Paragraph Reviews 11/17/10

Music, Movies, Television, etc.  Pop culture reviews for the short-attention-span Internet age.

Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday

Call it a case of the hype machine, but upon several initial listens, it would seem Nicki gave away her best verses to other people’s songs.  Certainly we are asking too much if we expected the album to be more “Roman’s Revenge” and less “Your Love” – and that is something (albeit a disappointing fact) that I’m willing to overlook.  The production is slick, the melodies are catchy, and Minaj has a great singing voice.  So what if the finished product is a little too soft R&B and less manic schizo rapping?  Nicki has many faces; the first impression was obviously just one of many styles.  But the rhymes on this album do not live up to Minaj’s past work on tracks by Diddy, Trey Songz, Kanye, etc.  The cadence is samey, the words are lazily repetitive, the dead air is filled by stuttering, and the unwritten law of rap is violated many times (the one that says you can’t rhyme a word with the same word….it’s the same word).  Pink Friday will be a moderate success, but it’s not strong enough of a debut to give Nicki the promotion from “featured” to “standalone” artist.

Rating: 6

Two more after the jump…

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Let’s get the obvious out of the way – we all know Kanye is an ego-maniacal douche who makes us cringe every time his stupid mouth opens with no backing track to support it.  The recent Bush vs. West saga was a battle of two over-publicized idiots seeing whose dick was bigger.  Nobody’s coming to Yeezy’s defense over his ridicule of Taylor Swift (even though he basically made her career….oh yeah, and he was correct).  With that out of the way, let’s talk about Kanye the artist – probably the most ambitious one in popular music today.  How do you follow up the Auto-Tune experiment that was 808s and Heartbreak?  By making an elaborate “concept” album filled with orchestral flourishes, classic-rock samplings, Gil-Scott Heron speeches, and nine-minute career-making tracks that refuse to adhere to conventional song structuring.  Eventually, West’s musical genius and celebrity insanity will collide for disaster, but it doesn’t happen here; Kanye continues his hot streak of exciting hip-hop, and as long as he backs up all his shit-talking, the world will keep listening.

Rating: 8

Robyn – Body Talk (LP)

Anyone who has been following Robyn’s output this year has already heard most of Body Talk; her previous two EPs of the same name featured ten of this long-player’s tracks, while the rest have been leaked at some point this fall.  Still, hearing all of these solid tracks in one place breathes new life into them, giving a song like “Dancing On My Own” (leaked way back in May) a refreshing feel alongside other powerhouse club hits like “Indestructible” and “Hang With Me.”  Robyn works repeating to her favor, incorporating hooks to relentless loops that shockingly never grow old (“Stars 4 Ever”), while maintaining her trademark production mix of space-age Euro pop.  Hard to believe this progressive dancing queen was the same Swedish flash-in-the-pan that gave us these pieces of late 90’s candy.

Rating: 8

Leave a Reply