Maturity changes people’s music tastes. Around the tender teenage years, you get the love struck teens who prefer to remain loyal ‘N SYNC fans or those who drift the way of Dashboard Confessional. This transition takes place in the 90s, but the same goes for the 21st Century youngins who stick with Bieber and those who move to Daughtry. If you take the darker and at times, more distributed route, the hidden Bieber or ‘N SYNC fan within you will still expose itself every so often. You shouldn’t be embarrassed by this disclosure, but if you are well passed the midlife crisis age, maybe you should listen to Selena Gomez tunes in private.
The latest artist to be placed in the teen music category is Alyssa Bernal. If you were a JoJo fan in the early 2000s, Bernal will be your newest guilty pleasure. The San Antonio, Texas native, who was born in 1989, has garnered over 12 million Channel Views on YouTube with her covers from such artists as Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears. Her YouTube success sealed the deal with multi-platinum selling artist and producer, Pharrell Williams and her label, Star Trek. Following her self-titled EP release in October 2010, Bernal dropped her debut album, “Love Hangover” on November 15th via Star Trek.
The 13 track album opens up with the lead tune, “The Boy”. You shouldn’t think too hard as to what the meaning of the song is, but instead focus on Bernal’s vocal chops, which are beautifully innocent. The youthful sound of her voice complements the lyrical nature of the song and gives listeners the room to explore their own individual love woes within the track. Yes, Bernal isn’t singing about social or political injustices in the world, but that is why “The Boy” works.
As the album continues, Bernal sheds the light brighter on both her relatable side and talented side. The slower paced track, “Easy”, showcases her ability to tap into a higher register, while maintaining vocal strength. You should think of High School Musical’s Gabriella singing “When There Was Me And You”, when listening to this track. That last statement was a hint to you, Disney. Bernal is worthy of her own “Wizards Of Waverly Place”.
She spices up the track listing of “Love Hangover” with two duets. “One Of Us Gotta Leave” features Pharrell and takes the PG rated album to a possible PG 13 level. Surprisingly, Bernal and Pharrell have similar vocal pitches and ranges, which strengthen the fluidity of the song. The second duet, “Hold Me Tight”, tones down the tempo considerably from that of “One Of Us Gotta Leave”. Jason Wade chimes in on this tune and his rugged sound evokes a rawness that heightens the emotions Bernal’s voice exudes. “Hold Me Tight” is the ultimate romance song for the Twihards out there.
With the “subtle” teenage name drops above, it should become quite clear that Alyssa Bernal has a demographic. “Love Hangover” appeals to that age group, both lyrically and instrumentally. Keeping the beats simple and the words catchy is exactly what works for her market. In no way meant as an insult, but Alyssa Bernal has much more talent within and her debut album is just the beginning.
by Lonnie Nemiroff