nasal quality to acquire a taste for. Plus, [shock! dismay!] Shontelle co-wrote eight of the eleven tracks on the album. But that’s not to say the album is perfect.

The album starts with Shontelle’s first single, “T-Shirt.” The airy pop/r&b seemed to be the perfect introduction to Shontelle’s mix of pop, r&b, and island influences. They certainly come together perfectly through the next four songs: second single “Battle Cry,” the powerful “Superwoman” and the moody stunner “Cold, Cold Summer.” But after that, (and this is where the comparisons come back to haunt her) unlike Rihanna’s first two albums, the album has a harder time blending Shontelle’s caribbean influences with the more mainstream genres in a way that does not make the listener feel a bit misled by the first two singles. “Roll It,” “Focus Pon Me,” and “Life is Not an Easy Road“ are all strong tracks, but diverges too far into the reggae side. Shontelle also loses some vocal quality when singing in Bajan dialect (not to mention the lyrics being much harder to understand). This would all be fine if it were expected, but the first two singles roped fans in with a pop/r&b lasso.

All is forgiven when the ‘hypocrites be damned’ anthem “Plastic People” kicks in. Album closer “Flesh and Bone” proves that Shontelle can fuse all three genres with successful results. The song has that island feel without alienating the fans who love “T-Shirt.”

Even though Shontelle will probably face comparisons until her next album, she can take solace in the fact that Shontelligence is a solid debut worthy of a singer who will not only breakthrough the comparisons, but come out on top, eventually making you forget she was ever compared to ol’ what’s-her-name.

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Comments

  1. hmm…If I was her with all the comparises..or however you spell that..lol I would be like “why even try..its not room for two!!”..good luck to her tho!

  2. i picked up this album and beyonces yesterday, and both are really really good. if u want to check em before u buy em for yourself, then make sure u check out their myspaces, i know they are playing the albums on there. i def. wasnt disappointed by either

  3. Some of Bee’s tracks are cool, but Shontelle’s entire album is tight! Take a listen http://universalmotown.com/firstplay/shontelle/

  4. handlegrowth says:

    i think Shontelle is better than Rihanna. Anybody know where i can find her music videos?

  5. Shontelle’s album is great! I’m glad I got the album instead of beyonce’s album. lol

  6. Can u get it on itunes?

  7. Here’s the itunes link…u gotta get it!
    http://links.umrg.com/itunes.aspx?i=295997857&id=295997851&s=143441

  8. loyaltyisme says:

    Absolutely love the Shontelle album from beginning to end!! Really excited to see her on the Ecko float at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I hope she performs one of the songs off her album.

  9. shontelle is great we need to hear more from her probalt a duet with ri-ri or akon that will put her on the map for sure

  10. i love shontelle she is far better than rihanna but i agree with gina two good singles in the new year and she is off

  11. ShontelleOnline.com – Your Number One Spot for everything Shontelle Layne!

    http://www.shontelleonline.com

Trackbacks

  1. [...] aus Barbados, wurde vom selben Produzenten, Evan Rogers, entdeckt und wird vom selben Management betreut. Damit nicht genug, Rihanna und Shontelle kennen sich bereits seit ihrer Jugend und sind [...]

  2. [...] much for female empowerment. After winning fans with her “confident, fearless” debut album Shontelligence, the R&B babe is apparently starting over with a less subdued [...]

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