Karina: The 90's Baby

Posted by Mack of Sound-Savvy On 12:03 PM

"I'm a 90's girl, all about the corner store and the double dutchin on the block, I'll show what I'm about..."
Artist: Karina Pasian
Album: First Love
Release Date: 8.19.08

WOW… that’s all I could say when I listened to this album. Most 17 year old girls these days are engulfed in the battles of everyday teenage life – boys, college acceptances, boys, graduating high school, boys, and either trying to please the parents or be the parents. Oh yeah, and boys. For Karina Pasian, life has been quite a bit different. In her teen years, Karina has won Star Search, sang in front of the president, performed for Quincy Jones in Rome, and was the unsigned hype in a bidding war between 3 major US record labels. And here’s why: she’s a piano master, fully bi-lingual and she can sing her ass off – IN 7 DIFFERENT LANGUAGES! Her debut album, First Love, is nothing short of amazing, with production backing from Tricky and the Dream, Gordon Chambers, and Ne-yo to name a few. First Love is a classic album that launches Karina as a formidable force on the music scene, and with her incredible talent, she’ll become a household name very quickly. I’d say she’s a good mix between Aaliyah, Tamia, and Alicia Keys, a composition that makes her voice totally unique, and her CD: a masterpiece.

Listening to this joint, I’ve adopted quite a few favorites beginning with 90’s Baby, which kick starts the album in a poppy display of youthfulness. But it’s actually the lead single, 16 @ War, which shows her maturity. Lyrically, this joint hits hard as an anthem for today’s teenage females while Karina steps up to be the voice of her generation: “Ain't no daddy's where I'm from, it's just mad mothers and eyes that still seem they can't look past color. Why am I disrespected by someone I should call brother?” Bob your head on the second single, Can’t Find The Words, which invokes a bit of Tribe’s Bonita Applebaum for a familiar feel to accompany Karina’s silky smooth vocal delivery. Other highlights on the album include The Love We Got and the title track, First Love – which is a dedication to the craft that she began at age 3. Resilience is the theme on Can’t Bring Me Down, while true love prevails on Winner. My favorite track is the poetic ballad Slow Motion. The lyrics here are very sincere, and her vocal delivery drives the song right into the heart over a soft piano-led melody. It’s all about taking love slowly and taking your time: “So much about this crazy game they call love that I'm trying to understand, so could you be my best friend, before you call yourself my man?” I just love the emotion in her voice; it brings out the tenderness in the lyrics and makes the song a certified classic.

Overall, First Love is an album that just comes together beautifully. Karina’s vocal delivery is strong but not overbearing, light but not faint, involved but not overdoing it. The producers here worked well with her and contributed tracks that allowed her vocals to soar and shine. You’ll notice that on most of the tracks, you can hear her raw natural voice, without the misleading augmentation used by a lot of today’s R&B and pop acts. There really isn’t a bad song on the album at all, and although she’s young, her content isn’t childish; she can speak across generational gaps. I highly recommend this CD. Trust me, you WILL keep it in rotation.

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