The youngest American Idol winner and platinum selling artist Jordin Sparks returns with her sophomore album Battlefield. Sparks made a splash on the scene not when she AI, but more so with her hit “No Air,” a duet with Chris Brown. While the song granted her a Grammy Nomination, her self-titled debut album only peaked at No. 10 on the Billboard 200 album chart. Now, she’s back with a hot new single and an even more impressive second album. I have spent days listening to the album and here’s my track by track review:
Walking On Snow: The first guitar line of this track sounds a lot like the beginning of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” and leaves you to believe that the opening track of this album will be a hit. Unfortunately, the extremely poppish song is only mediocre. But it has a nice beat that will certainly have you moving and Jordin naturally sounds good on it even though the track isn’t truly representative of her talent. I can easily see someone like Hilary Duff on this…the only difference is that Jordin’s vocals are much better. (3/5)
Battlefield: The Ryan Tedder produced track serves as Jordin’s lead single. Surprisingly, this only peaked at No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100. The lyrics and Jordin’s vocals match perfectly to deliver an extremely catchy pop song with a slight rock edge. Easily one of the best tracks on the album. (4/5)
Don’t Let It Go To Your Head: The album’s third track is a cover of the original song by Fefe Dobson. Fefe’s version is much edgier and has a rock sound while this version focuses more on Jordin’s vocals and has a more simple production. But there is no doubt that Jordin delivers. The only thing is that Fefe’s version coincides more with the lyrics. As Jordin sings to her lover telling him not to let how she feels about him go to his head, you still get the feeling that she can’t do without him. Overall, Jordin’s vocals are on point and it’s a nice track. (3.5/5)
S.O.S. (Let The Music Play): This is dance-pop at its best and you can’t listen to this without moving. The track will serve as the album’s second single and is inspired by the 1983 hit “Let the Music Play” by Shannon. Simply put, “S.O.S.” is a track to listen to if you’re in the mood to dance. (3.5/5)
It Takes More: In this Andrea Martin produced track, Jordin sings to her lover that he’s “the only one not worth waiting for” because he basically comes in and out of her life whenever he pleases. It’s good to see Jordin doing more tracks like this that empower females rather than the Hannah Montana sounding tracks that were on her debut (“Shy Boy,” “Now You Tell Me,” “Young And In Love”). She’s moved to tracks that are a bit more mature and they work for her! (3.5/5)
Watch You Go: One of the best songs on the album! If you’re going to sing about loving someone, this is how it should be done! The production is on point and vocally, Jordin more than delivers (especially on the bridge where she sings her heart out). I’ve never seen a pop song sang with such emotion and at this point, you’ll probably wonder why Jordin is still doing pop when her vocals can clearly carry R&B. (4.5/5)
No Parade: A beautiful song and easily one of the best on the album. Immediately when the piano begins, you know it’s one of those songs to listen to when your heart is broken and Jordin’s vocals don’t make it any better. She sings with raw emotion and makes you feel the song, whether you want to or not. If you’re going through a breakup and are listening to this, have a box of tissues close; especially the last time she sings the chorus. (5/5)
Let It Rain: A nice song about letting go of all the tears and fears you once held and “[letting] it rain.” The track is co-written and produced by Toby Gad (“If I Were A Boy”). The build up to the chorus pays off once it starts. This is an enjoyable track you can bob your head to, but the production of it kind of takes away from the meaning. (3.5/5)
Emergency (911): I would never have imagined Jordin doing a pop/rock/dance song like this but she pulls it off well. She sings to her lover that she’s dying of “dance deprivation, emotional starvation” and that she needs him there with her. Jordin also co-wrote the song along with Toby Gad and Lindy Robbins. (3.5/5)
Was I The Only One: Another ballad where Jordin asks if she was the only one who fell in love because she doesn’t understand why they are saying goodbye. Vocally, she sounds very nice and keeps it simple by not hitting her usual high notes. Jordin also receives credit for co-writing the song. (3.8/5)
Faith: Jordin pens this next track with Gad and Robbins. It’s a gospel-inspired ballad that showcases her vocals while telling those in desperate times to have a little faith. Another track makes you wonder why she isn’t doing R&B. (4.5/5)
The Cure: The last track on the standard edition and also my favorite track. Jordin sings to a guy that’s been left by his woman, telling him that she will be his cure if he comes with his heart. I can leave this song on repeat and never get tired of it. The production and instruments are amazing and when matched with Jordin’s vocals, the song is flawless. The song makes you feel like whatever you’re going through will end and you’ll be on top of the world. This track should definitely be the third single! I can see this doing amazing on the charts! I’m even more surprised that she is co-writer of the song. (5/5)
Papercut: This is the first bonus track on the deluxe edition. Penned by the team that wrote “Faith,” Jordin compares her hurt to a paper cut singing that even though it’s deep and burns, she’s okay and will survive. Nothing special and I would have rather seen a track like “The Cure” or “Worth The Wait” (a bonus from her debut) as an extra track. (3.5/5)
Postcard: Another track that could have been traded. Naturally, her vocals are amazing but the song isn’t anything special. With the title of the track, you can easily tell what the song is about. (4/5)
There is no doubt in my mind that with the right promotion and management, Jordin Sparks will stay in the game for a while and will eventually make her way to the top. Her sophomore effort is an example that the “sophomore jinx” doesn’t happen to everyone. Battlefield is easily superior to her platinum debut. Her songs have gotten more mature and she’s written four of the best songs on the album. Vocally, she effortlessly beats out some of the top artists currently out. She is reminiscent of a young Mariah Carey and with time, she will only get better. I would really like her to try an R&B album. She has the vocals to do it and it might suit her. Simply put, Jordin has established herself as a real artist with Battlefield and hopefully this album will see the success that it deserves.
Overall, I give the album a very solid B. Battlefield will be in stores this Tuesday July 21st.
By: Kenni Nwajagu
Contributing Editor for Gossip On This
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