Review: Reclassified - Iggy Azalea
"The New Classic" is repackaged and Black Widow is joined by five new songs.
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Iggy Azalea spends much of Reclassified telling her listeners how wonderful she is. She’s on “a dinner date with greatness”, and she’s up for “VMAs and a Grammy”. She confidently asserts that “if I told you what I was worth you would throw up”. But is this delightful lady as good as she says she is? The answer is invariably no.
The mood of the album is languid. Azelea does rhythmically spit out her lyrics, but aims for sultry croakiness rather than the traditional fury of rapping, as if she’s letting us in on to some sort of big secret. But then again her lyrics are all very conventional; it’s often really rather hard to suppress a yawn. On ‘Beg For It’ she comes across as very desperate, with the general message being “please, please sleep with me”, and is deeply unimaginative about it. There’s some seriously awful rhyming in the bridge: “get out of my face, like who’d you think you are/ Talking all this trash, like blah-di-blah-di-blah”. It’s definitely not Shakespeare.
Sex however is not Azalea’s primary subject; she’d much rather tell us about how much money she has and how famous she is, a theme which occupies the second half of the album. The idea of an Iggy Season, or ‘Iggy SZN’ if you’re as cool as Iggy is, is deeply irritating. The song bafflingly features a lion, lots of clapping and an incongruous whistle. Worst of all, Iggy has decided it’s cool to make her voice go high pitched at the end of words. Then there’s ‘Heavy Crown’, where Azalea has enlisted the help of Ellie Goulding, who always sounds delightful but is also far too earnest to be on this album. She cannot get away with singing “but ***** I’ve got it now” convincingly. On ‘Don’t Need Y’All’, Azalea tells us how heartless her vast amounts of money have made her (as if no one has said the same thing before). The tone remains lethargic; one doesn’t get excited when one has quite this much money.
‘Black Widow’ is the one song that has had a fair amount of airplay, and this is probably because unlike many of the others it doesn’t send you to sleep. Much of the life comes from Rita Ora’s chorus, which swells to some relatively excited sounding synths. Azalea explains over plinky plonky synths that the best way to control her awful boyfriend is to withhold sex. Lovely stuff. Much worse is ‘Trouble’, which I genuinely believe can be used as a torture technique. Just when you think it’s over, it starts up all over again, repeating exactly and endlessly. Apparently the man is trouble because of the “way he leans” and because “he takes so fast to clean”. This seems needlessly suspicious. ‘Work’ is a bit better, and in the verses one even has a little sympathy for Azalea, who describes herself as having “no money, no family, sixteen in the middle of Miami” against panoramic synths. But then the chorus is a huge disappointment, and one can go back to being critical.
The trouble is, the instrumentation always takes a back seat to Izzy’s vocals, but these are so languid that the whole thing just becomes impossibly dreary. Her collaborators tend to try and pick things up: Rita Ora succeeds on ‘Black Widow’; Jennifer Hudson makes everything worse on ‘Trouble’; and Ellie Goulding just sounds out of place on ‘Heavy Crown’. Plus all the lyrics tend to portray Azalea as a fairly unlikeable person, and not one we would want to devote great amounts of our time to listening. Aside from this, the utter lack of any excitement should be enough to put anyone off buying Reclassified.