Sunday, December 26, 2010

Album Review: Dirty Money "Last Train To Paris"

It's taken an eternity, but Dirty Money's Last Train To Paris has arrived. I perked up when I heard that Diddy was forming a group with a pair of talented ladies, one being the awesome Dawn Richard, & officially got excited when James Fauntleroy confirmed his involvement. Now, 27,864 videos later, we have the final product &, despite his obnoxious marketing techniques, Diddy's best work to date. (The physical & digital tracklistings for the album are different, so I'm using the CD's sequence.)

1. "Intro": There was no reason for Diddy to tell us what we were about to hear an entire album's worth of material about, but the music's nice.

2. "Yeah Yeah You Would" (ft. Grace Jones): Starting on a high note, very nice. Dawn/Kaleena & Grace sound excellent together. 5/5

3. "I Hate That You Love Me": Love getting to hear more of the girls. Diddy's even bearable on this one. 5/5

4. "A** On The Floor" (ft. Swizz Beatz): The ladies sound great on this one. The beat's hot too, but Swizzy should've stayed behind the desk because the hook is a mess. 4.5/5

5. "Looking For Love" (ft. Usher): Usher's a nice touch, especially on the pre-chorus. He shouldn't have completely taken the place of the girls though. 4.5/5

6. "Someone To Love Me": The train veers off track with this one. There's no musical substance, the chorus sucks, & the Dawn & Kaleena are nowhere to be found. 1/5

7. "Hate You Now": I'm back on board here though! I have a hard time believing James Fauntleroy did not have a hand in writing, vocal arranging, or even singing backup on this one. There's some influence there for sure. 5/5

8. "Yesterday" (ft. Chris Brown): Musically, this song is on-point, as is the album in general, but I definitely would've gone with the girls over Chris. 3.5/5

9. "Shades" (ft. Lil' Wayne, Justin Timberlake, Bilal, & James Fauntleroy): It should come as no surprise to you, considering that this is James Fauntleroy's first official feature, that it's my favorite track on the album. It's no coincidence though, as it's the peak of & most innovative song on the LP. There's no reason I should, but I love Lil' Wayne & Justin Timberlake's slam poetry-like offerings. Of course, James SMASHES the chorus. I could do without Bilal, but I don't really have anything against his presence either. 5/5

10. "Angels" (ft. The Notorious B.I.G. & Rick Ross): Diddy was awfully ambitious to release this (partially) James Fauntleroy-penned track as the album's lead single because it's quite the grower--even I just came around to really liking it. It really is a good song though. They should've left Rick Ross off the album version, as it was originally anyway, but the girls sound great on it, especially at the end, which is also different from the original version. 4.5/5

11. "Your Love" (ft. Trey Songz): Trey, though another unnecessary feature, isn't too bad (as much as I hate him). This one goes pretty hard..! 4/5

12. "Strobe Lights" (ft. Lil' Wayne): I either wouldn't have had Lil' Wayne feature on this song at all or wouldn't have put him at the beginning because, no matter which sequence you choose for the album, there's never a smooth transition into it. That said, the beat's sick & it's a solid track overall. 4/5

13. "Hello Good Morning" (ft. T.I.): I'm not gonna lie: I miss Nicki on this, but T.I.'s verse is good too & even though it's been the better part of a year, this song is still hot! 5/5

14. "I Know" (ft. Chris Brown, Wiz Khalifa, & Seven of RichGirl): Although it fits in with the rest of the album alright, this is essentially a Diddy ft. So-&-So song, not a Dirty Money song... do I sound like a broken record yet? Good because there's no reason to bench Dawn & Kaleena in favor of giving Chris Brown the opportunity to pout, which Lord knows I have absolutely no interest in hearing. 3/5

15. "Coming Home" (ft. Skylar Grey): I didn't like this song at first--& Skylar starting it off still bugs me--but it's been growing on me, especially because Dawn & Kaleena join her on the chorus throughout the rest of the song. It's been KILLING me not to point this out though: "A house is not a home, I hate that song. Is a house really a home when your loved ones is gone?" (beginning of the second verse) -_- He can't be serious. Has he even heard that song before?! 3.5/5

16. "Loving You No More" (ft. Drake): I don't really care for this song in isolation, but seeing as how the album ends so quickly following the jolt of life given back to it via "Hello Good Morning", I actually don't mind this being tacked onto the end (it's a hidden track on the standard edition of the CD). 2.5/5

With track ratings ranging from 1 out of 5 to 5 out of 5, you'd think that Last Train To Paris was all over the place, but, it's the strangest thing really, because it isn't. This feature or that verse from Diddy may bug me, but I can still listen to the album from beginning to end without skipping a single track & still enjoy myself, the music is that strong. As for the two bonus tracks on the deluxe edition, "Last Night Part 2" is decent, while "Change" is a throwaway. They could've included "Love Come Down" or even "I Want Your Love", but again, overall, I'm not upset with what was or wasn't included; the sequence doesn't matter either (they aren't different enough). Bottom line: Last Train To Paris is a musical triumph, especially for Diddy, moreso behind-the-scenes than in front of the mic. It's close to being almost as good as a (...yup) James Fauntleroy album would be! ;)

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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