Ready or not, Bridgit Mendler is here to infect you with her catchy tunes and surprisingly capable vocals in her debut album, Hello My Name Is.... A Disney Channel breakout actress, she has now crossed over into the music biz to try and make a name for herself. The 12-track debut album sees her co-writing her own music and experimenting with different sounds, which is quite a feat for a first-timer.
Introducing herself to the audience is the pop-funk single Ready or Not, itself a summery number that has fused within the track elements of reggae and hip-hop, with lyrics like "And i'm kinda shy but , you super fly yeah , i could be your kryptonite". Whilst she has been quite successful in bringing a certain likeability and sassiness into the song, which is applaudable, I can't help feeling like the chorus is a similar sound to T-Pain's Buy U A Drank, arranged in a different tempo and vibe. It's a little disappointing but the overall song is infectious enough to make me hit replay.
With her throwing in pop culture and US-based references in her tunes, it's easy to see how it might alienate her international fanbase who don't recognise what "Reeses' pieces" are. But I think it's a small issue, because Mendler does indeed have a powerful voice, that I liken to Carly Rae Jepsen, or maybe even Demi Lovato. She tries her best to distinct her vocals by taking up a Ke$ha-like / Cher Lloyd-esque talk-rap attitude in Hurricane, but ends up over-pronunciating her words, making it feel forced and ruining the song for me. It would have been a great one to listen to if not for her stuttering "knee-e-es" or "wor-rr-rld" and all those "uh-ohs-uh-uh-ohs". The reggae-pop track is such a joy to listen to otherwise, especially when she is actually singing the chorus. Perhaps she should stick to singing and not rap.
Forgot to Laugh and Top of the World are okay tracks, but coming after a strong single like Ready or Not is a little dampening, especially since Top of the World sort of sounds like Ready or Not....which left me to question whether or not it was a conscious decision. The Fall Song is one of the standout tracks for me. Mendler's vocals are probably her best here, with a mid-tempo track and a Lily Allen jazzy-pop synth background melody.
Mendler then takes us down the soul / hip-hop route in the backend of the album, like Love Will Tell Us Where To Go. Drum-heavy Rocks at the Window paints a similar window-framed picture as Taylor Swift's You Belong With Me, but horrendously went into an anthemic chant spelling out "throwing rocks at my window", which just did not cut it.
Honestly, with the industry dominated by Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato and Cher Lloyd at the moment, it's really going to be quite hard for a breakout artist to pit herself against the pop princesses, even with a pretty solid album like Hello My Name Is... but I'm really enjoying the songs on here, and will be on the lookout for Bridgit Mendler in the next year or so. She could just surprise us.
Track Cuts: Ready or Not, The Fall Song, 5:15, Hurricane