vrijdag 31 december 2010

Album Review: Nicki Minaj - Pink Friday

I was very curious as to how this album, titled Pink Friday, would turn out. I've been listening to Nicki Minaj for a few years now, and she's definitely been hyped up by the entire hip-hop world, for -what seemed to be- ages, without an album out. So this was her actual debut! And it did not disappoint. However, it may be a little too pop for your taste if you like the earlier Nicki Minaj mixtape material. I will review this album track by track, including bonus tracks. Here we go...

1. I'm The Best - This is a nice song, the hook is catchy, but I don't think it's outstanding, so the title doesn't really fit the song.
2. Roman's Revenge (featuring Eminem) - Absolutely awesome. Great concept, both Nicki and Eminem are rapping under their aliases (Roman Zolanski and Slim Shady). The track is humorous and it displays good old rhyming skills instead of just braggin' & boastin'. It's plain to see why Nicki and Eminem are such a good duo: they are both very absurd and sarcastic in their lyrical style and they are creative. It really works on this track.
3. Did It On'em - I don't see why people like this song so much. I think the beat is very boring and uncreative and the lyrics are not as good as they are made out to be. They are rather simplistic, I think, and she definitely doesn't shit on anyone in this song.
4. Right Thru Me - I love the emotions in the lyrics of this song and I like the hook. It is one of the extreme pop-songs on this album, which is not necessarily a bad thing because Nicki does show us that she can sing as well. She's not just a rapper.
5. Fly (featuring Rihanna) - I always fast-forward this track. I don't like Rihanna, that's the reason. First of all, Rihanna doesn't add anything to the track because her voice sounds a lot like Nicki's voice when she sings, so Nicki could have done the song all by herself, and second: Rihanna just annoys me. I've heard her on too many songs. Her voice is too fragile and shallow to be considered a good song. So yeah, I can't review the song any further because I don't like listening to it (and so I don't).
6. Save Me - Exact same comment as for Right Thru Me. I think those songs are much alike.
7. Moment 4 Life (featuring Drake) - On this song Nicki sounds just like Rihanna (the singing part). However, it doesn't bother me on this song because the song makes me feel invincible. I don't understand what the Drake-hype's about, his verse is lame and rappers like him come by the dozens.
8. Check It Out (featuring will.i.am) - YESSS, this is what I'm talking about! I give this track an A+, it's really awesome. The beat is hot and creative, the song is fun and Nicki's Lil' Kim diss is phenomenal: "Fuck my nemesis/ exclamation, just for emphasis/ and I don't sympathize/ cause you a simple bitch/ I just pop up on these hoes on some pimple shit/ and put the iron to your face you old wrinkled bitch".
9. Blazin' (featuring Kanye West) - I don't normally like Kanye West, but on this song he really does his thing. I love when he says "Hello all my bad girls, this just in/ Yeezy hurt the beat, like he fucked her best friend/ and she let him back in, and he just did it again/ he crazy, he blazin', he off the deep end". And Nicki raps with so much speed and precision, she definitely deserves an applause. Hot track!
10. Here I Am - Beautiful, touching, and I think the beat (by Swizz Beatz) is risky for a song with lyrics like these, yet it really works. The song exposes Nicki's deep, sad side. On her mixtapes, she never really showed her weaknesses (except for the track Autobiography on Sucka Free), but on this album she has several sensitive songs. I like it.
11. Dear Old Nicki - I don't think she's "big" enough for a song like this just yet. Most people only start listening to Nicki NOW, they don't know the old Nicki (and since most of them are little teenage girls, they won't like the old Nicki very much either), so they won't understand this song. Besides, the song reminds me too much of Trina's song U & Me, which is better in my opinion. I think this song fails to come across in the way it was intended.
12. Your Love - Very peaceful, positive and romantic song. I understand why people listen to it. Very pop, once again, and not my favorite, but it's nice.
13. Last Chance (featuring Natasha Bedingfield) - Natasha is one of Nicki's idols I think, so I think it's great so see a collaboration between them, yet it does make the song too sweet. I think a male voice on the chorus (like a man rapping along with the lyrics) would give it more edge. The song is not exciting enough for me.
14. Super Bass - "Don't you hear that boom-ba-doom-boom boom-ba-doom-boom bass?" So addictive. I love this song, it's cute.
15. Blow Ya Mind - Terrible. The song is too wild, too rough.. "What the fuck I look like" a billion times doesn't fit in with all the lollipop songs on the rest of the album. This is a flop.
16. Muny - Annoying, yet catchy. I hate it and love it at the same time. All the talk about rich girls does make Nicki seem very shallow and she seems to have lost her "swagger", but it's also sexy. I think she says "Bitches want my old shit, buy my old mixtapes", and that does make a point... You don't like it, then don't listen to it.
17. Girls Fall Like Dominoes - This is a bonus track, but it should have been the very first song on the album, because it's great and everybody will sing along with it. It is not originally Nicki's song, she 'stole' it, but umm who cares, right? It's hot, listen to this one first!
18. Wave Ya Hand - Okay, not original.
19. Catch Me - GREAT, I love the rap on this song and the fragile woman that Nicki turns into when she starts singing. Should have been on the album instead of Save Me.

Favorite songs: 2, 8, 9, 10, 14, 17 & 19.
Least favorite songs: 5, 6, 11, 13 & 15.

