Saturday, January 30, 2016

The New Classic (2014)

Things seem to happen so fast now—just the other day I caught an item on Facebook about Iggy Azalea's comeback. What? I know she's had her troubles in the celebrity ecosystem, predictable problems of fame, talent, and wealth, of a white Australian woman rapper and cultural appropriations and objectifying, plus a reputation for displays of bad attitude. You know, all those things that happen on Twitter and are reported as news. Her debut LP is only two years old, but it's righteously haunted by an evocative fragment, "No money, no family, 16 in the middle of Miami," which wafts all through the stew of beats and hooks and keeps it compelling. There's a couple of big hits you probably know and maybe over-know—"Fancy" feat. Charli XCX (#1) and "Black Widow" feat. Rita Ora (#3). They're a good preview, they pop and sizzle and flash a charming confidence, but they aren't my favorites here. As usual, the terms of the product we accept now apply to The New Classic. It's too long—the songs are too long by a minute or two and the album is too long by 15 or 20 minutes. That's the way most albums are now, and it's probably better to have too much than too little, for the sake of the true believers. What  I like best is when Iggy Azalea indulges herself and settles into exactly that overweening confidence she wears like armor. The vulgar "New Bitch," for example, which among other things exults in its vulgarity, promotes the social satisfactions of an ego that has just got what it wanted. "I'm his new bitch," she declares to no one and everyone (and probably to someone in particular), leaning hard into the hissing churchy "ch" sound, which tells everything. Or "Goddess," which is one of the biggest tracks here, with a monster guitar solo erupting in the middle of it, and which seems to be in the service of more or less modestly declaring herself. Judging by the persona on this album, and not Twitter, it looks to me like a healthy ego working stuff out as it comes. Anyone with no family and no money, in the middle of Miami, at 16, has something raging inside. She survived and she's proud and she's here to tell about it, even if she's still a little immature. She has a right. This is a mixed bag, but some great stuff.

1 comment:

  1. It's not perfect, there's some pop formula filler, but more I like than dislike. In addition to yours: "Walk The Line," "F**k Love," "Lady Patra," "Change Your Life," etc. Also love the bonus track, "Rolex." "Fancy" fatigue is real perhaps but that bass line is all time and someday we'll be citing it along side "Bust A Move" or "Regulate" or "Get Ur Freak On." Everything I've heard her do since, unfortunately, all collaborations, have ranged from ho-hum to awful.