Album Review: Corina Corina – “The Eargasm”
Brooklyn-based, Bay Area-bred R&B singer Corina Corina released her full-length, debut album, “The Eargasm“, on November 13th, 2012. The 14-tracks, plus one bonus track (a cover of D’Angelo’s “Me and Those Dreamin’ Eyes of Mine”), were mostly produced by Willie Green, but also featured production from Steel Tipped Dove, Dirt E. Dutch, Has-Lo, and Urban Miracle.
Up until the release, we posted a few songs of hers, such as “Obsessed” and the video for “The Familiar“. If those were a good idea of what you were going to get with “The Eargasm“, then you’re in for a real treat.
She has a sweet voice (and is versatile with it), and the way she sounds on her album is exactly how she sounds when performing. No studio alterations are required on her voice; that’s a true singer. In this album, she shows contrasting feelings of vulnerability and great strength. This is an excellent debut album, that shows off her super song-writing skills, lyric stylings, and vocal range. Corina‘s themes circle around gender inequality, self-empowerment, love, life’s ups and down, and more. The only other vocal appearance comes from rapper Eagle Nebula. Check out my review below, then download the album for FREE!
The album starts with “The Familiar“, a song where she sings over an electro, synth-drenched beat about her roots in California. The love of where she comes from. I’ll be honest, when I first heard this song a few months ago, I didn’t really like it. It took a couple of listens for me to really enjoy it, and I’ve grown to really like it. I find myself singing the chorus from time to time, and I’m not even from California. This transitions into the uplifting song, “The Good Life“, where she celebrates positivity and life. Despite what she may be missing, she’s happy with what she has and looks ahead. The hook is catchy, where she also hits some falsetto notes. “It feels good to be alive // It feels good to be alive // It feels good to be, it feels good to be living the good life“.
Pulsating with hand-claps, hi-hat taps, and crunchy synths, “Love Love Love” finds a blessed Corina showing appreciation and love to everything from family, Biggie, Tupac, Hieroglyphics, Wu-Tang Clan, Eric Clapton, Jazz, Blues, the nightlife, hips, love of self, and beyond. Joining in on the love is Eagle Nebula, rapping on the last verse.
Clocking in at 1:31 in length, “Express Train” is a short song about breaking free from the work life and having fun. It’s a playful tune before a couple more serious tracks.
With a retro backbone of air breathing into “Obsessed“, the beat is made up with a delicate violin, a cello, and pounding snares. Corina gives us an emotionally, strung-out character, where she desperately craves that love and passion that will get her high. Declining food, money, and other essentials, she displays the true symptoms of an addict. There’s a raw vulnerability and sexuality in her vocals that I really like. “I’m obsessed, need to get lifted // I’m a mess, must be addicted // I need a fix“. One of my favorite songs on the album.
“We look in the mirror fresh out the shower // Judging ourselves, can’t see our power // Crippled by the fear of rejection // Being lead in the wrong direction.” Touching on self-esteem issues, “Wrong Direction” finds Corina singing about all of us ladies who are lead to believe that we aren’t adequate enough unless we fit a particular mold. From the constant comparing, the insecurities, and the extremes that women will subject themselves to, to feel beautiful. Things such as tanning, skin bleaching, surgery, and so on. Corina lends strength and positivity, as she urges us all to not be lead in the wrong direction. “And, if we’re sexy, that’s all that they will see // And, with each other, they want us to compete // Skinny girls feel ugly, ’cause they’re not curvy // Thick girls feel ugly, for being healthy // We go on diets, while they get wealthy // A dress size will never make you happy.” Another favorite.
“Cost of Living” applies the real world economic issues that people face every day to this song. The struggle, the hard working hustle, the debt, and doing everything in your power to stay afloat. I love all the notes that she hits in this song, particularly those soft, high ones. From the lyrics, to the song setup, to the beat, to the vocals… beautiful song. “They sure do make it hardest, to be an artist.”
Another one of my favorite songs from this album is what follows next. For “Royalty“, Corina sings alongside a stunning piano composition, played by Dan Costello. This is another song where she possesses a powerful, and beautiful, fragility. This song finds her in a broken, emotional state, singing about a struggling and damaging relationship. “In the mirror, not sure who I am anymore // Did I really say that? // How quickly I am to react // My heart turning black // You still beat in living color // We’ve turned into enemies // How did we stop being lovers // When does it all get easy // The way my momma always told me // Where’s the one she said would complete me // I love you hard and so deeply // But, now you’re just making me crazy, over nothing // Treat each other badly // We’re both royalty, royalty, royalty // You brought out the best in me // But, lately, you bring out the worst…”
“Head Over Heels” is another short track, an interlude, where speaks about taking care of herself first, and making sure that she jumps into a relationship for the right reasons. Wish this was a little longer, but it’s cool.
“I’ve moved on, kind of, not really // Some days, I even feel happy.” In an attempt to reach out and mend communication, Corina sends off an open-letter to an ex. “Dear Amy” reminisces on the past–the good and the bad memories. It finds Corina accepting fault, apologizing, and reassuring her that the love was real. The production on this is great, too. The piano keys, the boom bap drums, and soulful guitar plucks (played by Jesse O’Neill).
Production switch-up! “OD Love” breaks what’s expected, with a clash between electronic soul and elements of that wub-wub-wub dubstep sound. She bounces back and forth between singing and rapping. I’m on the fence with this one. The production is good, the singing vocals are good, but I only like portions of the raps. I think it’s just the rapping hook that I’m not diggin’ much (“You’re like my muse, my drug…“). Other than that, the forward-thinking with this track is cool.
“Not ready to throw in the towel yet // Don’t wanna look back with regret // Then, I hear my father’s voice in my head // He never looked at me with judgement // He just left me with five simple words // Baby, don’t sell yourself short.” She picks up where she left off, on a good foot, with “Baby Don’t Sell Yourself Short. This soulful song is all about persistence and knowing your worth. Really feelin’ it.
Willie Green offers up an industrial, electro-pop beat for “Birds“. Soaring at great heights, this songbird sings of moving on, leaving the past in the past, and freedom. It’s a song that I would listen to to heal, or lift heartache. In fact, I sent this song to one of my best friends, in hopes that it makes her smile. “I’m Free” floats in a similar vein, as far as the topic goes. The beat is a little more mechanic.
The bonus track, “Me and Those Dreamin’ Eyes of Mine“, is a Max Caddy cover of D’Angelo’s song. Max Caddy is an acoustic duo between Corina and Jesse O’Neill. Beautiful song. Jesse on guitar and back-up vocals. I’ve had this song on repeat for the last 15 minutes.
In short, this album is spectacular. There were a few things I didn’t like, but I really enjoyed the album–she’s a breath of fresh air in music. When our magazine comes out, you can bet that this is in my “Best of 2012” list. Dope work, Corina! Everyone reading this, do yourself the pleasure of streaming and downloading “The Eargasm” for free.
Favorite songs include: “Obsessed”, “Wrong Direction”, “Cost of Living”, “Royalty”, “Dear Amy”, “Baby Don’t Sell Yourself Short”, “Birds”, and “Me and Those Dreamin’ Eyes of Mine”.