Ella Mai Sneakily Steals The R&B Crown With Her Fantastic Self-Titled Album

Written by camjameson
/ 4 mins read

For anyone who’s paying even the slightest bit of attention the music industry, the R&B scene has been long overdue for a complete makeover. Back in the nineties & early-noughties, $&B music reigned supreme across the board, with even the weakest performances still generating thrilling soundscapes full of pure emotion, excellent musical theory & some of the most compelling dance grooves around – Once Alternative R&B hit the scene, the whole genre as a whole seemed to devolve into this lowest-common-denominator realm wherein everyone’s out to sell records instead of truly believing in the music they’re producing. Thankfully, Ella Mai aims to stir the pot, tapping into the teachings of her predecessors to create quite possibly the best R&B record of this decade, the Mary J. Blige of the new generation.

An Old Soul Living In A Young Shell

At only 24 years of age, English singer-songwriter Ella Mai displays a knowledge & understanding of R&B unparalleled by her contemporaries – Sure, there’ve been plenty of Neo Soul & Dance Funk groups over the years who’ve shown incredible talent, but they’ve almost always chased some sort of music trend just to stay relevant. All of the tracks on Ella Mai exist with supreme confidence & a sense of self you just can’t find elsewhere, whether it’s the sexual charm of the smash hit “Boo’d Up” or the serene sensitivity of “Everything” with John Legend, using wisdom & purpose to drive the narrative of each song & the album as a whole forward in an emotionally impactful way, all the while flexing insanely skillful instrumentation underneath.

Getting Down To The Roots Of Funk & Soul Music

Speaking of skillful instrumentation, the compositions on Ella Mai are absolutely stellar, sporting a powerful mix of Funk, Neo & regular Soul, Alternative R&B, Blues & Dance Pop across the album; But even more impressive than simply utilizing different genres is the love & care that goes into capturing the authentic sounds of each era of Black music – Take, for instance, the warm, warped synths on “Own It,” or the brittle-sounding 808 drum-machines & smooth Slow Jam feel of “Gut Feeling;” Each is performed with the exact sonic profile of the true R&B foundations they’re emulating, turning the whole record into somewhat of a field trip through Black excellence with songs that easily could’ve been written by Usher, Lauryn Hill or Beyoncé.

Heartache With A Touch Of Feminism

Feminism seems to be a growing trend in what sells music these days & for good reason, as it’s a cause everyone in their right mind would support if they desire a brighter future, but it’s also incredibly easy to tell the difference between someone feigning feminist ideals & someone who actually believes them – Ella Mai injects possibly the best form of feminism into her narratives, that being a sex-positive stance on relationships & the confidence of female independence that comes with valuing the autonomy of women; Whether standing her ground in “Good Bad” or appreciating the game of love in the outstanding song “Cheap Shot” with its slight Frou Frou vibes, Ella Mai makes sure you know she’s in control at all times whilst simultaneously being game for a bit of debauchery between the sheets.

Finally, A Competitor To Beyoncé’s Legacy

The most important element of Ella Mai’s Ella Mai is that she came correct & excelled in every single genre experiment she conducted on the record – R&B songstresses with supreme talent come & go, but she’s the only upcoming Artist who has managed to break through to the mainstream world whilst continuing to impress her underground audience, so crafty & malleable with her compositions that you’re consistently impressed with literally every track she releases. The last time someone came along with the chops to challenge Beyoncé was Rihanna over a decade ago & her library is far from sonically consistent; Ella Mai is the first real threat who could possibly usurp the Queen B & with her second record already proving this elegant, there’s no telling how far she’ll climb in the future – If you’re not already hip to this noise, do yourself a favour & blast Ella Mai whenever you get a chance, or at least just “Sauce.”

2. Track List (16)

3. Official (16)

4. Live (4)

5. Featuring Remixes (4)

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