Already a UK top ten hit, lead single and album opener 'T-Shirt' sets the tone for the album with its pleasant, if rather plodding, midtempo R&B sound. With its twee, Jimmy Choos-referencing lyrics about lonely nights spent in your boyfriend's out-sized clothing, it's a bona fide girlie anthem. Similarly, the likes of 'Superwoman' and 'Battle Cry', the latter of which was used in Barack Obama's presidential campaign, are both perfectly agreeable, but could easily have slotted onto recent albums by Mary J Blige or Jennifer Hudson.
However, Shontelle comes into her own when she makes the most of her West Indian heritage. "Are you ready for the Bajan queen?" she asks on the soca-infused 'Roll It', which arrives five songs in. Originally penned for fellow islander Alison Hinds, and so redolent of the Caribbean that it almost transports you to blue skies, warm sun and white sands, it's easily the album's standout track. The lyrics, which advise impressionable listeners to "go to school girl and get your degree... if you know you're smart and you're sexy, never let them abuse your body", feel especially meaningful in the light of Shontelle's own life experiences.
Meanwhile, the reggae-flavoured cuts 'Flesh And Bone' and 'Life Is Not An Easy Road' turn out to be the album's next strongest offerings. The latter, with its cry of "the uprising has only just begun" and talk of inequality and prejudice fading away, certainly isn't something you can imagine Rihanna recording. However, Shontelle's social awareness isn't always on the mark, with the cringe-inducing 'Plastic People' featuring an array of lyrical howlers like "nation of the plastic people, here's the church and here's the steeple".
Crafted by a team of established hitmakers including Stargate and Evan Rogers and Carl Sturken, Shontelligence certainly has the potential to shift units in an age of disposable R&B. But considering Shontelle's high-achieving past, it's disappointing that the handful of shining moments are dimmed by a barrage of mediocrity. Still, with her strong ambition and clear determination to succeed, you wouldn't bet against her best being yet to come.