'Forward' exemplifies Brown's drive and determination
Although she did not make the finals on the fifth season of FOX's hit show 'American Idol,' Ayla Brown struck a chord with many Americans due to her immense talent, both vocally and athletically. Ayla finished 13th, being beat out by Melissa McGhee for the final female spot in the Top 12. Though she undoubtedly deserved to go further, it seems things have worked out quite nicely regardless.
'Forward' is littered with ballads, Radio Disney-esque pop hits and soulful tracks. Considering the album was recorded in one a week, it is amazing to see what has transpired over the past few months. Of course the highlight of the album is Ayla's voice, which is enough to make any song amazing.
1) "Know You Better" (8.5/10) A cover off of UK popstar Ruby Amanfu's 2002 album 'Smoke and Honey,' "Know You Better" is a great track to start off the album. It's catchy, fun and very radio-friendly. I think the bridge could have been re-written, but it works regardless.
2) "If I Was a River" (9/10) Originally written for Tina Arena by Grammy Award-winning songwriter Diane Warren, "If I Was a River" is truly an underrated song. This ballad shows off Ayla's range, as she magnificently reaches some high notes near the end of the song.
3) "Sugah" (7/10) Another cover, "Sugah" again was originally sung by Ruby Amanfu. Though it is uptempo, this song sounds a little dated. It's fun and poppy, just not one of the standouts for me.
4) "I Quit" (6.5/10) A cover of the British girl band Hepburn, this is one of my least favorite tracks. This is the one song where Ayla's vocals are stretched too thin, especially during the chorus. It sounds like a second-string Kelly Clarkson song. Again the bridge is lackluster, as it is filled with 'da da da da''s instead of lyrics.
5) "Forward" (10/10) This is my favorite song on the album. The lyrics are meaningful, and Ayla sings with such passion. The gospel choir in the bridge adds a great feeling of emotion. This could be a huge hit at adult contemporary radio.
6) "Breaking Away" (6/10) My least favorite track on the album. Although the song takes a unique approach and tries to be different by including basketball-themed sound effects, it doesn't do much for me. It's a fun song and it shows the connection to Ayla's basketball talents, but it does nothing to showcase her range and instead sounds as if it were to come straight out of a Disney Chanel original movie.
7) "Falling Into You" (9.5/10) "Falling Into You" completes the album for me. Ayla sounds amazing on this R&B-tinged cut, and it has 'hit' written all over it. It is everything radio is looking for, and is one of the most contemporary songs on 'Forward.' Hearing what Ayla can do with this kind of material, I hope she further pursues R&B in the future. Also, the fact that Ayla co-wrote this is quite a feat in itself.
8) "Thanks to You" (8/10) Also co-written by Ayla, "Thanks to You" is the most personal song on the album. The song is a 'thank you' note to all those who have supported Ayla, including her family, friends and fans. The sentimentality of the song overrides the clichéd lyrics, and the melody is pretty catchy.
9) "Miles Away" (8.5/10) The simplicity of "Miles Away" is refreshing. In an era where overproduction of tracks is as common as Dunkin' Donuts messing up your coffee, it's nice to hear a song that lets the artist's vocals do the talking. Ayla proves she can hold her own with limited assistance and the finished product is a testament to what true talent can accomplish.
10) "Ten Cent Wings" (8.5/10) The album's final cover, "Ten Cent Wings," is similar to "Miles Away" in that it is not over-produced, which is a plus. The piano accompaniment adds to the rawness of the song.
11) "Forward (Unplugged)" - 10/10 - The most basic song on the album, it is also the most impressive. Untouched by any enhancements, this version of "Forward" is nothing short of amazing. I'd like to see other artists Ayla's age try to pull this off. Just beautiful.
As you can see, I'm impressed with Ayla's first studio effort. Yes, there are both high and low points on 'Forward,' but realistically, is there any album that doesn't have them? I truly think we will all get to look back on this album one day and marvel at the fact that Ayla was able to pull this off despite having little formal vocal training. Ayla can move 'Forward' from this.
Forward is the best song that i've ever heard
This album is a good start in a career that is going to be very long and successful. The song forward is one of the best songs that i have ever heard, The vocals are great and this song touches my heart. Ayla is going to be a superstar. Keep up the good work you are very talented and i can't wait for a new album i will be the first to buy it on Itunes.