Saturday, December 31, 2011

Album Review: Mya "K.I.S.S."

It's been too long--over eight years--since a Mya album came out in the US. Since 2003's Moodring, there was 2007's unreleased/accidentally-released-in-Japan Liberation, 2008's Japan-only (on purpose this time) Sugar & Spice (I'm only sad about missing out on the former), & the 2009 Beauty & The Streets mixtape that we did get, but she could've kept... (& why that got a CD release instead of K.I.S.S. is lost on me) but only now has a brand new studio album, K.I.S.S., been given a digital release here. Japan may have been given K.I.S.S. back in April, but Mya has rewarded our patience with several new tracks on the US version, a perfect gift in the otherwise complete R&B drought known as December 2011.

1. "K.I.S.S.": Mya explains what her 2012 motto to "keep it sexy + simple" is all about in this Chuck Harmony production. It sure is nice to have that voice back in my life! 5/5

2. "Rear View Mirror" (ft. Sean Paul): Another surprisingly quality jam from the indie artist. 5/5

3. "Take Him Out" (ft. Spice): Probably my favorite US addition, this island-flavored banger keeps the album going strong. 5/5

4. "Fabulous Life": A truly fantastic song that deserves to be a huge worldwide hit (& would've been with a major label behind it). 5/5

5. "Earthquake" (ft. Trina): Another really good uptempo. I can totally see the video for it in my head! 4.5/5

6. "Mess Up My Hair": Mya keeps up the fun pace with this one. 4.5/5

7. "Break Your Neck": Not a standout, but a good addition nonetheless. 4/5

8. "Fugitive Of Love": Mya slows it down a bit with this infectious slow jam, reminding us of her versatility. 5/5

9. "Can I": A solo version of her Trina collaboration from earlier this year, this song really shines with Mya by herself on it. 4.5/5

10. "Love Me Some You" (ft. Marques Houston): A lovely track that they sound great together on. 5/5

11. "Mr. Incredible": Her voice truly shines on this one. The chorus is a little repetitive though. 4.5/5

12. "Problem & Solution": As far as I'm concerned, this ranks up there with some of Mya's signature slow jams that we've loved for years. 5/5

13. "Love Comes, Love Goes": A very pretty, honest-to-goodness ballad, which is refreshing in 2011. 4.5/5

14. "Evolve": A good song, sure, but I've never really quite connected with it. 4/5

15. "It's My Birthday": Sorry Mya, but I hate this "song" with a fiery passion. 0/5

16. "Somebody Come Get This B*tch" (ft. Stacie & Lacie): It's hard to believe this is the same artist from three songs ago, but this is definitely a guilty pleasure. 4.5/5

17. "Love Me Some You": This solo version of track 10 is a very cool addition & nice alternative to the duet version. 5/5

What's so great about K.I.S.S. is that it's fresh while still staying consistent with the Mya that we knew & loved 10-ish years ago. It's terrific all across the board, from uptempos to midtempos to ballads. I miss "Before U Say Goodbye" from the Japanese version (&, to a lesser extent, "Runnin' Back" & "Sorry"), but the album offered up here is good enough that the omissions aren't an issue. It surprises me that Mya was able to make an album as good as K.I.S.S. independently, which has me wondering how great her music--& presence in the industry again--would be if a major label would pick her back up.

Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

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