Album Review – Alpha by Shenseea
Have no fear. Shenyeng is here. If the Jamaican fans were worried about Shenseea’s debut album, Alpha, they must be breathing a sigh of relief that the prolific and hardworking star delivered. The album’s title is a dead giveaway on the type of content Shenseea, born Chinsea Lee, laces the album with. Tracks such as Lick ft Megan Thee Stallion, Henkel Glue ft Beenie Man, Body Count, and Egocentric are signatures of the album, as they capture the artiste at her core. Confident. Sexual. Sensual. Alpha.
“Gyal yuh body hot an’ mi nuh know a weh yuh get eh from”
Alpha has very clear segments, and offers a lot for a lot of different fanbases. Shenseea continues to dive into the arenas of pop and rhythm and blues, heavily leaning on collaborations with hip hop artistes. Target is a capable, pleasant, if not memorable introduction. Bouncy, though, is where both Shenseea and the collaborator, in this case Offset, shine. Indeed, Track 6 – Bouncy ushers in a remarkable sequence of banging tracks which showcases a side of Shenseea that fans are generally more used to, but which also displays her growth as an artiste.
The previously released Lick aimed to grab attention and create a similar buzz to Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s WAP. Though it attracted much deserved criticism, the song is very catchy and has served its purpose in placing Shenseea into the American consciousness just a little more. Unfortunately, Track 3 – Deserve It and Track 4 – R U That represent the only lull period on the album, basic songs that take a little of the shine off a very good announcement to the world, and their placing on the album may not be ideal for a listening public short on patience.
Around the mid-point of Alpha, the album clicks into overdrive, and niceness ensues as Shenseea moves into the segment that will resonate the most with Jamaicans when she moves into her dancehall pop bag with Henkel Glue, an upbeat, sonically pleasing collaboration with dancehall legend, Beenie Man, that is bound to be played in every Kingston hot spot as early as this evening. From one dancehall legend to another, in the figure of the most commercially successful and consistent dancehall artiste to date, Sean Paul. If Sean Paul has been part of some underwhelming dancehall collabs of late, he redeems himself on the soulful Lying if I Call it Love in which his contribution reminds of his work with Sasha. Near flawless, enjoyable Caribbean music.
Hangover is the brightest shining light on Alpha, no mean feat when following the wonderful one-two Beenie Man and Sean Paul punch. Emotions may overflow when listening to Shenseea’s mesmeric melody melded into guitar, drum sounds, and incidentals as you remember a lost or fading love.
“So why don’t we stay in the moment? and stay in this moment till its over?”
The momentum never drops with Body Count, Egocentric, and the presumed follow-up to Shen Yeng Anthem – Shen Ex Anthem.
Shenseea is formidable.
“Hold your head high. I know you’re gonna rise Up, when the sun comes up”
The sun goes down on Alpha with Sun Comes Up. It is extremely satisfying to hear storytelling works from Jamaica that are well composed, professional, and ordered. Shenseea’s first turn at a full length project ends with her mega-hit Blessed, alongside Tyga, the rapper blessed with the honour of helping to begin and close Alpha. Sun Comes Up and Blessed close Alpha, and carry a tone reminiscent of King and They Don’t Know from Masicka’s own debut – 438. Coincidentally, this is the album, that if judged on quality alone, will dogfight with Alpha for the Reggae Grammy,
Author of the Limit does not Exist. Egalitarian. Central Banker. All I do is tell jokes, really.