Tag Archives: Iggy Azalea

Britney Spears, “Private Show”/”Make Me”

It’s hard to believe that Beyoncé and Britney Spears are the same age. 34 years, however, have treated the two mega-divas quite differently: while Yoncé continues to sell out massive venues on the success of her latest album, Lemonade, Brit-Brit has spent the past three years peddling lackluster singles. After the disappointing Iggy Azalea collab, “Pretty Girls,” fizzled out, it seemed plans for another Spears album were once again shelved.

One year later, Spears fans worldwide reveled in the promise of “Make Me,” the lead single off of Spears’s ninth studio release, Glory. True to form, the track includes the three hallmarks of every Britney single: 1.) whiny, feeble vocals, 2.) excessive Auto-tune to fluff up the former (second only to Ke$ha), and 3.) mid-riff baring artwork to highlight her best asset, her body.With an appearance by G-Eazy, we also find Spears’s recent habit of outsourcing for more relevant, fresh-faced talent (see “Pretty Girls,” which rode on the coattails of the brief Iggy Azalea craze) in full force.

That being said, the vocals don’t fall into the realm of robotic, as on the throwaway recording, “Ooh La La” or the Ke$ha-penned, “Til The World Ends.”Smooth choral runs and subtle verses prove a working formula for Spears’s limited range, even adding a flair of, dare we say, artistry to the mix?

Not so fast. “Private Show,” which shares the name of Spears’s newest fragrance, abandons such subtleties for a bold release that’s heavy on sex appeal and auto-tune. In short, the effect is that of a robot crooning about stripteases and twerking—bizarre and repulsive. Britney chokes on the chorus and invokes a laughable Rihanna impression with her clipped “work it’s.”The entire track revolves around an awkward arrangement that tries to balance the instrumental’s light-hearted mood with Spear’s obvious struggle in singing the song.

When, at the three and a half minute mark, Spears confidently asks to take on the song again, one has to wonder at how deeply Spears’s denial runs; after a 24-year long career of cashing in on lip-synced global tours and Las Vegas residencies, Britney Spears once again proves how her career relies on her fan base’s sense of nostalgia for her reign as the Queen of Y2k pop. Let’s leave 2016 and the actual singing to Beyoncé.

 

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Azealia Banks, ‘Broke With Expensive Taste’

Azealia Banks fans have had to wait a few years for her debut LP, Broke with Expensive Taste, to finally hit shelves. After several delays, Bank’s first full-length release was dropped unannounced on November 6th. Banks’s last multi-track release was 2011’s 1991, which featured the lifted track, “212.” In the meantime, the 23-year-old became the Queen of Twitter feuds while hinting at collaborations with the likes of Lady Gaga, Kanye West, and Pharrell (the latter was eventually released in 2013), and pushed her 2012 mixtape, Fantasea.

As with any “post-Nicki” rapper, the comparisons with Minaj have become unavoidable. Both rappers attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High SchoolMinaj was rejected by the Vocal Department but went on to the theater department. Banks seems to have followed the same route (although, tracks like “Nude Beach A-Go-Go” prove Banks probably could have been accepted into the rigorous department). Banks has also followed the “femcee” trend, delays aside.

Before listening to Broke, I must warn you: Banks is not a British rapper. The album itself is heavily influenced by UK Garage and house rap, with many of the tracks being prime candidates for any rave mix. “Luxury” and “BBD” in particular, blend trance with 808 trap samples. Still, one word sums up the Broke experience: Witch-hop.

“sonically, it’s very mature…I didn’t want to do anything that was like, young [or] mainstream. I stayed far away from dubstep, and I tried to stay far away from trap, but I have one trap record…everything on my album is going to be like, anti-pop, or just anti-what’s-happening-now.”

Meanwhile, cuts such as the catchy opener “Idle Delilah” and “Wallace” incorporate Latin kits and marimbas into Banks’s collection. While the relatively sluggish “Wallace” stagnates as album filler, “Idle Delilah” stands as one of Bank’s most relevant tracks —touching upon economic competition and suicide—despite it’s inspiration from a supposed 20th Century retaliation murder.

Besides “Idle Delilah” and 2011’s “212,” the majority of the album’s first half pales in comparison to its more experimental counterpart. One of the major pitfalls of Banks’s debut is her tendency to recycle identical rhythms on her rap tracks while overindulging in her “trademark” combination of mumbling and rapping. While Azealia Banks is no Mariah Carey—or Ariana Grande for that matter—it’s a refreshing change when Banks warms up her pipes as it shows a surprising versatility many listeners wouldn’t expect. “Chasing Time,” and the formidable, surf-rock jam “Nude-Beach-A-Go-Go” charts territory Banks’s fans have probably never explored. If surf-rock doesn’t work out, however, the irresistible “Soda” and aggressive “Luxury,” seem likely candidates for any club mix, offering a promising avenue into dance-floor diva-dom.

Such adaptability in genres, however, shouldn’t appear as promising career paths for when the monotonous rapping no longer works for Banks. Rather, such diversity only highlights an innate resourcefulness in Banks’ catalogue that makes her debut a much more rewarding listen than Minaj or Iggy Azalea who, quite frankly, should’ve thought twice before copping the name of a femcee who, despite sales, will most likely outlast her.