Brooke Valentine - Chain Letter

2006-03-30 00:41
 

Is Brooke anything special, or just part of that continual flood of fake stars launched weekly at great expense, as if to cruelly mock artists with actual talent struggling to get a record and distribution deal?

Well, though Chain Letter contains its share of filler, Brooke's lush RnB is superbly produced, with some extremely punchy songs that push the borders of what is "urban", mixing in house beats, and some country influences too.

Highlights include the breathy opening, "Girl fight", with its whispery rap. The shallow but irresistibly danceable Missy Elliot flavoured "Taste of dis", and the girlish and tuneful "Bla bla bla" (featuring Dirt McGirt) go down nicely too. "Ghetto Superstar" should be a hit and it's one of many catchy sing along songs with decent lyrics. The Rocky Horror-reminiscent "I want you dead", is even quite funny, in a spiteful kind of way.

Speaking of spiteful, Valentine's attempt at satire - a cruel monologue spoken as by a young girl getting lured into porn, tacked onto the end of "Ghetto Superstar" - is awfully sour. There's no sympathy there, just bitchy mockery, Jerry Springer guest style.

"Cover girl" bemoans the fact that she's not hot enough to be in magazines. Do I smell insincerity, or is it just her custom perfume?

Launched with plenty of sexy pictures, Brooke is already flogging her own gear. Not only does she have only her own notebooks and handbags, but also her very own Brookies, a frilly bright salmon pink with a green band. Most pictures show her holding her shirt up to bare her tummy. Perhaps this provides a clue as to her inner soul and deeper desires - to have a baby? Or perhaps eat a hamburger? We may never know.

But for all the jokes that can easily be made at her expense, Brooke Valentine wrote most of this solid debut album herself, and her energetic new voice is sassy and intelligent enough to win her plenty of worshipping fans.

- Jean Barker

WHAT OTHER CRITICS SAID

"...love that this album makes me want to dance more than almost anything else I can think of, I love that it makes me excited and happy and breathless..."
- Michael Barthel for Stylus Magazine

" it's brave and scary and hilarious and awesome and I love it like it's the new girl in junior high school."
- Matt Cibula for Pop Matters

There is a rough versatility here that's refreshing, given the slick, melismatic piffle that usually fills this sort of debut.
- "Cover girl" bemoans the fact that she's not hot enough to be in magazines. Do I smell insincerity, or is it just her custom perfume?

Launched with plenty of sexy pictures, Brooke is already flogging her own gear. Not only does she have only her own notebooks and handbags, but also her very own Brookies, a frilly bright salmon pink with a green band. Most pictures show her holding her skirt up to bare her tummy. Perhaps this provides a clue as to her inner soul and deeper desires - to have a baby? Or perhaps eat a hamburger? We may never know.

But for all the jokes that can easily be made at her expense, Brooke Valentine wrote most of this solid debut album herself, and her energetic new voice is sassy and intelligent enough to win her plenty of worshipping fans.

- Jean Barker

WHAT OTHER CRITICS SAID

"...love that this album makes me want to dance more than almost anything else I can think of, I love that it makes me excited and happy and breathless..."
- Michael Barthel for Stylus Magazine

"...it's brave and scary and hilarious and awesome and I love it like it's the new girl in junior high school."
- Matt Cibula for Pop Matters

"There is a rough versatility here that's refreshing, given the slick, melismatic piffle that usually fills this sort of debut."
- Kitty Empire for The Observer


Feisty and young, Brooke Valentine is a new urban star. Even her sleeve note dedication of her work to the Heavenly Father - by now apparently standard on all Urban, Kwaito and Nu Metal albums - packs some serious punch. "Thanks for covering me in your blood", she says.

abdullah 2005/08/07 9:57 PM
sk8 sk8er greenday
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