Published Sep 21, 2014Swedish-American singer Mapei made a name for herself last year when her single "Don't Wait" got the multiple remix and added features treatment from the likes of Chance The Rapper and Giraffage. That song also inaugurates Mapei's debut album, Hey Hey, but what immediately follows bears little resemblance to the 2013 single. Instead we're treated to five sequential overly upbeat and unremarkable pop songs. Of those, Mapei's second single, "Change," is the only one with some redeeming elements.
Then, just when you think you've gotten a good, albeit disappointed sense of what this album is about, Hey Hey takes a dramatic turn. "Second To None" is a haunting, trunk-rattling, backpacker-endearing raw rap record that will have you suspecting you accidentally left the shuffle option on. That unsuspected edginess continues with "Step Up," an anthem reminiscent of early Kelis material. Even the gritty synth-heavy "What's Innit 4 Me" succeeds where the earlier pop songs like "Come On Baby" fell flat. Mapei's eclecticism is never in question on Hey Hey, but much of that comes at the expense of a clear focus. Sequencing is this album's greatest enemy. There are some gems here, but you'll have to dig deep for them. (Downtown)