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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Review: Uffie: "Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans"

Like most Americans, I would imagine, my first run-in with Uffie was on Justice's 2007 song, "The Party," for which she supplied all of the vocals.  In my review of , I called the song "the one low point on an otherwise flawless album."  And then I forgot about Uffie.  Fast-forward to 2009 when I hear Ke$ha's "TiK ToK" and initially mistake it for Uffie.  My interest was piqued and as I started listening to Uffie's small catalog of songs, something strange happened: I actually started to like some of it.  So what we have here is one of my most bizarrely anticipated albums of 2010, and one that has been delayed for years and years.  (Hell, "Pop the Glock" was originally released in 2006!)  The result of all that waiting is Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans, an album that is certainly a letdown, but is not without its fair share of hits.

The aforementioned "Pop the Glock" starts the album on a high note.  Featuring genuinely unique production from Feadz, the song remains just as fresh as it was 4 years ago when it first appeared.  It's still one of the best songs on the album and is only topped by "ADD SUV."  The Mirwais produced song is a straight-up, mainstream club banger that not only has the best production on the album, but the catchiest hook as well.  Pharrell Williams (of The Neptunes and N.E.R.D.) adds his vocals to the song to great effect.  His rap verse is one of the coolest aspects of the song and his voice fits surprisingly well with Uffie's auto-tuned half-rapping.

"MCs Can Kiss," Sex Dream's first single (released back in January) stands out on the album due in large part to Mr. Oizo's old-school rap influenced beat.  Uffie's vocals don't hurt either though, and as it stands, her flow on this song s the most technically-impressive thing she's ever done.  The fact that she can spit out lines this quickly is a surprise because I'm so used to hearing her rap much slower (and much clumsier). "Difficult" continues this trend with another impressive performance by Uffie and yet more fantastic production.  Uffie's declaration of "Don't worry if I write rhymes...I write checks" seems like a defiant finger to the haters, saying "I may not be the best lyricist, but I'm making money."  It's an attitude that is echoed throughout the album, constantly acknowledging her (wildly apparent) flaws as an artist, and reinforcing the fact that she is - above all else - an entertainer.

However, a listener's ability to appreciate Uffie as an entertainer is going to depend heavily on their willingness to overlook her notable lack of musical talent.  She cannot sing (she almost breaks auto-tune on "First Love"), she is often incapable of rapping fluidly, her lyrics are just garbage,  and all of her best songs are often great despite her presence, not because of it.  Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans' greatest asset may not be Uffie at all, but the producers who have provided their skills here (which is not completely surprising for an Ed Banger album).  On songs where the production isn't as solid, Uffie flounders.  Take "Art of Uff," for example, which is just a showcase of Uffie's mediocre rapping skills and elementary lyricism.  With a beat this minimal, the focus is placed squarely on the artist, and she fails.  Miserably. When she tries singing on "Give it Away" or "Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans" the result is just as disastrous; possibly worse.

Unfortunately, Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans is just as mediocre as the artist that appears on the cover.  Despite truly awesome and groundbreaking songs like "Pop the Glock" or "Illusion of Love," it is hampered by others that go nowhere, say nothing, and entertain no one.  The album's pacing and momentum also suffer from its hit and miss nature, and a  great song is almost guaranteed to be followed by a bad one.  Does Uffie succeed at being entertaining?  Sure.  In fact,  I'd put some of these songs against anything that plays on mainstream American radio!  But overall, Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans leaves a lot to be desired.  Great production can only cover so many flaws, and Uffie's flaws burden an otherwise decent album.  Seriously, when you make Pharrell Williams sound like a talented rapper, something is wrong.

Key Tracks:
1. "Pop the Glock"
2. "ADD SUV" (feat. Pharrell Williams)
3. "MCs Can Kiss"
4. "Difficult"
5. "Illusion of Love" (feat. Mattie Safer)

1 comment:

Kaffy said...

Love this article, thanks for the great post and a great review. :)