Thanks to the slick production of hitmakers James Poyser, Sean Garrett and Richard Harrison there are some really nice goodies to be found on Che'Nelle's debut album, even if the young dance-pop singer does not do enough to differentiate herself from the likes of Rihanna, Ciara and Ashanti.
Hit and miss
To succeed in modern pop music there has been a coveted tendency to rely on attitude, a formula employed very successfully by Beyonce and Christina Aguilera.
Che'Nelle appears to have willingly joined the pack of impersonators given the songs that grace her debut album — Things Happen for a Reason is a case in point. There are several songs which have hit written all over them but not many really hit home.
The album's first single, and opening track, is a song called I Feel in Love with the DJ. Featuring rapper Cham, the song was well received in parts of Europe and even broke into the top 30 in France.
Che'Nelle was a karaoke freak as a kid and this helped her develop stylistically. At the same time doing covers of songs by Whitney Houston, Janet Jackson and TLC saw her adopt an attitude and style much similar to them. Except that it's sung by a young girl.
Tracks like Club Jumpin, Teach Me How to Dance, Hurry Up all have the potential to become summer hits but they all employ a near-identical beat, which can get to be quite repetitive if you're not dancing.
Che'Nelle takes the contemporary R & B perspective and courts it with the attitude of hip-hopper to serve up some first-rate beats and catchy hooks here and there.
But most of what is on offer on Things Happen for a Reason is faceless and at times lacks personality.
It's a pity, because Che'Nelle is likeable enough. But I guess she needs to get some more experience, and variety, under her belt before she can really take on the biggies.
Did You Know ...
- Che'Nelle was born as Cheryline Lime in Kota Kinabalu to a Chinese Malaysian father and Indian-Dutch mother?
- Her father, a civil engineer and architect, loved classic pop balladeers of the sixties, while her mother was a collector of rhythmic dance music?
- Her mother sang her to sleep every night with her favourite R&B and reggae songs?
- Che'nelle studied music at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts in Perth. It is regarded as one of Australia's best theatre and drama schools?
- Her song Teach Me How To Dance featured in the 2006 movie Take The Lead, starring Antonio Banderas and America's Next Top Model runner-up Yaya DaCosta.
- Che'Nelle has either writen or co-written every song on her debut album?
The writer is a music buff and a record collector