Enrique Iglesius featuring Ludacris & DJ Frank E—”Tonight (I’m Fucking You)”
Thanks to Cee-Lo Green, “fuck” appears to be the word of the moment, and Iglesius has as much right to it as any, I suppose. But with his soft, sensitive, sometimes wispy loverman voice, he doesn’t sound all that convincing, and Ludacris is just cashing a check. DJ Frank E, however, engages in some serious fucking with the listeners’ ears. Those random-seeming synthesizer swoops and giggles are the sole reason to pay any real attention to this record. They start to sound calculated after a while, but they liven things up nonetheless.
“Mary You”, #32
“Just the Way You Are”, #40
“Dark Fantasy” (featuring Teyana Taylor, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver), #60
“All Of the Lights”, #92
I’m still making up my mind about “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”. There are great things on it, and West has created an interesting amalgam of his earlier style and the stuff he experimented with on his last two albums. There’s no doubt the result is challenging (which is why I still haven’t made up my mind), but I’m not sure it’s as great as people make it out to be. For one thing, it seems to relate the same basic idea over and over again, and then drag out the tracks in ways that don’t always expand the idea so much as minutely modify it. And sometimes it sounds as clunky as the title. I love the chorus on “Dark Fantasy” and how the choir is both beautiful and ragged at the same time, and “All Of the Lights” is so perfect in its structure and lyrical detail that I feel like a jerk for complaining of its obscure message. But for some reason these songs, and the album as a whole, aren’t coming together for me. Maybe they’re not intended to, but that doesn’t mean it’s a success, either.
Diddy – Dirty Money featuring Skylar Grey—”Coming Home
I know it would be more expensive, but if you’re going to cut a track that’s a straight stylistic rip-off of T.I. and Kanye West, shouldn’t you invite them to contribute a verse or two?
Christina Aguilera—”Show Me How You Burlesque”
For me, the intro to this record epitomizes everything that’s wrong with Aguilera. She not only oversings, but overthinks her oversinging. What’s worse, the lyrics have no music or poetry to them, they’re lifeless hunks of words designed solely for Aguilera to belt. The rest is a little better, but not much. Whatever this is, though, it isn’t burlesque. Burlesque is all about the tease; this is the equivalent of some two-bit hot mama thrusting her cleavage into your face and shouting “Does that turn you on, baby?!”
Keri Hilson—”Pretty Girl Rock”
Reviewed in Bubbling Under, 11/28/10
David Guetta featuring Rihanna—”Who’s That Chick?”
Bearable for Guetta, mid-level for Rihanna. I do like it’s classic disco vibe: it could be the theme song for some cheesy early-eighties romantic comedy. Though now that I think about it, that’s not much of a compliment, is it?
Nicki Minaj featuring Rihanna—”Fly”
Did I compare Minaj to Cyndi Lauper? Maybe I meant Journey.
Bruno Mars—”Marry You”
It’s irresistible records like this that make you think Mars’s career might amount to something after all. Not only is the music catchy and good-humored, but for the first time since “Nothin’ On You” the lyrics are a perfect match. That’s possibly because he’s not trying to say anything too romantic or serious, which only convinces you that he loves the girl even more. This is so good I don’t even mind that it only made the charts because it was featured on Glee. OK, I do mind, but what the hell.
Ke$ha—”Crazy Beautiful Life”
More homilies and affirmations for drunk party girls. How much you wanna bet the next album includes a ballad?
Billy Currington—”Let Me Down Easy”
Reviewed in Bubbling Under, 11/28/10
Reviewed in Bubbling Under, 11/21/10
Nicki Minaj featuring Drake—”Moment 4 Life”
Minaj is a talent, but all the evidence points to her having already betrayed it. I haven’t heard Pink Friday yet, but as I understand it half the album is made up of this kind of dreck (which Minaj would rhyme with Drake if she had any sense). Even if it was a better record, though, the simple fact is that this and “Fly” are only making the charts because of the names of the guests. What a depressing business.
The mix of brass and electronic fuzz might be interesting if they were actually mixed instead of being consigned to different sections. But that wouldn’t make it a decent song, or prevent Aguilera from shouting to the rooftops.