THE album is all about being ‘true to herself,’ but It’s hard to hear Tori Kelly achieving this over the countless similarities that can be heard through her debut album, ‘Unbreakable Smile.’
Where I belong-Intro initially shows promise to the debut album. The simplistic and sweet acoustic track exposes Kelly’s dreamy vocals. She wears her heart upon her sleeve with the lyrics, ‘I’m just a girl with my guitar/ Trying to give you my whole heart,’ but then picks up the pace with the album-titled track, ‘Unbreakable Smile.’
The jazz feel in ‘Unbreakable Smile’ comes as a shock from the Californian pop princess. Her honest lyrics speak almost too literally, providing no mystery or hidden meaning behind them.
Nobody Love exposes the first likeness to another artist, with a similar structure and sound to Natasha Bedingfield’s, ‘These Words’.
Packed with hints of ‘old school’, the song almost feels too outdated for 2017, yet her powerful vocals certainly give Christina Aguilera a run for her money.
Four tracks in, and the album begins to feel like a young teenager caught up in numerous love affairs has written it. Expensive demonstrates this.
The lyrics: ‘Cause you kiss me like I’m dreamin’/ Like I’m one in a million’ are too literal and feel almost too childish for a woman of 24 to be writing.
Kelly moderately pulls the album back with the single, ‘Should Have Been Us,’ but still lets herself down as she fills it with outdated R&B, with sound effects of scratching DJ decks.
However, it can’t be ignored that this is one of the stronger tracks from the album-with an explosive chorus and once again, undeniably strong vocals from Kelly.
Three down-tempo tracks are next on the album listing, with First Heartbreak mirroring the minimal production of Where I Belong. Without frills, Kelly manages to produce much more current music, but still seems to be writing too many love songs.
Ed Sheeran features on one of the tracks, I Was Made For Loving You, and the beautiful duet captures the spark of emotions, before City Dove’s lyrics once again speak to literally.
After what becomes a three-track lull, Talk still doesn’t manage to pick the pace back up, but Art Of Letting Go recovers the album, as it approaches it’s final stint to the end.
Although it almost saves the album, the likeness to Kelly Clarkson can’t be ignored, and the track still shares similar traits and structure to the majority of songs on the album.
Approaching the final three tracks of the album, Californian Lovers and Falling Slow both go unnoticed and still seem extremely outdated, adding no variety to the album.
The debut ends on Anyway, a track which falls flat with it’s once again childish lyrics. The only redeeming factor is Kelly’s stunning vocal range, which is mirrored through the whole album.
It feels as though Kelly is torn between becoming an innocent woman or an empowering ballad-belter, and once she has found her identity, she will be well on her way to achieving a successful second album.