Sweetbox – Jade

July 29, 2010 at 2:19 pm | Posted in Sweetbox | 2 Comments
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  1. Human Sacrifice
  2. Read My Mind
  3. Unforgiven
  4. Lighter Shade Of blue
  5. Utopia
  6. Don’t Push Me
  7. On The Radio
  8. Alright
  9. Stay
  10. Falling
  11. Fool Again
  12. Easy Come, Easy Go
  13. Always On My Mind
  14. One Kiss (Acoustic Version)

Jade is Sweetbox’s second album with front woman Jade Valerie. This album is like a continuation of Classified except they’ve taken everything great from it and made it even better.

Human Sacrifice is one hell of a revenge anthem with Jade sounding extremely aggressive. It’s surprising to hear Jade swear, “ate your bull shit promises and cherished every fucking word” because the lyrics in Classified were pretty tame. That line makes the song so much better because it’s so unexpected. Obviously it wouldn’t be a Sweetbox album if there wasn’t some classical sampling and this song samples Pavane by Faure. The song features fast rap-like/speaking verses and it gives the song an urban feel. The backing vocals consist of Jade saying “I hate you” and the chorus along with the first verse is layered together at the end of the song which results in a nice mix. This is a very in-your-face way to begin the album. Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni is the classical piece in Read My Mind. This track is much calmer than Human Sacrifice and the strings are quite lovely and relaxing. Jade’s sings in a soft manner and her vocal performance is very sweet in this song. When the backing vocals are added to the chorus and as the strings become louder the song takes on a more epic feel.

The next track, Unforgiven, has always been a favourite of mine and Jade immediately begins by saying “unforgiven” while the chorus is being whispered in the background. To be honest I never noticed the whispering vocals until I wrote this review and I can’t believe I never noticed them before. The song features a xylophone melody and some wonderful oriental music. The chorus is catchy and I love the lyrics “input output overload too quick/looking for and searching for climax to this.” The chorus seems as if it doesn’t fit with the verses but I like that aspect of the song. The arrangement of this song is unique and I love its rhythm. Oriental elements appear again in my favourite song and in my opinion one of Jade’s best songs, Lighter Shade Of Blue. Jade sings this song with so much emotion and power making it a truly remarkable song. The vocal harmonies when Jade sings “oh baby” in the chorus are incredible. The lines “I left paradise and I did not even say goodbye” and “I think I’m over you but it’s not true” are sung so passionately and I love how she drags out the former by belting it out which leads right into the chorus. There’s even an electric guitar added towards the end of the track and it makes it more dramatic.

Utopia’s arrangement lives up to its title because it has a very euphoric and carefree feel to it. Jade’s backing vocals repeat themselves during the verses and they compliment the melody well. The music quiets down for the bridge where Jade begins to speak. Overall, this is a nice light pop song. Don’t Push Me samples Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven and at first seems like its going to be a mid-tempo track but then the rest of the music comes in and it becomes very upbeat and aggressive. Jade sings this song with a lot of attitude, “yeah, I suffocate quick/does is it make me a bitch,” and the verses are sung fast. The re-work of the classical piece into an upbeat track is done extremely well. The bridge features Jade belting out and the chorus near the end has Jade singing over it in a talk-like manner. This is one of the albums best tracks. After this high energy track comes the smooth and cool On The Radio. It opens up with a radio broadcast and then the verse comes in which features some “lalalas.” The song is stripped-down in terms of its arrangement and it produces a soothing atmosphere. The chorus has more energy than the verses and features lovely “oohs” in the background. Jade’s vocal delivery is fantastic especially at the end of the first chorus where she sings in a deeper voice.

Alright is a laid-back track about feeling fine despite all the bad things happening to you. The lyrics are quite humorous and the line “I keep hearing stupid Britney Spears’ songs” is priceless. Halfway through the song random Italian male vocals are added which have nothing really to do with the song. They don’t ruin the song but it’s just random to hear them placed into the bridge. Stay is a Shakespeare’s Sister’s cover and Jade remains faithful to the original. Even the notes that she hits are identical to the original. She sounds vulnerable with her soft vocals accompanied by the ballad’s simple yet gorgeous arrangement. The chorus is emotional and there’s a desperate tone to Jade’s voice that works with the aspect of life and death that the song portrays. During the bridge the music becomes dark and Jade’s sweet vocals take on a menacing tone. The high note that she hits after the bridge is absolutely incredible. This has always been one of my favourite tracks on the album. Falling has a nice melody that speeds up for the chorus and slows down for the verses. Each line in the verse begins with “it’s a shame” and I thought that was a pretty neat thing to do with the lyrics. Jade’s vocals are great as usual and even though the song isn’t as memorable as some of the other tracks on the album it’s still a nice listen.

Fool Again is a mixture of aggression and simplicity. While the verses are sung with a lot of attitude the chorus is sung in a much softer way. The strings are lovely and at first may not seem like they go with the aggressive verses but in the end it works out well as the beats do become heavier as the song progresses. Easy Come, Easy Go features Jade speaking at the beginning along with thumping beats. Just like Falling and Fool Again this track is very laid-back. The chorus is repeated frequently but since the track is just under three minutes it doesn’t end up being too repetitive. Jade tackles Willie Nelson’s Always On My Mind and does the song justice. The acoustic arrangement is wonderful and Jade’s voice really shines in this stripped-down song. I love how Jade’s vocals and the instruments become louder as the song progresses. The backing vocals near the end give it a lot of strength before it closes off softly. Both covers on the album are done well and I’m impressed that Jade was able to capture the beauty of the originals while adding her own little touches to them. One Kiss (Acoustic Version) is an acoustic live recording and it’s simply elegant. You get to hear just how great of a singer she is on this track. Jade’s live vocals are just as good if not better than her vocals on the rest of the album. She sings with so much emotion in this song and she has great control of her voice.

Conclusion: Jade is a step up over the already excellent Classified. Geo’s productions on this album were much better and each sample fit in perfectly with the modern twist he gave them. The end of the album for me is the weakest part because those last few songs aren’t as great as the ones at the start but other than that I don’t have any other complaints. This album is solid and manages to have a completely different flavour than Classified. It’s a shame that they only release their music in Asia because they deserve much more recognition then they get.

Recommended Tracks: Lighter Shade Of Blue, Don’t Push Me, Stay, Human Sacrifice, Unforgiven, On The Radio and Read My Mind

Rating

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2 Comments »

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  1. I only know the singer “Jade” from sweetbox because of Final Fantasy X-2 (English)… I guess I’ll go check this album out since she did have pretty good vocals when I first heard her 🙂

    • I think that’s where the majority of people know her from. It’s like Utada and Kingdom Hearts XD. Hope you enjoy the album 🙂


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