After British singer-songwriter Ella Mai released her single “Boo’d Up” she quickly rose to the top of the Billboard R&B chart. On October 12, she released her first album, self titled “Ella Mai” but will it measure up? The songs are a throwback to 90s R&B and create a sit back and relax type of vibe that does not t fail to put you in a calm mood.
Being British and being around a different pop culture, Mai is still able to compete with other “A-List” artists in the US. Not only is she competing with these other artists, but she is able to show off her own personality. The album is focused on love and relationships similar to Mai’s previous singles and her EPs, “CHANGE” and “Time.” DJ Mustard who produced “Boo’d Up” produced multiple songs on “Ella Mai” including other hit single, “Trip” which quickly came out after “Boo’d Up” had gotten some notable numbers.
With the success of these few songs, Mai was able to gain enough fame to feature other famous hip hop artists on the album. Chris Brown, a R&B/Hip-Hop influencer sings on “Whatchamacallit.” “Whatchamacallit” is a mid-tempo song making you want to groove along with the song that blends both Mai’s smooth music style and Brown’s higher energy songs.
Along with featuring Chris Brown, Mai also worked with John Legend on “Everything.” “Everything” is definitely a feel good song that puts you in a lively, happy mood. Legend and Mai’s vocals combined create a pleasing harmony that you want to listen to on repeat. “Everything,” although not similar to what Mai is known for, is debatably one of the top songs in the album.
“The song really shows how [Mai’s] unique and beautiful vocals match with [Legend’s] clear, soulful vocals making the song different from the rest” junior Lauren Melvin said.
Lastly, Mai’s third and final feature is with H.E.R, another R&B singer, on “Gut Feeling.” The song is very soulful and gets you simping. They make a great duo and were able to release a banger.
“I like how the song layered the singers’ voices to create a nice harmony in the song. The two voices complemented each other and connected with the instrumental music” freshman Rachel Yoon said.
While these three songs are all bops, Mai does not need big names to create notable songs. “Good Bad”, “Shot Clock”, and “Trip” have become popular. Mai first shows off her vocals in “Good Bad” the first full-length song of the album. The song reels you in with its catchy chorus and gives the listener high hopes for the entire album.
In “Shot Clock” Mai samples, Drake’s “Legend” from “If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late.” It was the first song recorded on the album where she uses the NBA’s 24-second shot clock reference as the basis of her song and creates a more upbeat song.
Mai was inspired to write a song about taking nothing for granted.
“Sometimes people are complacent and think that someone will be around and waiting forever, don’t take anyone for granted. use your time wisely” Ella Mai said.
“Trip” was released a few months before the album as a single and was a great follow-up to “Boo’d Up.” The song has a very similar vibe to “Boo’d Up” but with its own unique, vocally harmonized lines that represent Mai’s personally.
“I like how the piano hook stays with the instrumental the entire song and this piano loop sounds really good with her soulful-type voice. Also the chorus is so catchy and it’s still stuck in my head” senior Ryan Davis said.
Overall, the album is a collection of R&B bops, proving that Ella Mai is more than just a few hit singles and is more than just the hype.