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Janine - Album Review: 99

12 Jun 2018 // A review by ShelleySketch
Kiwi songstress Janine has been hustling hard since jumping overseas and it seems to be paying off. After releasing a few singles in the lead up, her debut album 99 is finally here. The album artwork is visually stunning, it seems like a bit of a spa-like moment however she is fully-dressed and dolled up, sitting in a full bath. That particular visual makes it feel like there’s something wrong in what would usually be a relaxing environment. Though with the album content I guess that’s what she’s trying to reflect.

Be By Myself is a slow and soulful start to the album. It seems to be about a relationship that’s gone bad and it’s too late to change. I really enjoyed this track and felt like I wanted to move and sing along to it.

Hold On seems to have a bit of a lighter feel in regards to vocals and the beat. But at their same time the pace is quite fast, though as a whole it feels like more of a slow and seductive track.

Don’t Love Me changes the direction back and talks about a relationship that’s not working. This track is a very vocally-powerful track and definitely one of my favourites. There’s something about Janine’s vocals in this track that seems to really hit home for me and I love that. The vocals make it feel very emotional. There’s also the mention of 99 which is the album title. Don’t Love Me was released as single in the lead up to the album with an accompanying video. Providing visuals for this track just helped confirm what I thought above, it shows a relationship going from okay to destructive and then it ending.

Never the Right Time is another light track. The title says it all, as this song is about how things could be but it’s not the right time. After the intensity of Don’t Love Me, this somewhat calms you down a bit.

Too Late picks the tempo of the album up again. Though it takes a bit of a turn as she reflects on how she has messed up and they moved on, but she misses what they were. The choir-like vocals are a really nice touch and compliments the fast beat in the verses. As a whole it also helps give a bit of a softer touch to the track. This song was also released with a video and is beautiful in the way it is focused on the emotion of the song. Visually the it makes the song seem stronger in the way the dancers move, the human form and Janine’s emotions, bringing it all together.

Unstable starts a bit slow but is a bit more vocally strong. It is a sexual song that helps mix up the album in regards to different elements of a relationship, which this song seems to be touching on. Unstable reflects on a relationship that has ended but the sex hasn’t.

Said It All starts slow, but the tempo picks up going into the chorus. Following on well from Unstable, it is also about sex. But this track feels a bit more positive and fun in the way it is approached. The high vocals towards the end are such a great touch as well as the little giggle at the end.

Numb turns the album around again. Instrumentally the beat seems a bit heavier and the track is moving from sex to essentially not wanting the person anymore.

Believed in You kicks the tempo up more straight away. Janine’s incredible vocals come through straight away at full force. I was thrown off a bit as it seems like a track to move to, but the lyrics are actually rather intense. It’s as though she’s putting a positive spin on a dark situation, singing about an abusive relationship and how it was good, but it took a turn.

Wrong Thing brings it down a bit more. The tempo comes down a little bit. Janine seems to be reflecting on this track about life and love.

Get Through This Again finishes the album in a powerful way. Not only are Janie’s vocals really dominant in this track it also tops off the theme of the album. In another touch on reflection, this track is about getting through the hard times in a relationship together. After the roller coaster of some of the other tracks this seemed to balance me out a bit and bring me back to neutral.

Janine really reflects on love & relationships in this album. 99 flows well together and none of the tracks seems out of place. Though the way it’s laid out, it really is quite a ride, but I suppose that’s what love is. Janine’s vocal range really makes you feel the tracks and is something that has always drawn me to her music.

Before releasing the album, Janine did a small tour in the states, which included some sold-out shows. 99 is a powerful album and honestly I think Janine will continue to rise. There’s something her music provides that a lot of music these days doesn’t. I don’t know if it’s her vocals, the emotion or the honesty but it’s something. If you listen to this album you will know what I mean. Hopefully we get to see her back home sometime because I’d love to experience these tracks live.

★★★★★ (5 stars)

Review written by Shelley Te Haara

About Janine

Auckland-based songwriter/singer/producer Janine Foster first introduced her atmospherically soulful songs to the world under the moniker Janine and the Mixtape, issuing several singles and EPs before dropping the "mixtape" and reinventing her sound and image as the somewhat glossier Janine. The last of her work as Janine and the Mixtape was the XX EP, released on major label Atlantic Records in 2015.

Now stationed in Brooklyn, Janine began work on a debut album, growing a social media profile with videos for her fans of sneak-preview snippets of new material, one-off covers, or just various everyday thoughts and commentary. Staying constantly active and in the public eye, Janine led up to her debut album with a collaborative track with Marko Penn and a video for the simmering, angsty leadoff single Don't Love Me in March of 2017. The debut album was slated for release later that year on Atlantic.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Janine


Year: 2018
Type: Album

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