Review Summary: Mina, now going by her full name Mina Alali, has just released her second album, Something About Her, a collection of some of her earlier songs that have been re-tweaked a bit alongside a few new tunes she’s recorded.
For those of you who have been reading my reviews for a while you’ll probably remember me writing about Mina’s 22 Cents Less (Kick-A-Beat Records) album last year. This girlfriend who I’ve never met still hasn’t even completed living the second decade of her life yet, but she’s already completed her second album called Something About Her. And, as is a woman’s prerogative, she’s made some changes over the past year.
First off, she no longer goes by just the name Mina. Now she wants to be known by her full name, Mina Alali, and according to her publicist, there are a few good reasons. In the beginning Mina, who is of Iranian heritage, feared that the negative view many Americans had about the Iranian government would be held against her and would prejudice their opinion about her music before even they heard it. So she dropped her family name from her releases. But that was then, and this is now.
It wasn’t just the positive support she garnered for 22 Cents Less that gave her the confidence to step out from behind her mono-moniker veil, it was also the steadily growing attacks that seemed to accelerate during the 2016 presidential election against people who came from Muslim countries and followed the Islamic faith. Additionally, after the signing of the so far (thankfully!) failed Trump Muslim travel bans and anti-immigrant policies she’d didn’t only feel it was time to take a stand, Mina Alali knew she had to take a stand and stand with pride. You go, girlfriend, you make us proud!
Now with that out of the way let’s talk about Something About Her. It’s a collection of some of her earlier songs that have been re-tweaked a bit, alongside a few new tunes she’s recorded. The title track and soon to be radio hit single is a mid-tempo pop piece about getting strung along in the game of love. Both sides on the gender teams are guilty of this crumby little crime of passion and it’s rarely a happy ending for the one dangling from the end of that string. It’s just the type of experience that makes you question the truth and wisdom to the saying that it’s better to have loved and loss than to never have loved at all.
Inside Out, as well as With You Only You, A Little Bit of Me, Count on You, No Lovin’ Me, My Italian Boy, Can’t Help Falling In Love (my absolutely favorite Elvis Presley classic!) and the eponymous title song from 22 Cents Less were all part of Mina’s last compilation. As I noted when last writing about her all of these were performed, produced and arranged very well and with perhaps the exception of My Italian Boy and With You Only You. The two exceptions I mentioned weren’t bad it’s just they don’t really rise to the level of those other six in comparison to compositional quality.
Dropping the tempo way down is a sweetheart of a ballad called Feeling Good. It exactly the type of tune that gets me wanting to make out and get busy with the guy I’m slow dancing with when I’m out on a date (I hope my mom’s not reading this – LOL). Wake Up is Mina Alali’s warning and wake-up call to us about the dangers and delusions of all the distractions that surround us in our millennial lives. The fakery and falsehoods, the lies and illusions, the alt-facts and blurring of reality that we’re bombarded with on a daily basis are something we all share alike. And frankly, Mina’s really sick and tired of it.
One point I feel compelled to criticize regarding Alali’s Something About Her album is how the song endings are handled. Most of them just grind to an unexpected and abrupt halt that fails to provide a satisfactory sense of listening resolution and left me feeling somewhat sonically shortchanged. I’m not sure if it was an intended production touch or an oversight, but I felt the need to mention it. Hey, I’m not saying you need to do anything as corny or clichéd as dubbing in a ringing alarm clock after the final cadence of a song such as Wake Up (now that I imagine it, it’s not such a bad idea), I’m simply suggesting Mina Alali & Co. may want to consider some options with future productions.