All kinds of crazy

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Music - JAR­RAD BE­VAN

POP mu­sic needs a weirdo like Nicki Mi­naj.

Un­like Lady Gaga’s ‘‘ mad­ness’’, which al­ways feels scripted, Mi­naj comes off like a 200 per cent lu­natic.

In just four min­utes, the open­ing song Ro­man Hol­i­day on her sec­ond al­bum jumps around all over the place but some­how it works. If it’s a shot over the bow, a state­ment of what’s to come, it’s a crazy one.

Pink Fri­day: Ro­man Reloaded ded­i­cates its first seven tracks to Mi­naj al­ter- ego Ro­man, who re­ally didn’t get enough play on her pop- friendly de­but al­bum. That means rap, rap and more rap. Lots of brag­ging, lots of smart- alec rhymes. It’s wild and great fun.

Per­haps most im­pres­sive is the way she lures a batch of high- pro­file MCS to rap on these tunes and then shows nearly all of them up at their own game.

On the glo­ri­ously wacky I Amy­our Leader she is lyri­cally dex­ter­ous, a pow­er­house. She makes a meal of Rick Ross and trades punches with a sharp, in- form Cam’ron.

La­bel boss Lil Wayne drops by for Ro­man Reloaded, where Mi­naj grabs all the punchy lines and pop- cul­ture ref­er­ences, while Weezy pro­vides a croaky cure for in­som­nia. Also, where would rap be with­out faux gun­shot sound ef­fects?

The lads on Cham­pion try harder, with solid rhymes from Nas and Drake. Mi­naj throws a breathy pop vo­cal hook on the track, show­ing off a re­strained side that’s as en­tic­ing as her nutty per­sonas.

But it’s a raspy Young Jeezy who re­ally shines; he just sounds so ‘‘ street’’. But how many of Mi­naj’s young fans will get his pro­fes­sional bas­ket­ball ref­er­ences?

The al­bum’s qual­ity dips briefly with two ‘‘ sexy bal­lads’’ that are any­thing but al­lur­ing. PF: RR would have been slicker with­out them, plus 19 songs is re­ally too many.

The lis­tener is ex­hausted by the al­bum’s end, which risks miss­ing a crackup like Stupid Hoe.

Phase three of the al­bum is the pop sec­tion, start­ing with the su­per- cheesy Star­ships. It sounds oddly fa­mil­iar, like it was built in a lab by grab­bing 10 num­ber one hit sin­gles and smash­ing them all to­gether in a blender.

Pound the Alarm and Whip It of­fer more of the same. The for­mer has an in­fec­tious bounc­ing bassline, ridicu­lous cho­rus, trance stabs, elec­tro squeaks – it sounds like a hit. Whip It, sadly, is not a Devo cover. Both tunes come off a bit like Madonna’s new MDNA pop- dance style but chunkier.

For all of Mi­naj’s ev­ery­thing- and- thek­itchen- sink crazi­ness, one song stands out be­cause it’s so straight: Marilyn Mon­roe.

Hit, hit, smash hit, this song’s destiny is writ­ten in stone. It could eas­ily be Bey­once or Ri­hanna on the vo­cal, but Mi­naj nails it.

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