POP RESCUE: ‘Touch’ by Amerie (CD, 2005)


Today’s POP RESCUE from a loveless fate is the 2005 second album from Amerie, called Touch.

Amerie - Touch (2005) albumI’d never knowingly heard of anything by Amerie before seeing this album languishing on a shelf in a discount store. The artwork is richly luxurious, even if on the artwork she looks like she’s trying to remember something. On the front it’s probably where she parked her car, whilst on the reverse, it’s probably where she left her trousers or skirt.

The album bursts open with the brilliant lead single 1 Thing. I soon realise that I have actually heard this song many times playing late night in my gym, but had assumed that it was just another Beyoncé track. The song is musically light – which certainly helps to keep it bouncy, and the vocals are strong and catchy. The perfect album opener.

Next up is All I Need, which incorporates a sample of You Are All I Need by Jean Carn, and it’s a great continuation in style from 1 Thing. The sample adds to the slinky jazzy feeling. This is a really nice first glimpse at album track.

Touch is the third track, and second single here, and this track reminds me of something you’d find on Britney Spears’ 2008 Circus album. It’s quite synth heavy, and harder than the other two, which isn’t necessarily new, but listening to this now in 2015, doesn’t make it feel very cutting edge.

Up next is Not The Only One, and for it’s five songwriters, i’m not entirely sure what each one did, as musically and lyrically, it’s not exactly flush with either. In the end, it’s actually quite a boring song and one that sounds like it fell off a Mis-Teeq album.

This is followed by Like It Used To Be, which opens with percussion and bass, before Amerie launches into some ‘yeah yeah yeah‘s’. Whilst this is quite a mellow track, vocally it is far superior to the last track, and the bassline is really nice.

Sixth track is the third and final single from this album – Talkin’ About. Again, we’re back to some great beats and funky brass samples (although they seem to be original rather than historic samples). Sadly, the song doesn’t really go anywhere, despite Amerie’s vocals standing out strong here. Thankfully, about half way through a bass line arrives, giving the vocal/percussion track some direction.

This is followed by Come With Me, which opens promisingly with a dark sounding synth and Amerie reassuring you that you’d be okay with her.. but then that drops away, and we’re back to beats and vocals. It’s pretty empty again, aside from the occasional twinkling organ notes. Again, this feels very same-y to other tracks – minimal, and quite dull.

A funky saxophone sample from Searching by Roy Ayers, sews together the next track Rolling Down My Face. Beats, vocals, and bassline, backed by that sample, at least make this track feel richer and like it was a complete song recording when the album was pressed. This makes the track pretty catchy.

Up next is Can We Go (feat. Carl Thomas), and it’s he who starts the vocals, and it’s a warm welcome. He adds a nice warm soulful vocal to Amerie’s. Tucked into the track is a sample of Evil by Earth, Wind & Fire. This is quite a good strong, but feels like it’s over all too soon.

Tenth track is Just Like Me, which was co-written here with Sunshine Anderson. Amerie also gets a flute credit here. It’s a gentle ballad, and Amerie’s vocals really shine here.

Falling follows this, opening with some clear hip hop loops. Amerie’s vocals again really belt out and sound wonderfully rich here. The track remains fairly minimal, but the bassline and occasional synths just about to sew it all together in the brief moments when backing vocal harmonies stop. This is the longest track on the album (almost 5 mins), but it holds it together enough to not have you checking the clock.

A slightly longer version of hit 1 Thing,  is up next, this time featuring Eve. Eve’s rap (about 3mins in) are about all that’s added, and reading up on this track, reveals that the label was unhappy with the song – saying that it sounded unfinished. Perhaps this was one of the versions produced to help Amerie to get it released.

Penultimate track is Why Don’t We Fall In Love (Richcraft Remix), and like the funky moments of this album, this album continues on that theme, containing a sample of You’re The Reason Why by The Ebonys. This is a really good song, and so I wonder what the non-remix version sounds like.

The album closes with a ‘bonus track’ of Man Up (feat. Nas), which is laden with crackling vinyl beats and bassline (a sample of Stripper by Michael Quatro), and Nas‘ rap really feels perfectly placed 2mins in. This is a great track, that probably should have been a single, but the language would have let it down.

There’s a few really nice songs here, but the rest just feels like carbon copies of one other idea. If you’re a Beyoncé fan, you’d love this. But if you were a Beyoncé fan, you’d buy Beyoncé because she’s prolific enough to feed you all the Beyoncé you need. Amerie just sounds like a diversion.

Where is Amerie now?

Amerie’s success in the UK has not matched that of the USA, despite having a hit in 2005 as a featured artist on Ricky Martin‘s single I Don’t Care.

After changing her name slightly to Amerlie, she has gone on to release four further albums, and in 2008 began releasing on her own label.

She has also been writing adult and fantasy fiction.

POP RESCUE RATING

  • POP RESCUE 2015 RATING: 2 / 5
  • 2005 UK CHART POSITION: #28
  • POP RESCUE COST: £1.00 from a Poundland store.

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