With the release of her long-awaited debut album, Dondria vs. Phatfffat, Dondria Fields has officially gone from Internet sensation to big-time R&B recording artist. The album, released in the U.S. on Aug. 17, 2010, is filled with safe, relatively wholesome urban pop songs that range from thrilling, such as the first single, "You're the One," to boring, like the chastity anthem "Saving Myself." The full album proves that Dondria has the vocal skills to be a successful R&B artist for years to come, but she definitely needs to develop a stronger, more interesting persona so that she doesn't seem so bland.
Talented, But Raw
"You're the One" is by far the album's best song; it's vocally, musically and lyrically stronger than any of the other material on Dondria vs. Phatfffat
, and her squeaky-clean tale of true love manages to showcase her vocal strengths well. The same can't be said for the following song, "Saving Myself," however; "Saving Myself" is a bland ode to devotion to the love of one's life, and although the sentiment is sweet, the lyrics sound like they were written by a puppy-love struck 10th grader: "I got so many boys around the world who wanna love me, but I won't let 'em 'cause I know what I wanna do - it's true - and I don't care what nobody thinks, I'm savin' myself for you," she sings delicately, but somewhat awkwardly.
Dondria - or perhaps it's her alter ego, Phatfffat - displays some versatility on a couple of high energy hip-hop flavored songs; the seductive "Shawty Wusup," which features singer-songwriter Johnta Austin and female rapper Diamond; and "Where Did We Go Wrong," which was produced by her mentor and discoverer, super-producer Jermaine Dupri. But she songs downright silly when she blandly and unconvincingly proclaims that "the art of making love is a serious thing" on the spoken word intro to "Making Love," a supposedly grown-up song that lacks the emotional depth that a more experienced singer could have probably brought to the song.
The good news is that she sounds equally good on both the ballads and faster-paced tracks, for the most part. And overall, despite it's problems, the album is a nice showcasing of a raw, but talented newcomer.