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First Love

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Album Review

Like Keke Palmer and Tiffany Evans, Dominican-American singer Karina (last name Pasian) is an antidote to fellow young female artists who value objectification over respect (or believe the two things are synonymous). The material on her debut, First Love — following a successful run on Star Search and a bidding war between Bad Boy, Interscope, and victor Def Jam — is age-appropriate, a rare thing from a teenaged major-label artist in 2008. Karina does not merely steer clear from language and subjects that would make a parent cringe; "16 @ War," a collaboration with Tricky Stewart and the-Dream, is a somber anthem that is almost processional in nature, with each line carrying weight, from "Ain't no daddies where I'm from, there's just mad mothers" to "To him I'm just a transaction." Most of the album deals in heartache and being in love, but Karina handles her suitors in ways that would make any mother proud. Take "Slow Motion," a pro-abstinence song that might have more of an effect than the average parent-child talk: "Don't wanna mess with your pride/The question's not when but why." Her maturity level is nearly a fault; First Love is nothing if not a serious album. Even during the few boisterous productions, she seems to be keeping herself in check to make sure she is not having too much fun, like she's in a hurry to be considered an adult artist who is above making a pop record — an area where she could have taken cues from Palmer and Evans. Still, the album is as needed as Palmer's So Uncool and Tiffany Evans — proud and smart, real and relatable, packed with substance.

Biography

Born: Caracas, Venezuela

Genre: Latino

Years Active: '00s

Venezuelan pop singer Karina's debut came in 1985 with the release of her first album, called Amor a Millón, produced by Rudy La Scala. Soon the enthusiastic young artist captured local attention, allowing her to make her following records, Sin Mascara in 1987 and Desde Mi Sueño in 1989, and get the song "Zapatos De Tacón Alto" climbing on the charts, as well as getting a role in the TV series Alba Marina. After issuing 1993's Esta Es Mi Vida, the singer decided to take a break. In 1996, Karina returned...
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First Love, Karina
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