Wednesday, 28 September 2011
RING THE ALARM: Sizzling tracks set Cherine’s 9.25 mixtape ablaze
One thing that has always struck me about Cherine is the rich layering and unpredictable contours that continue to jointly define her musical output. Although the dancehall-soul pioneer has earned renown for appealingly groovy radio hits, more than ever she is demonstrating that she’s a woman now and can deliver a song hard and heavy like her most versatile contemporaries in the industry. After years of swallowing a lot of good-girl pills, Cherine is saying exactly what’s on her mind. And this newfound religion is stamped all over her stellar and varied new mixtape, JA 9.25, which shares the date of her birth. Packing 15 tracks, the release is equal parts mesmerizing alternative reggae and scorching, if melodious, dancehall fire.
Among the most arresting cuts is the forceful “We Don’t Stop,” which usually gets a terrific live performance from the singer. And staying on that hard-hitting trend, she calls out the sheep in wolves’ clothing on “Fade 2 Black,” which boasts some solid production work. The acoustic gem “How We Living,” meanwhile, allows Cherine to cast a compassionate eye over the heart-rending socio-economic landscape with sympathetic lyrics. "Eagles and Doves" also has its heartfelt moments.
Yet the pint-sized artiste seems to excel most whenever she is celebrating good men, as she does stunningly on the relationship hits “20 to Life” and “Real Love,” which particularly delivers a range of gorgeous melodies. Then there’s the mixtape’s real highlight, “Makeup Sex,” which gets a fascinatingly edgy remix without dimming Cherine’s wattage as a woman in full control of a confrontation with a possibly unfaithful lover. In the meantime, listeners are in for a delightful treat thanks to a trio of standout collabos with DI (the egocentric “Honorebel”), Natel (the sexy “You Turn Me On”) and Chuck Fendah, who makes a sterling contribution to “Call on Me.”
In short, JA 9.25 finds Cherine in tip-top shape while giving her adequate room to explore unconquered territory without compromising an ounce of the class and urban appeal that has always characterized her sound. If there’s one thing that the mixtape reaffirms it’s the fact that in the universe of dancehall-soul, Cherine is where sweet meets street. Tyrone’s Verdict: B+