Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Review: Lady Sovereign - Jigsaw

The biggest white midget in hip-hop found all the parts of a jigsaw and came back to life with a new album, which is a confusing mixture between electronica and grime. "Jigsaw" is Lady Sovereign's sophomore attempt in the music bizz, following a series of professional misfortunes in the last year, topped by being kicked out of Def Jam run by Jay-Z, but immediately went under the wing of EMI.

"Jigsaw" is your regular party album with plenty of dance tracks and good beats. You have Sovereign with her sarcastic lyrics, you have the spirit of grime, and still the whole product lacks distinctive originality. At several points it sounds so desperate for freshness that it virtually cries out for ideas. What surprises me is the fact that Sovereign did actually have troubles in the past few years and still nothing brought the light to this record. As soon as she released "Public Warning" critics started comparing her impeccable talent with The Streets, although she received a heavy support from the American hip-hop scene rather than England's.

Sovereign is more electronic than ever before, which could be a big plus if the whole electro stuff didn't sound out of place and order. Most of the tracks are a havoc of grime, electronica and rap beats, which would have been great if this was M.I.A. new release...but it's not and it just doesn't suit her. As a whole Louise, the rappers real name, has tried to sound more accessible and commercially acceptable, thus giving "Jigsaw" a lighter and cleaner structure. Big mistake! "Public Warning" was relatively positively met by the critics due to its satire, loads of sarcasm and witty texts, bringing a new light to the skills of female rappers. This time you have a less confident record, which explores too well-known thematic spheres like relationships, trust, entertainment and similar.

The major controversy in "Jigsaw" is caused by sampling of the song "Close To Me" by The Cure for the single "So Human". Underground MC Thomas Jules already had the rights to use the original version. The idea to use this song as a backing track was given to Sovereign by an Island Records execute after hearing Jule performing his version. Robert Smith, The Cure's frontman, has stated that he prefers Jules' song to Sovereign's track, despite the last being worldwide distributed.

Songs to hear: "So Human", "I Got You Dancing", "Bang Bang" and "Jigsaw"

Personal rating: 5 out of 10