So, overall, the album has a few very nice guest appearances (Eminem and Kanye West), a bit too much pop, a good balance between deep and shallow songs, nice production.. It's just addictive, man! I've listened to this album 30 times already. So you should see this as an album RECOMMENDATION instead of review!

donderdag 30 december 2010

Album Review: Diddy - Dirty Money - Last Train To Paris

Puff Daddy, P. Diddy, Diddy.. Why not change it again, to Diddy - Dirty Money? This is rap's most known artist-name changing fashion icon-like millionaire. Makes sense? Well, anyway, I've never been a big fan of Diddy. But I must admit, the man knows how to create success. He has so many connections, an album featuring his befriended artists can not fail. And this one doesn't either. Diddy - Dirty Money is a group consisting of (of course) Diddy, ex-Danity Kane singer Dawn Richard and singer Kalenna. When you look at their group-pictures, the girls look almost indistinguishable, which really creates an "I'm Diddy and these are my toy-girls"-vibe.

Now, on to the album, titled Last Train To Paris. I can say it quite simple: I love it. The songs are very danceable, with nice concepts and great guest-appearances. The girls have great, warm voices. Diddy's raps can be annoying, but they fit in just fine. This, after all, is not as much quality music as it is fun-music. Music around a theme: love. The ups and downs. This album takes you on the roller coaster ride that goes along with most relationships. So, that's my general review. But of course there are better and worse songs. First, I'll list my favorite songs (in no particular order):
  • Ass On The Floor (featuring Swizz Beatz). Don't you just love to hear a woman sing "Shit, you know deep down I'll always love ya, trying to find my way back to your heart, you motherfucker". The song is about going to the club and getting real drunk to forget about the man that keeps hurting you, only to run right back to him when you're drunk enough... Sounds familiar (to me).
  • Yeah Yeah You Would (featuring Grace Jones), produced by Danja, who usually brings the heat. The song is very addictive, especially the hook. Enough said, you wanna know more, YouTube it.
  • Looking For Love (featuring Usher): OH-MY-GAWD! This is the best beat I've heard in ages (by J. Lack and Polow da Don) and the chorus fits it so well. Diddy kicks it off with a real wack rap, in which he mentions the word 'motherfucker' too often, but when Usher takes over.. No words. This song should be played only with the highest volume, and everyone should scream along with the bridge: "Hello, welcome to my table, bring your girlfriends, everything payed for, we gon' get it in, ain't that what you came for, heard you was looking for me.." It's a great song, buy the album!
  • Strobe Lights (featuring Lil' Wayne). And I don't even like Lil' Wayne. But his rhymes on this song please me and the Dirty Money-part of the group takes you to another world on the chorus. Great song.
  • I Know (featuring Chris Brown, Wiz Khalifa & Seven). Beautiful, emotional, with an easy but straightforward rap by Wiz. And I'm not gonna promote it any further because Rihanna-beater Chris Brown is on it.

Other songs worth mentioning that I really like, are Loving You No More (featuring Drake), Hello Good Morning (featuring T.I.), Yesterday (featuring Chris Brown) and Coming Home (featuring Skylar Grey).

Songs I don't like, are:
  • Your Love (featuring Trey Songz) because it bores me and because I hate it when women sing about getting their pussies licked.
  • Shades (featuring a whole lotta dudes) because I don't like Justin Timberlake and Lil' Wayne, and they ruin this song for me. Plus, I think making love in marmalade is too sticky and nasty to seriously consider, and the song doesn't make much sense because "I'll even try different things" does not sound like an enormous sacrifice you would make in order to win someone back. Sigh. Even Diddy can get TOO lame.
  • Change because it's too repetitive and Diddy can't sing.
  • Angels (featuring Notorious B.I.G. and Rick Ross). I think the beat is annoying (I didn't like the original by Jay-Z (Where I'm From) either and I think Diddy should stop trying to drag Biggie into every project he does. Big is dead. Get over it.

So yeah, in summary: the album has so many songs that the majority is still great, but there are some bad songs and some AWESOME songs. I advise you to listen to this album!

maandag 13 december 2010

Mellowdies of the Summer

Dear followers,

I'm so sorry I haven't written a blog for such a long time. I've been terribly busy, being that I'm in the last (master) year of my study. But that's no excuse, since I HAVE been listening to music, and my musical moods have been heavier than ever. I will soon start writing more blogs and recommendations, but right now I have a fun blog about some songs I want to share with you all. See, every winter for the past 3 years has for some reason elicited a huge need for summer music in me. And not 'just' summer music. No, it's a very special kind. Some of these songs are simply very mellow and relaxed, others have addictive melodies that everyone probably recognizes. The combination of these types of songs inspired the name "Mellowdies of the Summer", which is the name of a playlist I just created on iTunes. I don't want to appear as an Apple groupie, I am not, but in my opinion iTunes and iPod are two superior concepts. I'm just going to post a screenshot of my Mellowdies-playlist and I hope you all will download the songs that are in it, because you have to spread awesomeness. Fun fact: the day I put most of these songs on my computer is today exactly 2 years ago, when I was (just like today) looking for excuses to not study for my tests. Which proves that this really is the time of the year I get into summer music! It's a pattern, let's release psychology on it! (Oops.. Maybe I should get back to my homework...)

Okay, have fun with this playlist!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

PS 1: If there are any songs I forgot, please let me know. But know that I have strict criteria for inclusion on the list, because this is my personal ultimate feel-good playlist.
PS 2: Note that I, in no way, claim that these are the ultimate summer songs. Obviously, I would have included a lot more eurodance if this were the case! These are songs that are part of an entity in music.
PS 3: For a more hip-hop taste, add LL Cool J - Loungin' and Snoop Dogg - Who Am I (What's My Name?) to the playlist. They fit, but I think for me they belong more in a 'summer nostalgia' type of playlist.
PS 4: I might throw the Five song, the Delinquent Habits song and the Typhoon song out of this playlist after a while, I'm not sure if they belong in it. So you could exclude them and the playlist will still be hot :)