It's About Time Import
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You know her from the infectious single "AM To PM" which hit the top position on Billboards Hot 100 Singles chart in 2001, yet that was just a taste of what this multi-faceted young woman is capable of.Christina Milian is a multi-talented phenomenon whose resume includes film, television, theater and music. With starring roles in feature films and her highly-anticipated debut album "Its About Time" ready for release, Milian is poised to take the entertainment industry by storm. One listen to "Its About Time" and it is clear that Christina is in a decidedly more mature space. "Im older now. When "AM To PM" came out I was a teenager. Now Im 22 and so songs on this album have a little more depth to them." The depth is evident by the albums R&B vibe and lyrics that have a bit more edge. You can feel the sexy point of view on cuts like the up-tempo "Love." Produced by Warryn Campbell and featuring label mate Joe Budden, "Love" vibrates with a retro 80s dance club feel.
Just when you thought the current surplus of pop princesses would cause the leather-miniskirted bottom to drop out, along vamps Christina Milian with a crackling new CD whose 12 songs outshine "AM to PM," her 2001 hit. In the Cuban-American Milian, J-Lo has found her heir apparent (not that she was looking): The songs spotlight a similar sex-i-fied energy, jumbling attitude, vulnerability, and a jigger of jadedness into a heaving, R&B-leaning, red-hot heap. The secret is whip-smart production--credit players who have worked with Alicia Keys, J-Lo, and Mariah Carey--especially on "I Need More," which showcases an array of pings, pulses, and from-the-gut guitar. When we're not singing along to lyrics like "It'll be a cold day in hell before you see your girl shed another tear, boy you better hear me," bottom lip pushed out for emphasis, we're shouting "go, girl" from the sidelines. Or at least wanting to. If the radio hit "Dip It Low" hasn't pushed you to pick up this disc already, it is, in fact, about time. --Tammy La Gorce
This album is good. It's not complete fire but some of the songs are, and as a whole I think if you give it a chance it will definitely surprise you. I could have done without "Peanut Butter & Jelly" because the choice of title is cheesy but the bad tracks are quite few and far between in my opinion. If you like this girl, you'd be doing yourself a favor on purchasing this. If you're weary, get it used (a brand new copy, second hand is like a buck plus shipping and handling).
"Someday One Day"
"Whatever You Want" &
The album begins with the very brief “Intro” with Christina reintroducing herself and talking about how “it’s about time” for her. It’s a nice opener, but at only a minute long it’s really too short to accomplish much. First single “Dip It Low” quickly became Christina’s most successful song to date. With just one track, she firmly stepped away from her younger audience and established herself as a mature artist. Although the lyrics are quite weak if you listen to them properly, the song as a whole is addictive and suits Christina well. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for “I Need More” which features very busy production that overshadows Christina’s voice. While Christina may not be a powerhouse like other R&B artists, her voice is certainly strong enough for the type of material she typically sings. Overall, it is a mediocre and ultimately forgettable track.
“Whatever U Want” on the other hand is one of the album’s stronger upbeat songs, featuring a guest appearance from Joe Budden. The music here is reminiscent of the 80s, and makes the song as a whole very catchy. This is definitely a step in the right direction. “Someday One Day” is a true highlight, and the first of many songs on the album that Christina herself had a hand in writing. This is also the first track where Christina’s voice is not overshadowed by the production, showing off how beautiful her vocals can be when given the chance to shine. The lyrics also showcase Christina’s abilities as a songwriter, as she pens a track describing finding true love one day. It’s a simple yet stunning song. “Highway” is a sensual track that is often compared to R. Kelly’s “Ignition” due to the car metaphors. Once again, Christina shines when the production takes a backseat (no pun intended) and allows her to take the lead. Songs that use such thinly veiled metaphors are always risky, but this one works surprisingly well which is probably due to Christina’s convincing delivery. This is another track that firmly establishes her as a mature artist, and is another album highlight.
“I’m Sorry” marks that third outstanding track in a row and just may be the strongest song the whole album has to offer. In this one, Christina sings about rejecting a married man who expressed his love for her. Although breakup and rejection songs are both common, this one manages to present a relatively unique spin on the theme. In it, Christina apologizes for unintentionally leading the man on and decides to keep her distance. It is a stunning track that once again showcases Christina’s talents as a writer and a singer. “Get Loose” returns to the Middle-Eastern vibe of “Dip It Low” with this Darkchild production. This is another of the stronger upbeat tracks on the album, specifically because Christina is not hidden behind the music. Although this track marks a rather sudden transition back from ballads to upbeat, it works surprisingly well after the preceding tracks. This is definitely an underrated song, and it’s surprising that it never became a single. “L.O.V.E.” is the second track to feature Joe Budden, and the weaker of the two. While it is by no means a bad song, it is bland compared to the other tracks the album has to offer. It is an enjoyable filler track, but not particularly memorable either.
