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Day 41: JASMINE – “Welcome to Jas Vegas” (2014)
Genre: Dance / Pop
Tracklist: Welcome to Jas Vegas ~Opening~ / Where U @ / Handz Up! / #AGARU / R!de On / Dearest / Panic ~Interlude~ / HIKARI / Hallelujah
Any time a Pop singer claims to release a concept album, my ears open up and I get excited to grab it. Welcome to Jas Vegas is no exception, even if the concept is rather questionable. Does a bunch of generic dance pop tracks in a row count as a concept when just about every Pop album is doing just that? For the sake of this review, let’s pretend it does.
The album opening consists of an audience cheering as a woman runs. That’s it. What a great musical masterpiece! It does its job, but in a mere 9 track album having such an opening is already disappointing in itself.
The first full track, Where U @, instantly hints at the mental capacity necessary for this album: get ready for a tracklist full of replacing letters and words with unrelated characters that look or sound similar. Because cool! The track itself isn’t too bad, heavily relying on the dance pop template we have gotten used to lately, but neither adds anything of substance to it nor excels at the standard fare.
Handz Up! opens on a spoken introduction that I felt was unnecessary, but quickly redeems itself by being vastly superior to the prior song and actually becoming rather catchy. JASMINE feels more aggressive and assertive than many of her peers, set on delivering one constant high. Even when the quality of the material is limited at best, I can give her that. Oh, and that Dubstep breakdown towards the end? That…that really shouldn’t have happened.
Does every song on this album require a random introduction? #AGARU (yes, the hashtag is part of the title) once again starts on 30 seconds that could have easily been left out and remains notable only for the decent vocal delivery. It’s the same watered down EDM-R’n’B track we’ve all heard before, particularly in the J-Pop business. I don’t dislike either EDM or R’n’B, but you gotta do it right, dipping your feet into it to seem edgy won’t do – nothing gets old quicker than half-assedly jumping on a trend.
I honestly feel stupid just typing out the title of the next track: R!de On. It’s such a cheap, plastic, rehashed track, build around an incredibly superficial understanding of and gimmicky application of Dubstep. I can’t help but wonder if JASMINE was trying to make fun of recent industry trends with it. However, given the rest of the album, she seems 100% genuine in her ambition of creating the next great dance album. It’s no surprise she’s failing worse than Namie trying to show emotion.
I’m never hoping for a ballad in a Pop album, for fear of them being bland, but seeing how bad the upbeat tracks on this album are, I was hoping for Dearest to be one, going by the title. It ended up being an overproduced, midtempo mess that never seems to know what its going for. I do feel like more care was given to this song production-wise, but that isn’t enough to save it.
Panic ~Interlude~ is the catchiest thing on this album. It lasts 55 seconds.
I didn’t think it would ever happen, but I have found a song on this album that is somewhat enjoyable! HIKARI features a more playful, filled out arrangement, employing some unusual sounds and well-programmed beats. The melody is severely lacking, but there’s few faults in the arrangement and production.
It only took 26 minutes to get to the final track of this album, that has got to be a record. Hallelujah is an abomination of a mid-tempo EDM combo. A generic, anthemy melody over a generic, overused instrumental with bland production to top it off. This isn’t worth anyone’s time.
I’m not a fan of JASMINE, I can admit that. But I do know, from my experience with her older material, that she is capable of a whole lot better than Welcome to Jas Vegas. There’s nothing wrong with creating an album with the intention of filling it up with club bangers – however, you need club bangers for that. This album is a collection of overused cliches, badly composed and underwhelmingly arranged. The result is a ridiculously short album that can’t boost of a single good track. The only way to possibly use this for a party is amping it up all the way once people are very, very drunk – to make sure nobody can possibly pay attention.