(Released July 7th, 2017)
Back in 2015 Sevyn announced that she was in the final stages of completing her debut album “On The Verge,” describing it as “My thoughts, desires, fears, tears, emotional ups, downs, good times, drunken nights and unforgettable moments all rolled up into a body of work.” Over a year later a release date was given, January 27th, 2017 – the same day as label mate Kehlani’s debut was scheduled to drop -, and with that announcement, came a new title “Girl Disrupted.” The 27th came and went without a word from Sevyn or her label regarding the album’s whereabouts, it became apparent that it had been pushed back, yet again. Eventually, a new date was given that actually came to fruition and now here we are.
Released on Sevyn’s 31st birthday – a digital release only – Girl Disrupted opens up with “Livin.” During the tracks opening monologue, she states “This album for me is more than just music” and even goes into details about the musical approach and personal struggles that occurred throughout the process. The actual song, however, doesn’t convey any of that – neither does the album as a whole – it’s a pretty lackluster album opener and, unfortunately for me, is a good representation of what was to come. It fails to engage the listener, instead of leaving you wanting to hear more the song is just…there. It also seems to run a minute too long (this happens a lot as the album continues).
The next track “Present Situations (Feat. The-Dream)” is beyond forgettable, normally Dream and Tricky come through in the clutch but instead of Kobe, they turned into LeBron. Lyrically and production wise it’s a blur of a song and it’s only the second record on the album.
The first half of the project is a task in itself to get through with the only bright spot being “My Love For You.” The song samples Whitney Houston’s “Saving All My Love For You” and does a good job of putting a modern twist on such a classic record – Don’t tell Brandy! I guess another “good” moment would be the radio friendly “Anything U Want,” the song is stacked with verses from Ty Dolla $ign, Wiz Khalifa and Jeremih – the latter references the #BowWowChallenge in an effort to prove a point – while it’s not one of my favorite songs, I can see the appeal that it would have. Jeremih appears again along with Dej Loaf on “Ol Skool,” this is another skippable track but the turning point for me was the repeated line “Can you stand the rain like Bobby?” First of all, Bobby wasn’t on that song and second of all, after leaving the group a couple of times Bobby, in fact, could not stand the rain. Closing out the first half of the album is an upbeat rendition of Faith Evans’ “Soon As I Get Home” – accompanied by the same title – long story short, issa skip, but it might work for some post-The Evolution Ciara fans.
If you make it past that first half, the second portion of the project starts off on a high note. “Before I Do” is an ode to that classic R&B sound that Sevyn has admitted to being a huge fan of. The Aaliyah/Isley Brothers sample is used very well and is complimented by her laid back vocals with little to no distortion or distractions added. The momentum continues with the August Alsina assisted “Been A Minute.” Both of the singers do a great job of complimenting each other without one trying to outperform the other. It’s a perfect balance vocally, lyrically and production wise. That momentum dies down slightly with “Translation” but it’s not a bad song and sonically goes well with the previous records. The problems arise once again with “Peace Sign,” it’s an attempt at a sexual ballad but it isn’t too enticing, rapper Dave East lays a few bars but although he’s nice to look at, I didn’t care for his verse at all. Three tracks remain after that – “Fallen,” “How Many,” and “Everything In Me” – knowing that I was in the final stretch of the album, these seemed like the longest three songs I’ve ever heard. I did, however, randomly come around to liking “How Many” after multiple listens and “Everything In Me” is a decent closer.
Overall, if you can’t tell by now, “Girl Disrupted” didn’t meet my expectations. But I must confess: If I said that this was an unbiased opinion I would be lying. I’ve personally been following Sevyn’s career since she debuted on 106 & Park as a member of the quartet RichGirl back in 2009. As soon as I saw their video for “He Ain’t Wit Me Now (Tho)” my eyes immediately glued to two members, one of them being Sevyn. Things ultimately fell apart for the group before they could release an album but I continued following the two singers that caught my attention. Sevyn started working closely with Chris Brown and ended up signing with his label CBE which led to multiple writing credits and guest features. Eight years later, after many set backs and false promises, the debut album finally comes out and my ears can’t believe that this is what we’ve been waiting for. The majority of the album fails to capture the magic Sevyn managed to create on the two EP’s that came before it. 2013’s “Call Me Crazy, But…” was a dream come true. All seven songs delivered in their own way. From the raunchy “Sex On The Ceiling” to the attention grabbing title track, and the emotional ballad “Shattered.” Each provided a small insight into what Streeter had to offer. The same goes for its follow-up two years later, “Shoulda Been There, Pt. 1.” While I can do without the interludes, the songs themselves don’t disappoint. The sassy headbanger “Boomerang” accompanied by the modern/retro feel of “Don’t Kill The Fun” along with tracks like “Just Being Honest” and “Consistent” all make for a solid project. So to go from that to this is mind boggling.
The direction, or lack thereof, of Girl Disrupted, should’ve been expected after “Prolly” was released to garner buzz during the rollout of the album. It was clear then that something had been lost in translation. But, I’m an optimist. Finally releasing your debut album is a big step for an artist and no matter how I personally feel about the project, it is my hope that Sevyn continues writing and working on material to be released in the future. And, although I have been a girl who was disrupted by listening to this, everyone deserves a chance to grow and I look forward to seeing what could potentially happen in the future.
Don’t let me down, Amber!