Katerina Alexandre Hartford Graham, more commonly known as Kat Graham, is an American actress, model, dancer and singer. She is probably most well known for her role as Bonnie Bennett on The CW supernatural drama series The Vampire Diaries, but other acting credits include The Parent Trap, 17 Again and All Eyez on Me. Most relevant to this review, Kat Graham (who has also started releasing music under the name, Toro Gato) is an incredibly talented musician. While I remember I’ve also had the pleasure of reviewing music from Graham’s fellow Vampire Diaries alum, Malese Jow, which you can check out here. Today, however, I will be reviewing her album ‘Love Music Funk Magic’ which was released on June 2nd 2017.
‘All Your Love’ opens with a nice, synthy, heavy bass beat that blends out to a nice funky melody, and Graham’s voice works perfectly with this; she has a depth to her voice that blends well with the high energy, smooth flow of the track as a whole. I particularly liked the balance between the faster and slower vocal deliveries, she goes from a compact more high tempo delivery to something that is a little slower and melodic. The result is a really strong opening track.
‘Sometimes’ opens with a tremendous vocal section blended with tooting fanfare and another heavy backing beat. Graham’s voice works really well with a strong, bass driven melody. And we really get to see a greater range and skill to her voice in this song. I like that despite the very busy instrumental section, her voice isn’t overwhelmed, instead the entire track has a really strong flow and it’s catchy, it’s exactly the type of song that’ll get stuck in your head.
‘Fool For Ya’ shakes things up enough, a groovy beat, underlaid beneath a percussive rhythm, and again I am amazed by the depth and range of her voice. She injects a sultry, huskiness to this performance that both takes my breath away and totally works with the melody, in particular the horns interlaced throughout.
‘Time = $’ has a synth driven, percussive intro, heavy, but the lead in is slow and it builds, you get caught up in the loop. This is a song I can practically guarantee will stick in your head. It’s not just that it’s a good track, but it’s got a great beat, and Graham’s lyrics are passionate and have a confrontational vibe to them that really work for the track.
‘Compromise (Interlude)’ is short but breaks up this first part of the album nicely, I don’t have a great lot to say about it but I’m weirdly fond of these esoteric inserts that artists will occasionally include in their work.
‘Magic’ opens with synthy horns that I really enjoyed. I liked the almost mournful note to them, which works considering that this song has a sad edge to it. Like with ‘Time = $’ I cannot imagine this not getting stuck in your head. It’s also easily a stand out track, on what’s already shaping up to be an incredible album. I think this song is also fairly different from the past couple of tracks, changing things up after the interlude. I like when you can have that shifting tone and energy through an album while still having an overall body of music that works together as a whole.
‘Just Luv Me’ kicks things off fast, with a superb, quick fire bass driven melody that blends in percussion as it just explodes forward. This track has a lot of intensity, and I particularly enjoyed the little vocals add ons that kick in around 40 seconds in, they have a choral quality and really flesh out an already impressive number.
‘Can’t Get Enough’ has a discordant opening, which I’m always in favour of, the tonal elements a little jarring, even as the heavier percussive beats begin to flesh out a more conventional melody. And wow this track is tremendous. I could listen to Kat Graham’s voice for hours, she has a rich quality to her vocals that really set her apart as a performer.
‘St Regis (Interlude)’ is another interesting interlude, and again you really get a flavour for Graham’s personality and rich, sultry voice.
‘What The Funk’ explodes forward, a high energy track, with a strong percussive undercurrent that really livens it up. There’s nothing to fault about this number, it has an invigorating presence and it’s a relentlessly energetic track that still manages to blend in the more chilled out, psychedelic guitar stylings that are indicative of the funk era of music.
‘A Lot Of Werq (Interlude)’ is an even shorter interlude and again, I think I like it cause it’s just a little strange.
‘Koolaid Man’ is a really great track, and I’m glad because I would have been disappointed if I didn’t like a song called ‘Koolaid Man’. All I can say is, did I like it…Oh Yeah! Bad jokes aside, it’s a really beat driven song, and you just get swept along with it.
‘Call Da Police’ is a little different once again, it has a reggae infused style to it, and it’s good to hear Graham stretch herself and experiment throughout this album. I’ve honestly been continually impressed throughout this album, with Graham’s sheer vocal strength, and her ability to switch things up.
‘Lover’ is the final track on what has been an impressive album, and it slows things down, things get soft and slow, and it works both to close things out and as a track overall. It’s not too subdued though, it has a nice beat to it, one that you can just enjoy as it flows over you.
So that’s what I thought of Kat Graham’s album ‘Love Music Funk Magic’ and if you want to check that out then head on over to Spotify. While you’re at it, make sure and support the artist by checking out her website and by following her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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