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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Aint Afraid

Ain't Afraid

Review by Gary Hill

I have to admit right out of the gate that I am not the target audience for this release. The fact that it works as well as it does for me is really testament to the fact that it's strong. The act is essentially two twin sisters who are talented singers. The music here is modern R&B with some forays into more hip hop zones.

The biggest issue I have is that I'm not a fan of the over-processed concepts that make up that genre. I mean, for me all the synthesized musical arrangements don't work as well as real instruments. That said, similar arguments were probably made when instruments became electrified and later when the synthesizer came into use. So, it could be seen as a moot point.

I will say this, the release mostly avoids the over-processing of vocals that is so common in the genre. To me that's far worse than the processing of the musical arrangements. As I said, I'm not a big fan of this type of music, and some of it really worked for me. If this is your chosen genre, my guess is it will be even stronger for you.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2021  Volume 4. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2021.

Track by Track Review
Intro
This is just a strange and extremely brief (only six seconds) vocal based introduction.
Rover & Benz
Piano elements bring this into being. The cut evolves into a modern R&B styled groove. This is a little over-produced, but it is remarkably effective despite that.
Crimson
Somehow the overproduction is a feature of this cut that helps it work as well as it does. There are some magical vibes here. This is a slower moving, rather sultry, soul number.
Rock Bottom
A cool percussive groove that almost feels like a heart beat begins this. I love the multiple layers of vocals on this. This is one of the strongest songs here despite how short it is (44 seconds).
Basics
Another pretty basic slow moving R&B groove, this is not bad, but the formula is beginning to wear rather thin by this point.
Highkey How It Be
Now, this is a step in the right direction. It has a real hip hop vibe. The sound of the music has a lot of mystery and style.
Somebody Loves You
I like the soulful groove of this tune quite a bit. It's another standout. 
Smile Today
This is a full on hip hop number. There are some symphonic elements in the backdrop that are a nice touch. The whole arrangement has a lot of meat on its bones. I'd say that this is possibly the strongest tune here. I really like it a lot.
Bonnie & Bonnie
I like the energy and vibe of this cut. It works well. The vocals work so well together on this piece.
Grow
This is a very short (12 seconds) vocal piece.
Chosen Roses
There is more pure hip hop here. The cut has some great vocals and flows nicely. It's one of the classier pieces here.
I Got God
I'm not crazy about this number, but part of that is the whole religious nature of the lyrics. It feels too preachy to me. The rap is definitely not the most successful one here. The cut has a good groove, and much of the vocal interplay works pretty well. Personally, I would have left this track off, but I am sure the message is important to the sisters to get out there.
 
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