Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded |
It was a bad omen for Nicki Minaj's second album when she previewed it with one of the most bizarre performances ever on the Grammy stage last February. The song that went with that exorcism-themed mess was "Roman Holiday," and it kicks off this set (which, despite its title, is not a deluxe edition of Pink Friday, her 2010 debut). "Take your medication, Roman/ Take a short vacation, Roman," sings Minaj, in one of her many different voices, to her gay male alter ego. But after listening to this confused-and confusing-affair, it sounds like it's Nicki herself who could use a real break to regain her focus. The first half finds Minaj rapping on hip-hop tracks like "Roman Reloaded" (one of two cuts with mentor Lil Wayne), while the second half features her singing on pop-flavored tunes, sometimes in a voice so overprocessed it's tough to tell if it's really her. Along the way, she can't decide if she wants to be Missy Elliott or Lil' Kim, Rihanna or Katy Perry. And with 19 songs over about 70 minutes, it's hard to wade through it all for the good stuff.
Hailing from Tuskegee, Ala., Lionel Richie always brought a touch of country to tunes like "Sail On" (with the Commodores) and "Stuck on You." So these twangy remakes of Richie gems, pairing him with an array of country stars-from Blake Shelton to Kenny Chesney-come quite naturally. Rascal Flatts turn "Dancing on the Ceiling" into a real foot-stomper, while "Easy" makes a perfect fit for the eternally free-spirited Willie Nelson.
The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach-producing, cowriting and playing guitar-works his voodoo with the New Orleans giant. The result is one delish gumbo.
Hot off their Bridesmaids moment, you wish they'd make another "Hold On." Instead, they cover their parents in the Beach Boys and the Mamas & the Papas. Easy.
You can hear echoes of Colbie Caillat and Corinne Bailey Rae in this new singer-songwriter. But her confessional lyrics on tunes like the title track make it personal.
The Night the Sun Came Up
Dev's debut album delivers electro-dance beats that Pauly D would pump all night long. But she's no Gaga or Robyn. And she should stop the rapping. Now.
RYAN KWANTEN (TRUE BLOOD)
The Rolling Stones. They are still rolling, still alive. Well, some would beg to differ that they may not still be alive!
The Band. Or I would be in Creedence Clearwater Revival. John Fogerty is a bada--!
The Jackson 5. Because I think Michael is the greatest entertainer who ever lived. I am a person who loves being around greatness.
I want to be the female singer in Coldplay. I just love that band. The energy, the music-it's very soulful and there's a spiritual element to it.
The Beatles. Every girl wanted to be with the Beatles, and every guy wanted to be a Beatle. They are the greatest band of all time.
I'm friends with the Foo Fighters, so they'd let me in. I want to be the girl that goes swoosh with the tambourine when the song ends and then makes out with the guys in the band later.
THE NEW J.LO & BIEBER SINGLES!
"Dance Again" Lopez repeats the same club-ready formula that made "On the Floor" a Top 5 hit, reuniting with Pitbull and producer RedOne while infusing a tad of the Euro vibe of Rihanna's "We Found Love." But both of those songs beat this one.
"Boyfriend" It's jarring when you first hear Lil Bieb making like Lil Wayne rapping on this preview of BELIEVE. But over a spare groove that becomes strangely hypnotic, he also brings to mind another Justin: Timberlake.
WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO SINCE YOUR LAST ALBUM?
Both of my parents passed away in 2004 and 2005. Then my brother was battling brain cancer, and I wanted to take the time to be there for him. A dear friend was also battling cancer, and both of them lost their fight within a month of each other in 2009. I went on a tour, and it was great to get away after all that loss, but then I stayed home to process the grief that had been pushed to the side.
SPEAKING OF LOSS, YOU PAID TRIBUTE TO ETTA JAMES AT THE GRAMMYS. HOW DID SHE INFLUENCE YOUR CAREER?
She'd always been a role model. I'd go to school on her singing. And we'd been friends since the mid-'70s.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT ADELE COVERING "I CAN'T MAKE YOU LOVE ME"?
I was knocked out-I'm a big fan. Backstage [at the Grammys] I told her how much it meant to me. I was also surprised to see Aretha Franklin sing it at a concert in Minneapolis. That song is a gift that keeps on giving.
WHO IS THE BEST PERSON YOU'VE EVER JAMMED WITH?
B.B. King. That was a killer chance to go back and forth. But Keith Richards and I playing together? That would be a dream to me. He's one of my heroes.
SO HAVE YOU EVER PLAYED GUITAR HERO?
No! I've heard about it. Is it fun? I have to put a video of myself playing it on YouTube!