Tori Kelly has grown up a lot since Simon Cowell told her to take a hike on American Idol in 2010. She committed to having platinum blonde locks, adopted an urban/pop sound, and gained a confidence most young women would kill for. On her latest album, Unbreakable Smile, Tori walks us through her new life full of positivity, strength, and of course love. Anyone aware of Tori’s career thus far knows that she isn’t afraid of putting herself in front of an audience. She began posting videos to Youtube at age 14, moved forward to the Hollywood round of American Idol at 18, and at 20 produced her entire EP, Handmade Songs by Tori Kelly, in her bedroom. That EP hit the top 10 on iTunes for Pop Albums. Her unstoppable personality has helped her gain success but with the current Urban/Pop market growing like never before can she compete?
The single, Nobody Love, has been popular since its release in February of this year. However like the entire album this track shows off some of her “genre confusion”. The overall delivery of “Nobody Love” is shaky and often tries too hard to portray Tori as something she isn’t. “Unbreakable Smile”, however, is a bit more realistic. It shows off her ability to cross genres while being fun and even bubbly. If that was the single chosen Tori would have given us a taste of something fresh this summer. Instead, she faded into the sea of young women looking to play in both pop and hip hop radio stations but end up sounding the same.
Other hits on the album include “Expensive”, “I Was Made For Loving You” (Ft. Ed Sheeran), and “Talk”. The production on these tracks is outstanding and, unfortunately, outshine Tori on occasion. Even though she is a very vocally gifted young woman she often falls flat lyrically. Most of the songs chosen for this album can be pulled off by her shining delivery however it is hard to look past lyrics such as the start of “California Lovers”.
Dancing in the sand at the bonfire
We jamming out to Marley at night, uh
Staying up to watch every sunrise
Just living like we ain’t gonna die
Lyrically average tracks like The Art Of Letting You Go, City Dove, California Lovers, and First Heartbreak could have easily been cut. The rest of the album gives us a glimpse into her powerful talent but still sound like someone looking for their sound. With more development, experience, and writing she will be a force to reckoned with. In the mean time tracks like “Unbreakable Smile” show off everything that is so beautiful about Tori Kelly.