Selah Sue - Selah Sue
- Artist: Selah Sue
- Album: Selah Sue
- Label: Because Music/Columbia
- Year of Release: 2012
- ME Rating:
- Reviewed by: carlita on 2012-08-24
Pleasantly discovered Selah Sue, getting ready to attend the UCLA Jazz Reggae Festival back in May and encountered a new Belgian musician blurring the soul and reggae ragga lines like very few have done in two decades. Humble and really low-key with striking blue eyes, she shyly spoke to me of her self-titled debut which dropped on August 21st in the U.S. and her plans to play The Roots picnic the following week.
Conquering Europe last year, with her album going platinum back home, she seems poised to easily blow up stateside with the MTV pop crowd and media quickly catching wind. Her VH-1 "You Oughta Know" LA showcase with Ed Sheeran coming up in October was sold out weeks ago. Influenced by the lyrical ladies who held it down in the late 90's, she travels like they did, on their own empowering yet at times, insecurity-laden quests, evolving into the women they would become, shaped by family roots and relationships with friends and sig others who contributed plenty of inspiration for this record.
A stripped acoustic and full production band mix of Dap Kings, Miseducation Lauryn Hill (to which she got her stage name, a nod to the song named for her daughter, Selah), Duffy, Nelly Furtado and raw and real Amy Winehouse (as if to say I was born with my heart on my sleeve, take it or leave it) style, the album plays with no weak links superbly from start to finish. The randomly splashed canvas displays a young, sensitive woman, barely holding it together, much like the tendrils falling out of her messy bun on her head on the cover. As Adele channeled her emotional tragedy into award hardware, Selah discusses a crushing depression in her teen years and voices emotions that linger with you, long after you've shut off this record.
Even on the beat-driven tracks like fuego-filled "Crazy Sufferin Style", there's overarching sadness and the listener can picture her looking in the mirror, tears streaming down ,especially on "Break" and "Mommy". Feasibly wondering if the mental dark clouds will remain for eternity but thankfully she's not alone, receiving support from the "one who knows just what to say". Showing maturity beyond her years, her old soul blues song, "Please" , with Cee-lo Green is understatedly searing and beckons a picture of two musicians, comparing notes and scars, in an old, dirty club in the early morning after everyone's left. Drifting into hip-hop on "Peace of Mind, "Just Because I Do" and Raggamuffin featuring J. Cole on the remix, the versatility will bring the BET 106 and Park viewing audience in next. Few albums come out every few years that shake you and say "Ayo, wake the f up, a game changer has arrived"; "this world" now lays at Selah's feet, delivering "Fyah Fyah" from the first word to the last.
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