Aussie rapper Iggy Azalea has already notched up a trio of UK top 20 hits with Work, Bounce and Change Your Life – and now her new single Fancy, which came out yesterday (April), has rocketed into the top five on the iTunes chart. She’s named her debut album The New Classic, but does it live up to that super-confident title? Here’s a track-by-track review to help you decide whether to invest your hard-earned £7.99.
Walk the Line
If you doubted Iggy’s rap credibility, well, this track proves it and then some. Her flow during the verses is undeniable as she raps about how her life has changed since moving from Australia to the US at the age of 16. Sadly, however, the verses go so hard that the midtempo chorus ends up feeling a bit lacklustre. Not what you want from the opening track of an album.
Don’t Need Y’all
Among the least memorable tracks on The New Classic, Don’t Need Y’all feels almost too self-congratulatory – especially considering the album hasn’t even been released yet. “I remember when I wasn’t this big, and now ya’ll wanna act like you helped me get here,” Iggy fumes. The Australian even self-references here, slipping in lyrics from her breakthrough single Work, and it’s all a bit much. This should have been replaced with Iggy’s summer 2013 single Bounce, which somewhat inexplicably has been relegated to bonus track status.
One of the catchiest tracks on the album, this is all about keeping it “100” around a love interest. For those with less street cred than me, that means keeping it real. I definitely didn’t have to Google that. It’s refreshing hearing a female rapper use a male act (on this occasion, it’s Atlanta trio Watch the Duck) for a chorus hook too. The album at one point was supposed to feature Cee Lo Green, and it’s clear that this was the track he would have appeared on. In fact, it may as well be him.
Change Your Life
I will never understand why this track wasn’t a global smash. Any track that starts out with “I’m used to dealing with basic bitches” deserves to hang around the top ten for months on end, especially when coupled with a chorus that’s catchier than cholera. T.I’s feature actually feels necessary rather than cut and pasted in, which is rare in this world of unnecessary pop features – here’s looking at you Gaga and Xtina.
There is literally not a single thing I don’t love about Fancy, it’s been my jam for weeks. The Clueless-inspired music video is genius, and the chorus featuring rising star Charli XCX (who also helped out on Icona Pop’s I Love It) is one of the best pop moments of 2014 so far. In a perfect world, this would be number one for 17 weeks.
Iggy takes ownership of the word “bitch” in this brilliant little summer jam. “Damn she is too bad, you mad? I’m his new bitch. Yeah, I’m his new bitch,” she raps. Destined to be an album favourite, the chilled-out vibes of the backing track offers a much-needed break from the relentless beats of the rest of the album.
This is the song that started Iggy down the path of pop stardom – and over a year later it manages to sound just as fresh as it did when it debuted. There’s not much I need to say about this one: you’ve already played it hundreds of times and love it as much as I do. If not, why are you here?
Impossible Is Nothing
The album’s obligatory saccharine self-empowerment track, Impossible is Nothing is by no means bad; it’s just not earth-shatteringly brilliant either. The charts have been infested with such anthems ever since Ke$ha’s We R Who W R debuted in 2009, and if we’re all being honest with one another, they should have stopped a while ago. Thankfully, the album also contains Fuck Love, an aggressive twist on the self-empowerment anthem that renders Impossible Is Nothing unnecessary.
This track starts out well, but by the time the middle 8 comes around, it’s descended into an ill-advised electric guitar-driven mess that’s only saved by Iggy’s on-point vocal delivery. It’s shame, because the “bow down to a Goddess” chorus could have made this an album highlight if the rest of the track was stronger.
The first track on the album to delve into the world of trap, Black Widow featuring Rita Ora bears major similarities to Katy Perry’s Dark Horse – which isn’t surprising considering the Teenage Dream singer had a hand in writing the song. Tracks that start with a chorus are always destined for greatness: Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance, Madonna’s Hung Up and Destiny’s Child’s Say My Name all did the same and they’re now certified pop classics. Ora, a popstar who’s struggled so far to find much of an identity, actually oozes charisma here – her feature is the highlight of the song. Rumoured to be the next single, Black Widow is destined to become a smash, mark my words.
The album forays into Rihanna territory with Lady Patra, and the less said about this one the better. Between the almost undecipherable feature, to the generic reggae-tinged instrumental, if you looked up “filler” in the Oxford dictionary, Lady Patra would be the first thing labelled. Well, the second – after “Keri Hilson’s career”.
One of my favourite tracks on the album, Fuck Love goes fast and hard. It’s cocky pop at its best, bringing to mind Christina’s Aguilera’s deep cut Vanity in terms of lyrical content. “Fuck love, give me diamonds. I’m already in love with myself!” Iggy raps over a throbbing beat. We’ve had so many versions of songs like Katy Perry’s Firework and Pink’s Perfect, so it’s nice to hear something more aggressive and balls-to-the-wall. A fine way to end an album which, even with the odd dodgy track, definitely deserves some of your time.
The New Classic by Iggy Azalea is released in the UK on April 14.