Album review
What'z Next
Mark Shine
Upflite Records
21 - 10 - 2003

Tracking list

  1. Crazy
  2. Whatz Next
  3. Love Clash feat. Leon and KB
  4. No Puedo Olvidarla
  5. Gal Dem
  6. Zoom Zoom feat. Kewin 'KP' Pierre
  7. Fancy Gal feat. Kewin 'KP' Pierre
  8. Take Me To Jamaica
  9. Forgive Me
  10. Believe In Yourself
  11. Four Dayz Of A Lifetime
  12. Inequality
  13. Take Me To Jamaica (acoustic version)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 3/4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 3

Mark Shine, who was born as Mark Lowe in Jamaica, the country he represented in 1991 at the Carribean Broadcasting Union's song festival, now living New York after several years spent in Mexico, considering himself a bilingual singjay, delivers his third album. Not exactly in what is normally seen as singjay style, but showcasing his definition of singjay: able to sing smooth and able to deejay as well. His first albums were "It's True" and "Reggae Latin Romance", the latter a compilation of classical Spanish love songs done to a reggae beat. His current release features also the tune "Gal Dem" that gave him a buzz in the Hispanic market in New York, as well as the opener "Crazy" the first single he released and promoted in his homeland Jamaica as well. On "Crazy", and "Whatz Next" one is immediately drawn to the resemblence of his vocals to those of the great UK-singer Maxi Priest, who is also known to cross the borders between reggae and R&B/soul, and that's exactly what Mark Shine does too. He has a fine voice, and uses it to full effect combination-style on the next track "Love Clash" over a "Real Rock" riddim. On "No Puedo Olvidarla" he shows his DJ-skills in a Spanish rap. "Gal Dem" is a more straightforward NY-dancehall tune, with a nice bounce. On both "Zoom Zoom" and "Fancy Gal" St.Lucian Soca/Calypso artist Rootsy Pierre is featured on two party tracks, the first in a more 'other carribean' faster tempo, and the second with a slower bouncy ragga riddim. "Take Me To Jamaica" is a balladish tribute with again that Maxi Priest-ish voice, just a bit too soft-styled backing but great singing, and the lyrics could have fewer common-places as could the song have done without the guitar-solo. "Forgive Me" is even more soft-soul styled, and the riddim is even more American, but his vocals once again shine (pun intended). "Believe In Yourself" is a nice song in Maxi's style about being positive. His current single "Four Dayz Of A Lifetime" is too much R&B-ballad styled for me, after which a fine straightforward reggae song with a conscious message "Inequality" is delivered. An acoustic reprise of "Take Me To Jamaica" closes this CD. If you like your reggae with a softsoul touch, and if you like Maxi Priest's voice, you should definitely check the soundsamples at "Mark Shine's website"