“Peanut Butter & Jelly” on the other hand is a chaotic track that is memorable for all the wrong reasons. Although Christina sounds excellent on the pre-chorus, the rest of the song easily overpowers her. Through most of the track, it sounds like Christina is screaming to be heard over the production. Had the production been toned down even slightly, the track probably would have worked. “Miss You Like Crazy” fortunately brings us back to a more stripped-down approach, a welcome change from the chaos of the previous track. This one is on-par with “I’m Sorry.” The lyrics are simple yet beautiful, and Christina’s delivery suits the mood perfectly. Christina really is at her best when she is given room to shine. This is another track that often gets overlooked among all the more upbeat songs, however it is a shame since it is an unexpectedly strong one. The album ends off with the somewhat haunting “Oh Daddy” which describes Christina’s troubled relationship with her father who, as the lyrics describe, left and started a new family. Although many artists have touched on difficult relationships with their families, few have managed to do it in a way that is so earnest. These kinds of personal tracks can occasionally veer into the overdramatic, however this one succeeds in getting the story across and evoking the necessary emotions without overdoing it. What makes it so haunting is its sincerity and Christina’s beautiful delivery.
Overall Mark: 4/5
With an album like this, it is very confusing why Christina never managed to achieve more mainstream success. The track order on this album seems a bit odd at first glance, however it still manages to flow quite well. The slower tracks are actually the strongest that the album has to offer, and Christina actually does best on tracks that had the fewest writers and producers. In fact, nearly all of the strongest tracks were songs written by just Christina and one other artist, usually whoever was producing it. Fans of Christina’s singles may be surprised to find that the ballads and midtempos are often stronger than the upbeat music that she is known for. However, that is not to say that her upbeat songs are weak – there is rarely a misstep on this album at all. Unfortunately, we are still waiting to see if Christina can recapture the success of this album in terms of quality, if not in sales. At least we have this album to enjoy in the meantime.
Although the one-of-a-kind smash hit lead single "Dip It Low" -a sexually magnetic, instructional club jam- is unquestionably the album's best track, that doesn't mean there aren't any other highlights. On the speedy R&B/Pop-Rock gem "I Need More", Christina's powerful vocals spitefully sing about her dissatisfaction in a relationship over some wicked guitar riffs. The Joe Budden-assisted second single "Whatever U Want" also provides some positive energy to the album with its bouncy beat, feel-good vibe, flirtatious lyrics and Christina's joyous vocals. The album's best (and only decent) ballads go to "I'm Sorry" -an emotional, apologetic ode to a friend who was unintentionally fooled into thinking Christina loved him over a very light beat- & the self-explanatory "Oh Daddy".
Unfortunately, there are multiple slip-ups and flaws in Christina's sophomore effort. Firstly, there are the lacklustre tunes, like "Get Loose" -a generic dance tune which virtually contradicts its title with boring lyrics, even more boring vocals from Christina & some sub-par production- and virtually every other ballad that isn't titled "Oh Daddy" or "I'm Sorry", since every last one of them lack any form of true emotion (especially the lusty dreaminess of the good, but not great "Highway"). The semi-anthemic club tune "Peanut Butter & Jelly" could've easily worked if the producers provided a way better beat to compliment her wondrously creative lyrics and metaphors.
Secondly, the album's too jumpy and inconsistent. You're pleasing your man in all the right ways one minute ("Dip It Low") before giving him the boot the next ("I Need More"), just so you can go flirt with someone else ("Whatever U Want", feat. Joe Budden)", unconvincingly tell them you love them ("Someday One Day"), dip back into a lusty mood ("Highway"), then tell him you didn't mean to give him the wrong picture ("I'm Sorry")...and so on, so forth. Such confusion makes it hard to understand who Christina Milian truly is.
Finally, there are a few un-included tracks that could've easily trumped some of the other tracks (as another reviewer previously mentioned). The ultra-explicit, Juvenile-assisted "Peepshow" makes "Dip It Low" look as raunchy as a little kid's everyday morning cartoon show with its heavy Hip-Hop beat and upfront lyrics. The piano-driven ballad "Believer" & the motivational funk of "Ain't No Reason" are also stacked with layers upon layers of emotion, and would've fitted perfectly into this album (or even the club-readiness of her best album to date, "So Amazin').
Altogether, Christina Milian has made a good, but not GREAT sophomore effort! Even though it's her most versatile, it's also her least believable for the reasons mentioned earlier in the review. If you want to see how truly talented she really is, cop her 3rd album "So Amazin'" of check the aforementioned tracks she didn't include on this album. "Believer" & "Ain't No Reason" are mainly found on the "Be Cool Soundtrack".