Nicki Minaj/Macy Gray
Both Badder Than Donna Summer, and in Such Different Ways
Nicki Minaj: Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded: Deluxe Edition (Cash Money/Universal Republic)
Since the positive and negative reviews say pretty much the same thing, we can agree that this is an overstuffed, musically manipulative, thematically directionless bid to put the pink-haired alien on the singles charts until Katy Perry absconds to rehab. She isn't "the female Weezy" or some ill-defined male alter ego. She's an aspiring and most likely inevitable pop queen who raps exceptionally well, sings quite well, rhymes inconsistently but sometimes superbly, and will do anything to be rich and famous. This obviously doesn't make her a heroine. But if you enjoy contemporary pop whose market-tested blare offends both rockist philistines and IDM aesthetes, her second album is a worthwhile investment. It begins strong and, counting the three bonus tracks, ends strong. In between it tends mawkish and loud, neither of which precludes fun, especially with the right cameos. There is, however, a Chris Brown track. (Hey‑-I said anything.) A MINUS
Macy Gray: Covered (429)
Ten non-Gray songs, three comedy skits, and three brief cameos for her kids and their high school pals. The songs are all post-1980, meaning post-song‑-from the era when bands began distinguishing themselves by sound. Credit producer Hal Wilner with isolating the melodically verbal in Metallica, Radiohead, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Sublime, My Chemical Romance, and lesser lights. But 1) the high point is the opening "Here Comes the Rain Again," an anthem on the face of it that Gray wrests from Annie Lennox forever; 2) a low point is the closer from the anthemic-on-the-face-of-it Arcade Fire, a major structural mishap; and 3) an even lower point is the Metallica centerpiece, which could be my problem but I bet isn't. Casting directors should note that the comedy skits are genuinely funny; Gray should note that I'm omitting the cameos when I put this in iTunes. But both are distractions. Fun as it is to hear her do "Creep," "Teenagers," and "Smoke Two Joints," this is a bigger mess than it had to be. B PLUS
Sorry to be so silent lately. I've been busy dealing with 1. school finishing up 2. assembling the incoming staff for my newspaper and 3. a breakup followed by a successful, concentrated effort to transition her back to the state of "best friend." It's been a weird April, and turning twenty-one in three days is going to put an exclamation mark on the weirdness. But I'm back on my feet.
IDM: so-called "intelligent dance music?" I've heard that term applied to such artists as Boards of Canada, whose music has induced many a head-bob but has never once given me the urge to dance. What exactly is this IDM stuff?
The Minaj is a little too over-stuffed. I also feel, that the blend between rap, and club is too jarred. That aside, it's so easy, to play out loud on my iPhone in the office! Yes, there is so much cursing, that even I feel bad sometimes and am inclined, to turn it off. But, bar possibly the Ani DeFranco, the Madonna (hay, 99% women in my work) and The Magnetic Fields, nothing has gotten a higher response from my co-workers! Yes, it's banal fun, but it's a long album, and, even though it seems weak, melodies here are catchy as sh!t!
The songs are all post-1980, meaning post-song‑-from the era when bands began distinguishing themselves by sound.
(speaking of "Smoke Two Joints", I wonder if Xgau has ever listened to Sublime's 40 oz to Freedom - he was pretty fond of their self-titled one)
(also, I really wish Nicki hadn't re-used the title of her 1st album in the title of her 2nd one)
I never get the rave over Super Bass(even pitchfork pitched in)
but listening to RR did make me realize how great her older songs like "Right Thru Me" or "Fly" are.
Also, new poster greets!
'"Stupid Hoe" is hilarious, but it's an awful lot of venom, for the presumably washed up Li'l' Kim.'
Li'l' Kim was a bitch to her on live telly. I would have replied the same way! (Yes, there are more mature ways of doing it but still...)
Jack White's Blunderbuss
Kind of a light week for new releases with this being the most intriguing, 4.5 stars at RS is not in itself enough to make me take the plunge. The download only Mermaid Ave. III maybe my only purchase today.
Happy Birthday Michael.
I'm really glad that Sheffield said that Blunderbuss was White's best since Elephant, since that's exactly what I said while listening to it. Of course, that was just me being safe; it could easily be his best since White Blood Cells.
Every time she's heard it, my 15 year old has said, without fail "um...when Macy Gray sings it, that's not a 'silly' place!"
And Idris Elba sounds utterly fabulous for somebody who can't really sing.
Late to the "Exile" dance-but here's my two cents-
in its entirety it's a colossus- there is a dense atmosphere that is almost suffocatingly decadent- yet if you break it down song by song-the Stones have written better-"Exile" is sort of like a stunning woman -ain't the same in the morning but who wouldn't want to spend the night?
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.