Album Review: Ce'Cile - Still Running
For her fifth album Ce’Cile returns to the SoBe Entertainment camp for an album that takes full advantage of her songwriting ability while simultaneously providing her with production that is beyond the dancehall reggae genre she has been associated with for the past decade. Entitled Still Running (From Love) the album plays with the message in the opening song performed as a ballad, “On The Run” and its accompanying reggae version that closes out the 16-track set. The chorus is one of the best ever written by a female in the Jamaican reggae industry. It has the listener repeating its soaring message of a woman taking off from a potential love situation. She’s joined by Bryan Rucker on this tune, one of several males that make contributions to the album. His Peter Gabriel-esque tone and counterpoint to her run, suggesting that there is a way to make it work are both big selling points to the song with its “ear worm” type chorus.
An artist with who has sung as a guest on big tunes in the EDM arena, she uses this type of production to present many of the tunes on the release. With building synthesized vibes found in some of the world’s biggest pop tunes, she makes music that transcends the dancehall and moves into the mainstream. The song Do You Know is an anthem that reminds women that despite the rigors that they put themselves through to meet so called “standards” of beauty, they should know that underneath all of their layers they are “beautiful, unusual.” Delivered in a Lady Gaga-styled vocal, she describes the ironies that women experience with “pills to take, get in shape, sunblock, spray on tan, not light enough not dark enough … fix your life fix your hair, how you doin’ who you wear?”
Taking it to the dance floor, Turn It Up is the logical single planned for the selectors to enlist bubbling and winding and for Ce’Cile to reach her dancehall fans. Sharing the mic with Ce’Cile is guest DJ Jazzy T whose chanting brings the vibe of the dance as he leads the cheer to “wine it up”. The rhythm has a “Diwali”-style pattern that has many layers including a multi-tracked lead and support vocal. For Irie-We Don’t Care a more pop-styled reggae one-drop rhythm provides the bed for the lead vocals to bounce playfully upon as guest Ragga Bear leads the chorus singing “we really don’t care”.
Another global pop EDM influenced dance song - Contagious is destined for the club scene as Ce’Cile takes us through the paces of her dance floor moves as her vocals pass through a subtle autotune effect that matches that of Richie Loop a guest on this tune who sets the stage for a fun night on the floor. La Di Da Di is a refreshing play by play through what seems to be a bedroom scene as Ce’Cile sings over a pop-infused chord change and lush keyboard sounds set to a dance groove influenced by reggae. For Kingston Step a vintage ska rhythm takes a good thirty seconds to take hold then Ce’Cile chimes in to ask us to come along on the Kingston step, as we are “stepping all over the world.” Primarily a showcase for the rhythm, with minimal vocals, it is a lovely vignette in this modern-styled set.
The most hard-driving rhythm in this dancer’s opinion can be found in “Eyes Pon Me” which also includes Ce’Cile’s vocal instrument chanting in a ragga style in her lower register. She gives a direct account of the club experience, “music a beat and body a wine up, dance floor a ram and all the gooda a line up, selecta start play the bubbling section, back it up a mi a wa di boy a wait pon.” A well-sequenced album, to follow is “Wine & Roll” which uses EDM style sounds and techniques to invite a partner to “take an up close” both an invite to watch the dancer and cross into her personal space.
One of two international artist combinations, One More features Anthony B in a slower paced groove that pays homage to returning lovers. Ce’Cile holds the majority of the vocals here from the female perspective suggesting, “Every time I look at you I fall in love again, then you take my body and your ways don’t change. I feel like you’re the one for me, but you love me then you leave me and I can’t take the games.” Rapper Flo Rida is the other combination on this album for Kiss It Up. Known for his big global EDM-flavored hits, he delivers a rapid fire rap as a segment of the groove which is full of momentum and “drop trap” breakdowns with building multi-tracked choral arrangements.
As the album comes to a close there is a bling tune Fresh Like Money featuring YNIQ, a rapper who joins Ce’Cile on a slow paced R&B/Hip Hop jam. Ce’Cile sings elegantly about “stepping out in these heels, its no big deal.” A full on pop-styled tune is found in One Love a wonderful anti-war, anti-bigotry anthem that soars over a driving rock rhythm asking us to think for ourselves. The breakdown finds Ce’Cile telling us to “Turn round the tables take back the power, the world is ours can’t tell us what to do, don’t listen to them.”
For Awesome the singer is joined by R. Janois who echoes her lines with charming translations in French to remind men that women sometimes get caught up in their emotions and don’t tell their men they are “awesome”….The groove is a gentle one drop seasoned by guitar that finds Ce’Cile’s vocals way in the front. R. Janois has a solo in French that restates the message that sometimes women do not verbalize their appreciation for the men in their lives but they do adore them.
Ce’Cile is an artist with the experience in the studio to know the type of sound that she wants and the conviction to pursue her tastes and manifest them into creative expression. A clear visionary in terms of her business direction, she knows who her fans are and who she wants to cultivate as a Jamaican recording artist and will avoid being narrowly defined as a “dancehall artist”. The album makes a bold statement in this direction, the effort has been made, now the promotion and acceptance will take shape.
Ce'Cile - Still Running
DIGITAL RELEASE [SoBe Entertainment]
Release date: 10/14/2014
01. On the Run feat. Bryan Rucker
02. Do You Know
03. Turn It Up feat. DJ Jazzy T
04. Irie: We Don't Care feat. Ragga Bear
05. Me Have It feat. Patexx
06. Contagious feat. Richie Loop
07. La Di Da Di
08. Kingston Step
09. Eyes Pon Me
10. Wine & Roll
11. One More feat. Anthony B
12. Fresh Like Money feat. YNIQ
13. Kiss U Up feat. Flo Rida
14. One Love
15. Awesome feat. R. Janois
16. On the Run (Reggae Version) feat. Bryan Rucker