Welcome to the new music review section of YMS/YFS homepage. Every other week, we'll debut several new music reviews, written by one of our fabulous new YMS staffers, Christopher Dellea.

This month Christopher offers three new reviews. Enjoy!

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Giving Props to the Ladies
reviews and commentary by Christopher Dellea


Anyone who has tuned into VH-1 has experianced what a diva is. With Divas Live '98 and '99, viewers have seen that a diva is a female singer, who belts out her biggest notes and wears her most spectactular wardrobe. A diva defines beauty in music; a performer who knows what she wants and perfects it on both her recordings and on stage.

Cher and Tina Turner. Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston. Celine Dion and Mariah Carey. All have defined the word "diva". But what would happen if a new group of divas much younger than Cher or Celine came charging onto the music scene? Having mulitple number one singes, multi-platinum albums and holding sold-out concerts would be the answer.

In 1998 after Backstreet Boys and 'N SYNC ruled the charts, the ladies decided to have a little fun of their own. And it all started with a girl named Britney Spears. Now the teen pop diava phenomena is everywhere you look from Christina Aguliera to Jessica Simpson to Mandy Moore. Let's take a look at three of these girls' debut albums and see if they truly are teen pop's ultimate diva.


Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera

Formerly on the new version of the Mickey Mouse Club, Christina Aguliera bounced onto the charts with the #1 hit "Genie In a Bottle". Once a person turned on the radio there the song was. I must admit when I found out her age at the time, 16, and heard her singing about "rubbing her the right way", I thought she was a little overexposed. Then came "What A Girl Wants", a more high-tempoed dance song which really got me interested in buying Ms. Aguliera's album.

And what a wise decision I made. This record is packed full of pop energy and sultry fun. With Christina's powerful voice belting out each note perfectly, this is one of my choices for best debut album of 1999. The highlights include "Come On Over", which will keep listeners moving to the funky beat as Christina pleads for the boy of her dreams to join in a party, and "Reflection", the song Christina sang in the 1997 Disney hit "Mulan". Christina adds power and wanting in her voice, making listeners feel how much she pleads to be perfect.

Well she's made a perfect album.

Grade: A
Divability: A

(Catch Christina on tour now with TLC!)





(click to buy)


Sweet Kisses
Jessica Simpson

When I first heard "I Want to Love You Forever", I thought Mariah Carey had made another album. Jessica Simpson's voice matched Carey's exactly to the belting out of the notes, minus all the screeching. It was sheer pop perfection.

I wasn't too shocked when I found out Tommy Matola, Carey's ex-husband, produced Jessica's album. So maybe Matola is trying to bring back what he once had, but one thing is for sure: Jessica Simpson CAN sing. On hand to help her for her first journey are her boyfriend and 98* member Nick Lachey (for the heartfealt duet "Where You Are"---girls don't get jealous now) and Destiny's Child (singing back up for the foot-tapping "Woman In Me").

With a batch of slow tunes, which are perfect for slow dances at junior and high school proms, and danceable excitement, Jessica Simpson has a wonderful debut album!

Grade: A-
Divability: B+

(Jessica just finished shooting a video with boyfriend Nick Lachey. Catch the making of "Where You Are" this Valentine's Day at 10:30am on MTV)



(click to buy)






. . . Baby One More Time
Britney Spears

I must admit to everyone right now I am not a huge Britney fan. I only like a few songs by her and I feel she is a really big sell out. The dolls are completley dumb and a waste of plastic. But millions of girls seem to have chosen Britney as their idol so I will be kind-hearted and tell you all what I liked about this album.

I liked the fact Britney paid homage to one of my favorite divas, Cher, with a cover of Sonny and Cher's "The Beat Goes On" and of course, I find myself singing "OH BABY BABY" quite a lot (my favorite part of "Baby One More Time" hehehe). But there are a lot of flaws in Britney's album.

Number one is her voice. It is way too soft and whiny. She has the power to do a strong ballad and belt it out like the best of them but she decides to hide her ability. This annoys me when I know a performer can do much bettter than he or she tries to.

Number two is the original version of "You Drive Me Crazy". The remix is a lot better and has a much better beat than the original. Britney made a smart choice of remixing the song cause I just feel the original is very painful compared to the remix.

But I have to give Britney credit for being one of the top selling artists of all time. She's been a veteran in show biz since she was three, acting in Off Broadway plays and starring (along with fellow competitior Christina Aguliera and Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez of 'N SYNC) in the Mickey Mouse Club. Her hard work has paid off and all she needs now is an album that works with both her voice and her image. But this time Britney don't go overboard with showing your belly or dressing in the tight clothes 'cause remember tons of little girls idolize you and you have to set a good example. Do it right a second time girl!

We will see if Britney hits it right the second time when her sophmore album hits stores in May.

Grade: C-
Divability: B+

(See the ulitmate teen diva battle as Christina and Britney are nominated for both Best Female Pop Vocal Performance and Best New Artist at Grammy Awards 2000, Feb.23 at 8pm only on CBS)


(click to buy)








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