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Album Review: Jordin Sparks - Battlefield

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Sunday, August 9, 2009

Album Review: Jordin Sparks - Battlefield

Jordin Sparks - Battlefield
Congratulations Jordin Sparks. You made a second album that doesn't suck. I guess I should congratulate you on making it to album #2 without being dropped by your label, as is what sadly happens to so many American Idol alums. When I purchased Sparks' self-titled first album I was buying it because of her strong vocals, personality and lead single "Tattoo." Jordin's Idol single, "This Is My Now," while not bloody-awful, is standard reality show-winning single-fare. First single "Tattoo" was good...not amazing. Follow up single "No Air" was AMAZING, and third single "One Step At A Time" was decent. Rumored 4th single "Permanent Monday" faded back into oblivion for me, as did the rest of the album. Thank God for the series of remixes that followed for "Tattoo," "No Air," and "One Step At A Time," otherwise Sparks would have completely been lost on me.

Jordin Sparks
By the time the Ryan Tedder-produced "Battlefield" was released I was ready for some new Jordin Sparks. I instantly fell in love with the single. While the song was in fact a mid-tempo ballad, it's not anything soft and sweet...Sparks' vocals are quite powerful. After listening to the first single a half dozen times, I was ready for the new album. Battlefield is for Jordin Sparks, what Breakaway was for Kelly Clarkson. A really solid second album. While there's certainly some filler tracks on this new album, a majority of the songs are single-worthy in my opinion.

The album starts out strong with "Walking On Snow," a fun little jam written by Lucas Secon (Britney Spears, Sean Kingston, The Pussycat Dolls, Sarah Connor). Another standout on the album is Sparks' cover of the Fefe Dobson track "Don't Let It Go To Your Head." While I love Fefe's version, Jordin's take is slightly softer. It has just enough edge without it being too rocky. Second single, "S.O.S. (Let The Music Play)" is a good choice for a second single, despite it featuring a sample of the slightly over-used Shannon dance hit "Let The Music Play."

Jordin Sparks
Other choice tracks: "It Takes More," the rocky-ballad "Let It Rain," the beautiful "Faith" and to close the album, "The Cure." The only slightly forgettable tracks are "Watch You Go," (which actually gets better about halfway through the song), "No Parade," "Emergency (911)" and "Was I The Only One." It's not that these songs aren't well sung or well produced, they just didn't really do anything for me. A couple of them might grow, but this is how it stands right now.

Jordin Sparks
I hope this album does well for Jordin. So far it's not really outselling her debut, although it did land in the #7 spot on the Billboard Charts...higher than her first album (Jordin Sparks debuted at #10). I think part of the reason her last album went on to be as successful as it was, was her Chris Brown duet - "No Air." Without a strong single like that on this album, I'm just trying to stay positive. Perhaps she'll release a re-packaged album with that Leona Lewis duet that everyone's been buzzing about. However Jordin Sparks winds up doing on the charts, she should be proud. This album is a worthy follow up.
Check out Jordin Sparks on the web: Official Site/MySpace/Facebook/Twitter/YouTube

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