inserted itself firmly in the upper echelon of Billboard's "Hot
100"--and listeners' brains.
weeks ago, U2 shot back into the American Top 10 with their new
album, "All That You Can't Leave Behind." However, it was a
different Irish act that truly had the world buzzing: 17-year-old
hottie Samantha Mumba. Her debut CD "Gotta Tell You" has
barely made a ripple on the album chart, but the title track
a recent Billboard Magazine article, Mumba protests classification
among the current "teen queens" so often referenced in this
column, but the evidence seems irrefutable. More Britney Spears than
Spears herself on tracks like "Gotta Tell You" and
"What's It Gonna Be" (which also makes one think back to
TLC's "Waterfalls"), this lass nevertheless taps
convincingly into the sound of American music's popular youth
movement. And she does so without sounding stale or trite--or
venturing into lyrical territory too sexual for her age.
her "influences" weren't the current crop of teens, as she
claims, but her vocals on some tracks seem to give a nod to Monica
and Brandy, both barely out of their teens. Likewise, she pays
tribute to teen trio Divine by (beautifully) covering their 1999 #1
the comparison to her contemporaries is inevitable, and that's a
fact Mumba has to face. Black, Irish girl or not, she specializes in
uptempo pop confections--albeit very, very likeable ones. To her
credit, Mumba blends the best qualities of any number of her teen
predecessors, and, by cowriting six of 12 tracks on the disc, she
takes a step beyond.
already topped European charts, "Gotta Tell You" places
Mumba on the cusp of stardom and makes her a bona-fide contender to
wrestle Destiny's Child from America's pole position in the coming
weeks. (Those of you contemplating the sweaty 3-on-1 encounter,
please get your mind out of the gutter and back on topic. Besides,
the girl is underage!)
"Gotta Tell You" (the single) runs its course, Mumba will
find no shortage of follow-up material. With very few exceptions,
every track is infectious and radio-friendly. From "Body II
Body," which borrows from David Bowie, to "Always Come Back
to Your Love" and "Baby Come Over," Mumba and company
have packed the disc full of quality, pumpin' jams that can--and
will--win radio programmers and widespread listener approval in a second.
Samantha Mumba is the talk of the charts
proof that she's here on a mission, Mumba taps ever-fresh
writer/producer Teddy Riley for "The Boy." Painfully
current, and begging for instant attention, this cut is so hot it can
barely wait for next spring--when its pulsating bassline and tasty
delivery will blast from every teen's open window and passing car.
Meant to Be," a ballad cowritten by Mumba, likewise has
"hit" written all over it. The glossy production and
touching vocals and lyrics combine for a smash reminiscent to a cross
between Brandy's "Have You Ever" and Tiffany's
"Could've Been" (Yes, Tiffany. Dig, folks. You remember
her.). This one will solidify Mumba as a star and pull her to the
forefront of the pack.
Mumba is poised and ready to take a place at the head of her class.
Rest assured, though. It's going to be the undeniable likeability and
personality of this effort and the youngster--not the luck of the
Irish--that puts her there.
here to purchase Samantha's