ALBUM REVIEW: Unbreakable Smile-Tori Kelly

After releasing two EPs and other songs, including popular covers, Tori Kelly is set to release her debut studio album Unbreakable Smile on June 23! I just had the opportunity to see her perform this past weekend, and heard some of her new songs, so I had to review the album for the blog.

Seeing Tori live, it seemed to me like she was very sweet and down to earth. She’s been releasing music for a while, and seems determined to not let the industry change her or her music. Unbreakable Smile is a clear reflection of all of that. The album is a mix of pop and soul, and speaks on the ups and down on relationships, the importance of staying positive in life, and her refusal to conform to the industry. It’s a really awesome, fun album, perfect for the start of summer, but it’s also filled with great messages that we can all relate to in some way. With teens as Tori’s target audience, this is a great album for them to listen to, hopefully learn something from, and be inspired.

Check out my review below!

The album starts out with the simple intro “Where I Belong,” where Tori discusses finding her destiny in life as a singer. “I’m just a girl with her guitar, trying to give you my whole heart,” she sings. She belongs on stage and in the studio, creating and singing great music for her fans. That’s where her heart is. The title track, “Unbreakable Smile,” is really upbeat and fun, and really showcases Tori’s positive outlook on her career and life in general. Even though she’s famous, she refuses to conform to the industry. She wants to use her name and music for good. She realizes that many people will think she’s naïve for this mentality, but she feels like everybody makes a clear decision on how they choose to live, especially with fame and fortune. I definitely agree and applaud her for her resolve.

The lead single, “Nobody Love,” is probably one of my favorite tracks on the album. It’s about being a little apprehensive to have that special love with a person, but, in the end, you don’t want or need to run once you’ve found it. “I try my best to fight to it, say ‘I hate you,’ but I always stay,” Tori sings of her love I am in love with the beat, and the hook is so catchy! Plus Tori’s vocals are really incredible on this one, and she sounds like she’s really having a lot of fun on the track. “Expensive,” which features a rap from Daye Jack,” is a message from Tori letting us know that money doesn’t buy love. She’s a simple girl. She’d rather spend time with her special someone, than be showered with expensive gifts. Again, this is another important well-needed message for those who believe that gifts are all that’s needed to keep someone.

Should’ve Been Us” is a mid-tempo song with a slight 90s vibe with Tori wondering about a past love and what would’ve happened with them if they had moved forward with their relationship. The ballad “First Heartbreak” changes the overall upbeat tone of the album at this point. Tori opens up and shows her vulnerability as she expresses the fact that she’s never been really emotional, but now that she’s in this relationship, she’s changed. She’s looking toward the future with this person, and even worries that one day he might leave her for some reason, and doesn’t want that to happen. “Guess that means I really love you, cuz I’m afraid to make mistakes,” Tori sings. “If you ever left me, that would be my first heartbreak.”

I Was Made For Loving You” features the talented Ed Sheeran, and provides a calm and beautiful acoustic for the album. Their voices were truly flawless together. “I was made for loving you, even though we may be hopeless hearts just passing through,” the duet sings collectively. Such a great collaboration…another favorite of mine! On the mid-tempo “City Dove,” Tori admits that she doesn’t know her fate, especially in the ever-changing music industry, but she’s going to continue to work towards her greater purpose.

Tori admitted herself on Twitter that “Talk” is “about wanting to tell the world to go away.” All she hears is talk, but no one is really saying anything of importance. This song can definitely be related to her career (and probably her personal life as well), though the message is somewhat muddled. “Funny (Live)” is the only live acoustic song on the album, and I loved it so much! Tori sings yet again about not giving up your soul in this industry. “What is your definition of a true superstar?” she asks. “Is it beauty? Is it money? Is it power? Is it fame?” The deep passion in her vocals on this track literally gave me chills!

Art of Letting You Go” details an experience that many of us have gone through: struggling to let someone go whether they now have another significant other or just weren’t good for us period. “California Lovers,” which features LL Cool J, is perfect for summertime, bringing a chill Californian vibe to the album. Tori sings of not missing a former love, until the summertime hits, and she’s reminded of all of their great memories together. It’s very different to hear LL on this, but his verse worked well on the song.

We get more vulnerability from Tori on the ballad “Falling Slow,” who admits that she’s not a perfect person, and she’s going to mess up undoubtedly in her relationship. However, she doesn’t plan to give up and hopes her significant other doesn’t either. This was also another track where Tori’s vocals and harmonies really stand out. The standard album ends on a high note with the upbeat “Anyway.” Again, she admits she’s not perfect, but “this is the only that I know how to be,” she sings. Regardless if people leave or stay, she’s going to be herself. “Take it or leave it babe. I’m not gonna change,” Tori sings firmly. “If you don’t understand, I don’t need you anyway."

I truly loved this album, and found myself connecting with just about every song in some way.Not only is Tori an amazing singer and songwriter, but she uses her music to motivate listeners and get us all thinking. Her inspiring messages, like on "Funny," shine on the project. There was a perfect balance of fast-paced, mid-tempo, and slow tracks, as well, and the songs were all mostly catchy and/or memorable in someway You can also hear her clear-cut passion and dedication towards her craft every time she opens her mouth to sing. It's that soul and passion that is much needed in this industry, and will catapult Tori to the top. She definitely gave her all on this debut!

The bonus track version of the album gives listeners two extra tracks, “Dear No One” (previously released) and “Beautiful Things.” You can purchase Unbreakable Smile on iTunes, other digital outlets, and in stores on June 23!

RATING: ★★★★★ (Five stars) 

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...