Christina Milian
So Amazin’
Island
2006
C-



so Amazin’, Milian’s questionably titled third LP, tries to take most of the guesswork out of the album by letting Cool & Dre, the Miami-based production pair, tailor ten of the disc’s eleven tracks to Milian’s airy, almost pre-pubescent squeak.

In fact, it’s all very boilerplate until Milian starts to get frustrated about some unknown hater, opponent, obstacle or what have you. That’s when the music stops being important on So Amazin’ and the ego kicks in. Maybe it’s because she exhausted most of her libidinous side in the still-shocking pseudo-soft core video for her first break-out hit “Dip It Low”—where the limpid and ethereally curvy Milian did everything in her power to writhe under glass coffee tables, put various “sensual” items (honey, sand and probably half of a Bed, Bath & Beyond store) over her bangin’ bod and generally nudge the after-school crowd toward soft-corn porn. From that moment on, well, it’s been awful hard to take her barely-there warble of a voice as anything more than an excuse to put her pretty little mug on posters.

But suddenly it’s 2006, her movie career is careening and it’s time for her to try to get angry. Cue up “Say I,” Amazin’s lead single and her fussy attempt at what’s commonly called an anthem. Cool & Dre put some very serious-sounding horns and simple break-beats together (that, as it’s been noted by other critics, instantly evokes the production pair’s previous hit, Game’s “Hate It or Love It”) for Milian to carp out some b-girl truisms: “I don’t know about you / But imam get it poppin’ like I’m supposed to do.”

The grrrl power doesn’t stop there. Three 6 Mafia helps our little cheerleader on “Who’s Gonna Ride?” and subtle and not-so-subtle hissy fit jabs (possibly directed at ex-beau and Underclassman “star” Nick Cannon) make “Y’all Aint Nuthin’” and “Hot Boy” more diary fodder than say, pop songs.

As physically exploitative and embarrassing as the “Dip It Low” video was, the cranky, only kinda-motivational storm in a tea cup vibe from So Amazin’ does nothing but put her recording career firmly in reverse. A fairly substantial waste of Cool & Dre’s still kinetic smorgasbord of reusable drum beats, neon synths, and Sidekick sound-effect bridges, So Amazin’ isn’t quite pop and it isn’t quite rebellion—it’s straight-up high school. And a pretty, motivated young person like Milian is supposed to put those things behind her along with the notebooks, pep squad dance routines, and lunch room beefs.


Reviewed by: Evan McGarvey
Reviewed on: 2006-05-24
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