Mya - Sweet XVI

Sweet XVI * Mýa *R&B * April 21, 2014

The musical road hasn’t always been smooth for Mýa.  After having an incredible start with her debut and sophomore albums, Mýa and Fear of Flying, her star began to decline.  Her third album, Moodring, was delayed due to her acting and charity works and her fourth and fifth albums, Liberation and Sugar & Spice, were only released in Japan.  She saw a return to the U.S. with the release of 2011’s K.I.S.S. (Keep It Sexy & Simple) and she surprised her fans on Valentine’s Day with her digital With Love EP.

But despite the ups and downs of her career, the one thing that you could never accuse Mýa of doing was being anyone else.  All of her albums had an underlying sound that would be coupled with that era’s musical trends.  She was never an artist that people could accuse of being manufactured or fake.  Mýa was always just Mýa and that was one of the things that her fans continue to love about her.

On the exact 16th anniversary of the release of her debut album, she seeks to show us the woman she is now.  With a new album in the works, she is hoping give us a taste  of what is to come, but is it something that listeners willing to swallow?

01.  Super Woman – A great way to start of the EP, Mýa delivers a positive message that can sometime come off as disingenuous or hokey when done by other artists who have not had the life experiences she has.  About how she continues to push towards her dreams no matter what obstacles a setbacks occur, her much improved vocal and surprising rap delivery sells strength.  The chorus is something that women need to hear more often: I’m more than just a pretty face/I’m more than just a bangin’ body/Much more than what you think you see/I’m a super, super woman.  The production here is a wonderful compliment as well, managing to be upbeat with a hint of marching soldier in the background.

02.  Cherry Lips – There is something so deliciously 80’s about this track.  The production is bouncy in the beginning with the chorus slowing it down just a bit for emphasis.  The concept is simple; Mýa is letting an old lover know that he is the one for the night.  The vocals are seductive with Mýa’s voice still containing that youthful sweetness from 1998 but with added age that gives it depth, much like what she says in the first bar, like fine wine.

03.  Same Page – Featuring singer/songwriter Eric Bellinger, this song works better than some of the components would suggest it would.  Even though the song wasn’t written by Bellinger, it does sound like something that he would fit in with his discography.  The production is a little on the generic side, synth chords teamed with a bumping bass, but that plays to an advantage because Mýa’s vocals would overpower it, even with the semi-rap delivery.  Bellinger’s vocals are good here as well, showing enthusiasm and commitment to the material.  The biggest downfall is the concept is generic; two lovers are both interest in giving one another the night of their lives.  The song is not at all bad, but not that memorable either.

04.  Right Now – Get it in any time/As long as you’re mine; kinda sums it up, doesn’t it?   The sexy, thumping production is the standout here.  The sexual nature of the lyrics is nothing original, the teaming it with a beatwork that rides ups the interest factor tenfold.  Mýa vocals are good and engaging, add to the interest factor (despite the use of autotune at the end of the choruses).  The biggest thing about this song is that the totality of it sounds like it may have been written for Ciara.  From the moment the first chorus begins, there was a distinct feeling that I was listening to a reject from her recent self-titled album.   That is not a knock against the song and Mýa puts the work in to own it, but it is somewhat unavoidable.

05.  M-O-N-E-Y – The placement of this song is on this EP is an odd one.  The production her is all trap, from the driving bass to the strobe-light synth.  Were this song to be a single, I could see a lot of rappers using the instrumental and Mýa’s chorus work for a refix.  The title says it all; Mýa is all about her money and she will not let you stand in the way of her drive to get it.  Mýa’s vocal delivery is solid and she sounds comfortable with her rap towards the end of the track.  Lyrically, the song is not bad (considering the subject matter) as there are some good punchlines here, but it is definitely not anything new or innovative.  It’s reminiscent of Okay Bitch from her third album, a throwaway dance track that pulls the collection’s wheel all the way to the left.  Good for a fun night on the way to the club, but not much else.

06.  Unbreakable – For the final track Mýa takes us back to where we began, letting us know that she is strong and can handle whatever comes her way.  She spends the song telling the listener that she knows that she has made mistakes and stumbles in her life but she wouldn’t change them because they made her the woman she is.  The lyrics here are strong with memorable couplets like I’ve fallen on my a**/But bad days don’t always last (that’s not my edit; the song is edited).  Mýa is giving us strength through her vocals again, but it doesn’t feel like a rehash of Super Woman.  The Mike Check rap feature is also really good, with his content reflecting the overall message well.  The production is triumphant but somewhat generic, as there is a hint of the dubstep R&B era that is not far enough behind us to make it feel original.

All in all, this is a good collection.  While Mýa flirts with different styles and sounds, she only seems to get lost in them once.  Not as cohesive her previous EP, With Love, the mood jumps around a little for it to be something that most people will listen to every time without skipping something.  It does, however, work as a sampler and will have listeners waiting for what she will come with later.

Rating:  3.5