(CJ Music, January 2006)
After her lively second album, Bada’s third is a big let-down. Gone are the catchy pop tunes which show off her vocal range and bring a smile to the face. Instead we are faced with a run-of-the-mill R&B and dance collection, which could have been put together by anyone. The voice is still unmistakably Bada’s (a slightly thin, nasal sound which works OK with pop numbers but less well with the more soulful songs) but the musical style is generic.
After the seemingly obligatory instrumental introduction we get a slow, cheesy number which could serve as the soundtrack for a second-rate soap – “Find the way”. Bada herself isn’t responsible for this treat, that privelege belonging to Lori Fine and Mika Nakashima for an earlier Japanese release. The MV has rather a kitsch story line, but has the distinction of a couple of cameo roles from former fellow-members of SES, Eugene and Shoo. Here’s the video:
The next track is by Bada herself, a gentle ballad called Diary, which starts off promisingly but then betrays a certain lack of inspiration by relying on that “this-song-isn’t-going-anywhere-so-let’s-move-it-up-a-key” cliche only 34 seconds into the piece.
The fourth track, V.I.P. (Volume Instead Pause), is, according to Wikipedia, the track which saved this album from total obscurity, though for me the rapping is rather unnecessary. The rapping is even more disruptive in the track which follows, Destiny, which otherwise is the standout track, coming closest to replicating the heights of Bada’s outstanding second album. Here’s the V.I.P. video:
The sixth track, Forever Love, is a big dance anthem which sounds better on the CD than in any of the live versions available on YouTube. This leads one to suspect that there’s a lot of massaging which went into the CD production because, quite frankly, the live versions can charitably be described as enthusiastic but more realistically excruciatingly oversung. I suppose it’s to the artist’s credit that she doesn’t lipsynch.
Tracks 7-11 are all enjoyable, but add nothing to what is available on her second album. Here’s track 11, Here I am Waiting.
Then come the remixes. V.I.P. is resurrected as one of those hyperactive numbers which always seem to be playing when you go to the gym and are supposed to make you want to pump those weights that little bit harder. Best steer clear of this one. The final track is a karaoke version of Find the Way. Definitely not to be listened to. Without the vocal it’s even emptier than with.
In conclusion, not an album to rush out and buy, even if you’re a Bada fan (which I am).