Soul Siren Nina is entering a new phase in her career as she releases “Stay Alive” under her new label Universal Records. “Stay Alive” is a mix of club tracks, power ballads and r&b beats and is in general a departure of the acoustic covers that made the Soul Siren a top selling recording artist. One has to commend Nina’s attempt to introduce a new side of her despite the current trend in the local music industry of stripped-down covers of pop hits which she arguably help establish.
In “Stay Alive”, Nina only has two covers while the rest of the twelve-track CD are all originals. Nina offers various types of sounds in her original tracks showing the singer’s versatility as an artist. It’s quite a risky move, commercial wise, but the product is solid although the mix of different genres in one album has its disadvantages as well. For one, the album suffers a lack of cohesion and general direction as tracks shift from uptempo beats to soaring ballads that makes for an awkward listening experience. There’s no unifying factor among these tracks and it feels like it simply can’t decide it’s identity. Nevertheless, judging the individual tracks is quite a pleasure as each has its own merits and something to offer in the table.
The dance tracks are good and the lead single “Dance’” has an irresistible beat that makes for a good club banger. I personally find “Only With You” as the best uptempo song in the album as it highlights a very polished production and an insanely catchy beat. I wished Nina had more dance/upbeat songs in this album as she really showed promised in the genre. Nina’s ballads in this album are okay but there quite a few like “Missing You” and “You Should Know” that are weak and forgettable. The standout ballad in the album is the inspirational song “Believe in the Dream” where Nina not only shows her impressive vocal range but she also heightens the song’s emotion through the rawness that exudes from her vocals. It’s probably the song where Nina gave her all. Lastly, the R&B tracks are impressive and where Nina shines the best. “Stay Alive” is a groovy track that has foreign influences in its production and “Laging Ikaw” is in my opinion the best song of the album as the song shines from its Pinoy-flavored R&B arrangement with a degree of sexiness in it.
All in all, ‘Stay Alive’ is a step in the right direction for Nina’s career. The album shows the potential of Nina to grow more as an artist. Unfortunately, the effort to reinvent herself in this album is only halfhearted but the glimpses we see in this album is promising.