Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Not So Solid After All

For about three years now, I have been contributing review on ciao and various other websites for fun. I have decided to compile all of them together on my blog. I will post them on the site periodically under the category of Reviews for your reading pleasure. I hope you enjoy it.






This review is about Solid Harmonie's debut album released in 1998. Here we go:

Greetings everyone,

Guess what I am back with another classic pop CD review. I am again doing some annual cleaning before Chinese New Year and this CD is what I dug out. It must have been one of the few CDs I consider worth keeping, that's probably why I still have it.

By the way, if I were to mention Solid Harmonie, most of you might have not even heard of them unless you were really into pop during the starting days of Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys sometime back in 1998.

Well, I am here to give you a little lesson in Pop history. Solid Harmonie is made of four girls named Beki, Elisa, Mariama & Melissa. They were under the wings of Lou Pearlman, the person who brought you the Backstreet Boys and N*Sync. Solid Harmonie were considered to be the less popular version of the Spice Girls although they did receive quite a good response and frequent airplay in Asia. I am not too sure what cause the break up of the band and I soon saw one of the members, Mariama joining the trio of the R&B group Honeyz.

I just did a quick search about them on Google and discovered that apparently remaining members Beki & Elisa with another new girl are back touring as supporting acts still using the name Solid Harmonie. So, the band is back although I have yet to listen to any new materials.

The CD

Released Date: 30 March 1998
Record Label: Jive
CD: 1
Total Running Time: 53:13
Total Number Of Tracks: 13

Track Listing & Individual Review and Rating

I am actually listening to the CD on my computer right now as I am writing this review.

1. I'll Be There For You
If I am not wrong, this is the first single on this album. It did make a massive impact for the girls and indeed became the Solid Harmonie theme. It is a very typical pop dance track as it has a slow start before a melodic chorus. One can easily grasp the lyrics for this song as it is practically the same words repeating over and over again. It also had a video with the girls dancing to it which I can vaguely remember. This track earns a deserving 8 out of 10 for being a good track in introducing the girls.


2. I Want You To Want Me
This should be the second single I guess. Once again, it has simple lyrics to it and everyone can easily sing to it. No vocals ability were tested or demonstrated with this track. This song did have a video with featuring the girls in front of the mirror applying make up and getting ready for a performance. It rates a fair 8 out of 10 for keeping the unique Solid Harmonie trademark in their tracks without being too similar to I'll Be There For You.

3. To Love Once Again
Don't be fooled by the sentimental or slow start of this song. It slow merges to a cool background beat. The chorus still holds the unique pop sound of the girls and indeed holds an easy listening quality to it. It rates 7 out of 10.

4. Come And Get It
This is pop song with a slight influence of hip hop with a brief rap start. There is slightly a higher base on this track than any other songs on this album. It also has a sudden slow bridge before climaxing into the chorus. It rates 5 out of 10.

5. Walk Away
I would say this is the slowest track on this album. Finally, a proper sentimental track on this album. This track is about letting go of someone you love and remembering the good days you had. Ah… I am getting all emotional now, stop the track and let's move on to the next one. It rates 7 out of 10 because I think most listeners can somehow relate to it.

6. You Got The Flava
An MC Hammer style track except replacing the loud rapping with melodic girls voices. Another track that everyone can dance too and somehow it reminds me of one of the Backstreet Boys song but don't blame for that because they do tend to share the same producers. It rates 4 out of 5 for lack of creativity from the producers.

7. He's Playing Hard To Get
This song starts of with the classic conversation before someone starts singing. It once again reminds me of the Backstreet Boys. The song is very flat and probably one of the most dead tracks on the album. Maybe this is because all the previous track has a little bit more pop dance influence in it. It rates a disappointing 2 out of 10.

8. Forever I Do
Another sentimental love track from the band that did not fail to impress. I believe it is a cover version of someone's song but I might be wrong. It arrived at the right time as I was about to stop the CD. It rates a 6 out of 10.

9. I Wanna Love You
This is one of the girls single. I can remember the video to this song very well as it features each of the girls in a different forest scene. This was unfortunately the last video I ever saw of the girls. It has a very different sound than the rest on the album. It rates a 7 out 10 for being the farewell track for the band.

10. Fantasy
A very weak track which was meant to be another slow song on the album. It did not stand out although having a nice flow to the song, I felt it was very predictable. Some may like it but not me. It rates a 2 out of 10.


11. I Gotta Get My Groove On
A song that reminds me of the starting days of Aaliyah. They were more of reading out the lyrics than singing. Another weak track from the girls. It rates 3 out of 10 for being a weak track.

12. When We Kiss (Missing You)
This track has male back vocals from who I believe is the writer and producer. It involves the girls reading the lyrics to the beat and the male vocal as the chorus. It rates 4 out of 10 for being different but not the best track.

13. Live A Little
This is the bonus track for this album which they shouldn't have even bothered putting in the album. It lacks quality. The lyrics were very plain and not strong. I wasn't sure what the message of this song was. It rates 1 out of 10.

CD Covers and Inlay

The CD cover for mine was actually a postcard featuring the girls posing with two sofas with a red brick wall background. The front cover of the CD inlay features all the girls once again dressed in hip hop style with a more bluish theme. The booklet was a one that would fold out into a slightly larger than A4 paper size fully color printed. It has individual pictures of each of the girls with their personal messages and also lyrics and producer information for each of the 12 songs. The pictures I would say where not the best quality. It could have been better and the fonts used for the lyrics were far too small for reading and the color scheme for the page would definitely cause problems for people with vision problems. This matter has been overlooked. Girls, if you are reading this, please don't repeat this mistake in your next album!!!

Websites

There are a few websites set up by fans which are still online. Just do a quick search to find out more.

Where To Buy?

Unfortunately, if you want this CD, most stores are not stocking them anymore. I guess the best places to get the CD are from Amazon's Marketplace or online auctions such as ebid or ebay.

Other Recommended Listening

If you like music of Solid Harmonie, other CDs that you might consider will be from artists such as S Club 7, Spice Girls, Girl Thing, Girls Aloud, Cleopatra and All Saints.

Conclusion

I might to be too harsh on the review comparing it with current productions. It might have been of good quality when it was release back in 1998 and more suited for people's listening pleasure back then. This CD is typically made for fans of pop music especially from the days when Boy Bands and Girl Groups rein the charts. If you are not a pop fan, give this CD a miss.

I look forward in receiving your constructive feedback, please feel free to leave them here or message me. I wanna hear your stories from during your pop infested days or if you know Solid Harmonie, just leave me a message. If you are the girls themselves, I do look forward to hearing again from your band.

That's all folks!!!

Have A Nice Day!!!!

Benny Ong XXX

1 comment:

Dustin said...

I would say you Gotcha a great viewpoint.