Hey there, Uffie, leader of the popular French house brigade from Ed Banger Records! The Oeufster released her first single, "Pop The Glock", in 2006, and it was a curious hit. But it took four more years to finally drop a full-length album. Was it worth the wait? Was it even worth the trip to the record store?
The album starts off with Uffie's very first single, Pop The Glock. And let me just say this: Pop The Glock is some of the worst nonsense I've ever heard. It's the cream of the crap, so to speak. Let's address one thing right of the bat: Uffie can't rap. She can barely sing, too, apparently, because her reliance on autotune is reaching T-Pain levels of silliness. But she can't rap worth a lick. With zesty lyrics such as "Boys call on me when they feel freaky hot / I run this show / You got to slow / Pick up the pace with you cracked out face", all I can do is sit back in my chair, hold out both hands, and pull an agile faceplant into my palms. Even her rhythm sounds silly — think music assignment from the third grade. She also frequently mentions the term "pop the glock". So, we're getting shot now? Does she think she has street cred at this point? She's from Miami. The Golden Girls have more street cred. There isn't even much instrumentation here, aside from a beat. That's it; there's nothing to pull my attention away from Uffie popping her glock and telling me to "do the Tootsie Roll". Actually, candy DOES sound more fun than listening to her little poetic experiment again.
Next is Art Of Uff, which covers more regarding how she doesn't care about what people think of her before blasting out that she is Uff and how awesome her sound is. Here is a lovely quote from Uffie:
"That's some damn good crackers you bring here, son!
Serious, these are the best crackers I've tasted in a long time.
Can you put some cheese on it for me?
Throw something at me when it's ready."
I'm seriously getting misty-eyed thinking about those flaky Ritz crackers with smoked Brie on top. Seriously, the best part of this song is the absolutely haunting melody that tries to break through from the background. Mr. Oizo had his hand in this production, and he's the real star. Unfortunately, Uffie's speaking (advising us that she is using cocaine, making her quite the ideal role model). Also, she rhymes "sound" with "mom". I... I don't think I can take much more of this.
I'm not the biggest Pharrell Williams fan. Okay, I'm not a fan at all of most of his past work. But he's the highlight of ADD SUV. I'll give him credit for having a more stylish rap voice. But I still have no idea what this song is about. "A-D-D, S-U-V". So a gas guzzler has attention deficit disorder now? Uffie's forgettable, but Pharrell and the smooth electro instrumentation make up for it. Give It Away boasts some cute circus music in the background, and it actually pulls me into the song with its light sound. Then Uffie pops in to try and sing, and it is awful. She starts with her first line: "I don't know what else to say". I have something else to say: you can't sing. Without the autotune, you're seriously off-key. Squirrels are dropping their acorns, stuffing their ears with tail fur, and hightailing it out of there.
This album could have been better if it was instrumental or if they replaced Uffie's voice with whale sounds.
PRODUCER: "Alright, let's do another take, Shamu."
PRODUCER: "That's brilliant. Much better than that Uffie we worked with last week."
Suddenly, without warning, Uffie kicks us in the face with the loud and abrasive hip-hop startler, MCs Can Kiss. Even though her rapping skills haven't significantly improved here, the very forward chorus of her shouting "I've got something MCs can kiss!" over serious 80s breakbeats is undeniably infectious. It's perhaps the first thing on this album that is actually somewhat impressive. Or, that WAS the case until the last third of the song when Uffie pretends to play the saxophone terribly... and then a really awful sax solo chimes in that is not only intentionally bad but also just plain boring to listen to.
Don't worry if I write rhymes; I write cheques. That's the message Uffie's sending out in Difficult. But perhaps it's also difficult to write cheques if all you do is write rhymes like the ones on this album. The chorus is catchy, though, even if the rest of the song containing her "singing" is vapid and forgettable. Following this difficult journey is First Love, one of the actual highlights of the album. It starts off sounding slower than the more high-energy tracks before it, but once the beat and Uffie's over-autotuned vocals chime in, you know there's still some pump to it. Uffie starts singing about her former lover and first love, her Mr. Mystery, even though they have broken up. The instrumentals sample the rather obscure song "Don't Go" by artist F.R. David and are a good accompaniment to Uffie's rather cute delivery. This one's worth a listen.
Sex Dreams And Denim Jeans is the title track, and you would expect the song they named the album after to be top-notch, but lackluster is a better word. It starts out with a strong focus on Uffie's singing only, but it quickly morphs into a psychedelic rock trip from the 70s (based off a tune by Lou Reed) and her vocals deliver hippie vibes. Then she sings "Marilyn Monroe is spinning in her grave", and I agree. She probably heard this song. Speaking of songs, what about Our Song? Not my song, but it's hers and someone else's. Probably former beau Feadz, who produced this song... then they broke up. The first lines in this song are very introspective: "I think it's about time sweetheart / For me to clarify a few things / I never claimed to be an artist / I can't even sing, you know". Then she proves it with autotune overload.
The next track, Illusion of Love, features Mattie Safer from former indie rock group The Rapture. Neither paste sensational vocals over this strange French house background. Safer sings as if he's parodying "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" by Eiffel 65 (that is, sounding as though he possesses only passive interest in what he's saying). This song eventually morphs into a slightly trancy trip as Uffie keeps chanting "illusion of love". Not bad, but it does get a bit old quickly.
And in walks Neuneu, a surprising breath of fresh air with a saucy brass sample that plays throughout. Oh, and vocoders are flying about like raindrops in a storm. Sadly, the name "Neuneu" reminds of what Olivia called her grandmother on The Cosby Show ("Grampy! Nunu!"), and I thought it was a ridiculous moniker. I still do.
Brand New Car boasts some sweet acid house jabs, which overthrows Uffie's self-indulgent lyrics regarding how awesome and popular she is as the best thing in this track. There's an underlying 80s vibe that isn't easily shaken. Hong Kong Garden is a rock cover of Siouxsie and the Banshees' hit from 1978 of the same name. The lyrics bare a touch of racism, but you'll forget about that as easily as you'll forget the song is on the album. Last but not least is Ricky, Uffie's semi-slow ballad about (presumably) a fellow named Ricky. With some haunting organ synths, the Uffster takes one more stab at talking about herself and rhyming words like "live" and "thief", or "room" and "roof". Only one problem remains: this song doesn't mention anyone named Ricky. WHO'S RICKY?!
You tried, Uffie. Or, at least I wanted to believe you tried. But her producers are the real talent. Uffie openly admits she can't sing or rap and then makes a solid effort to ensure we are well aware. Let's invest our hard-earned dollars into artists who at least mildly believe they have talent.