Selah Sue – ‘Selah Sue’ | Album Review

A soulful musician and songwriter with a distinctive voice, built with obvious reggae influences in articulation and phrasing, Selah Sue offers her soulful, jazz-infused debut album. The self-titled LP went multi-platinum in her native country Belgium and peaked in the top ten of the Dutch and French albums chart, where she has been elevated as huge star, before embarking on worldwide release.

Starting off with the smooth jazz-reggae mashup track “This World,” which has groovy bass that truly gets you in the mood of wanting to hear more from the edgy singer, the album undoubtedly gets edgier with the Hip Hop infused track “Peace Of Mind,” full of snaps and kicks with a fierce and feisty mood.

Although not purely a reggae artist, Selah Sue’s album does bring back memories of how uplifting reggae music can be and the wonderful legacy it has left in the music scene that influences many sounds we hear today. Her reggae vibes are showcased best on “Raggamuffin,” blending soul with rap and ragga, adjusting her vocals to match the changing rhythms and moods of the song.

Selah Sue’s musical dexterity stands out, producing a project filled with elements of R&B, reggae, funk, ska, blues, jazz and soul vibes which reflect her musical influences; who include the likes of Lauryn Hill, Bob Marley, M.I.A. and Erykah Badu. Throughout this album there are tracks reminiscent of songs her music idols would do; such as “Explanations,” with an organic, hip hop soul nature which is just screaming for a feature from Lauryn Hill.

The production on this album is world class and heavily features production by Then Farhot (known for his work with Nneka) and reggae artist Patrice, who both deliver well thought out tracks that perfectly match Selah Sue’s creativity. Album standouts include the electric blues “Crazy Vibes,” which is produced by Farhot who has a tendency to create soulful digital sounds.

Black Part Love” is one of the weaker efforts on the album. Starts off with a pulsating synth beat which is swiftly followed by saxophone heavy jazz beat, the song lacks direction. However, to compensate for messing around with the listeners ears, two peaceful acoustic tracks follow and appease.

On “Mommy”, Selah Sue gives praise to her mum and on “Explanations” she expresses her insecurities, showcasing her innocent and vulnerable sides. Collaborating with soulful veteran Cee Lo Green on “Please,” Sue demonstrates her versatility, easily put her raggamuffin ways to the side and sing a pure classic. [Cee Lo loved the track so much he put it on his Ladykiller album.]

Onwards Selah Sue continues with soulful vibes on “Summertime,” which has a chilled but melancholy disposition; though sadness and Selah Sue is not match at all. Redeeming herself again, the spirit and tempo of the album uplifts again with the reggae fusions – “Crazy Sufferin Style” and “Fyah Fyah” – and ends with the dynamic and strange spoken word performance of “Just Because I Do.”

Emerging with a generation pulling down musical boundaries, Selah Sue succeeds in debuting an entertaining LP, loaded with soulful, engaging delivery of a unique perspective.

Selah Sue – Selah Sue [LP]
Released: August 21, 2012
Label: Columbia Records
Buy: iTunes / /