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
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!
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?
'After Kanye stopped making soul music, he turned into a white man.'
Even if this quote is accurate, it's one of the most stupid things I have heard about Kanye. So, there probably are stereotypical ways, in which a white man makes music, but why does anything like that matter, if the music is great? I hear things like this a lot, and it's dumb, obviously; it's just pure racism for no reason. I mean, does this mean black people should make lazy, sh!t music and white people visa versa? Short answer is: no.
Edit: A doi, people! I didn't say black people are lazy. I meant: Kanye works so hard, and, invariably, produces so much great stuff (not saying everything is correlated like that). It's, like, no, don't work too hard, because that's what white people do. Or, was he referring to Kanye's style/flow? Thinking about it more, probably yes. But, why do rappers have, to be street to be good? Short answer is: That's a f'ing stupid ideology.
'"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...)
I think "Teenage Dream"'s opening riff is irresistible.
But Katy Perry is too serious of acting as a dumb regulation hottie right now,
its a shame considering she first popped up as a us version of Lily Allen.
PS I‘m still not sure about the Donna Summer reference,
is it because she is as genre-hopping as Nicki and Macy?
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.
'Of course, there are some (like our host) who feel Elephant is his weakest.'
Technically (by grade), don't you mean Consolers of the Lonely/Under Great White Northern Lights? (Not that it matters, really.)
(also, I really wish Nicki hadn't re-used the title of her 1st album in the title of her 2nd one)
it's not entirely Katy's fault generic Christian c0cktease is the lucrative niche she fell naturally into
(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)
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.
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.