Anyone that knows me can tell you right off the bat that I can’t stand today’s pop music. It’s mostly formulated drivel that features a decent singer whose every song has been written by someone else, and most do not play their own instruments let alone know how. That’s just me being biased.
My first go with the album “Can You Feel The Music” by Shae, aka Shaeny Johnson, I was a bit hesitant from the first track, Shooting Star. The song encompasses the formulaic stereotype that has become today’s pop music. Worse, Shae’s voice more pop contemporary, sophisticated even, if you will, and this song seemed desperately trying to cling at the curtails of acts like Katy Perry and the like. At one point, outside of the self describe comparison of Shae, or the generalization of Shae’s listeners being shooting stars, the music breaks for a second and Shae tosses in the mantra “Girl Power’. It just seemed like whoever wrote the track was trying to hard to cast their act on the same boat as the more popular already established female pop acts.
As the album goes on I notice that it skips around from genre to genre making this very much a potpourri type portfolio for the artist. You’ve got straight pop, dance, dubstep-like tracks, and even a world music sounding tune at the backend of the album. It makes sense in a debut album sort of way, and having covered a lot of pop acts or debut artists I’ve seen this platform before. It’s a job interview to the world putting on display the versatility of the star.
After my initial listen I went back in with one thought on my mind that I had collected and set aside on my first go round. Shae has a fantastic voice that deserved to be showcased in a straight pitch rather then paraded around in genres that make her talents seem foolish.
To describe Shae’s voice to someone who hasn’t heard her I would say it is sophisticated in a blues/jazz like style that has contemporary flares and a nice range that would most definitely do well in any of the above mentioned categories. A prime example of what I’m talking about can be found in the final track, Have Faith, which steps away from the radio ready nonsense the first half of the album attempts and showcases Shae’s voice as an instrument rather then allowing it to be washed out by spectacle.
Is the album terrible? I think if you’re looking for something solid you’re probably going to find yourself a bit disappointed. Again, this album is a potpourri of styles that do not always showcase the voice, but there are some gems on the album worth hearing. My only hope is that whatever happens next, whoever is producing Shae’s music realizes the songbird they have in their possession and gives her a chances to spread her wings rather then use the kitchen sink treatment. Here’s hoping.