I've been waiting for Broke With Expensive Taste since I was in high school, and in the time it's taken for the album to be released, I've started my junior year of college, watched as she's started feuds with everyone, and witnessed another spelling, Azalea, take over the fashion rap world.
On Thursday, Banks pulled a Beyoncé and surprise released her long awaited Broke With Expensive Taste. If you can remember back this far, the phenomenal "212" was released in September of 2011, and Banks began working on her debut album that fall. She announced its title in February of 2012. Releasing a mixtape, an EP, and a few new tracks in the meantime, she also managed to get into feuds with Perez Hilton, Angel Haze, Baauer, and TI. She also feuded with multiple record companies, and now, finally, Broke With Expensive Taste is available on iTunes.
I'm inclined to dislike this album, since Banks hasn't exactly been easy to root for. But damn if the album isn't worth it. It's meticulous, and the production on nearly every song is perfect. She takes a lot of risks, most of which pay off, embracing her creepy and cute sides from track to track. Listen to it, and listen to it loud, and if you want to know which songs to listen to first, here's an idea.
1. "Idle Delilah"
Everything about the opening track is perfect. The lyrics, her singing, her rap, the choppy samples. Everything. It's a triumphant return.
"Desperado" has a sexy, vintage feel that fits well into the overall vibe of the album. Banks tweeted that it's "the espresso jam. It's for the sophisticated caffeine drinker. For the commuter in all of you." I feel it.
It's really hard to review this song objectively. I've probably heard it over 100 times since it was released. However, it's a testament to its greatness that I didn't skip when I heard it on the album. And I'm inclined to appreciate the irony, all these years later, of her asking "why you procrastinate, girl?"
This one sounds like Disclosure, which is a good thing always, and it features the only guest appearance on the album, from Theophilius London. It's a fantastic, slightly ominous track.
5. "Yung Rapunxel"
This is still such a creepy song, which has an incredibly creepy video. And I mean that in the best way possible. The thunder effects are almost too much. Almost.
Though also previously released, the escalation of this song is so sexy. It's such a great beat while she sings "all my bad bitches do it."
7. "Miss Amor"
This is classic Azealia. Roll those rrrrrs.
8. "Heavy Metal and Reflective"
I tend to most appreciate Azealia when she's really threatening and angry, and the super trappy beat alongside her bold rap are the perfect accompaniment to her assertion that she's "heavy metal and reflective."
Her rap on this track is my favorite in the album I think. But I'm taking some points off for the weird dog whimpering at the end.
10. "Ice Princess"
As the name implies, this song is sinister and sweet in the perfect way. However, I'm not a huge fan of the really poppy, Madonna-esque chorus.
This one's pretty cute for a song that contains the lyric "I'm trying to survive the night, I might die." Sadly, there isn't any rap at all.
12. "Gimme A Chance"
This song seems a little too silly at the beginning, but I like the Spanish at the end.
13. "Chasing Time"
A lot of "Chasing Time" seems like a pretty generic pop song, with the chorus boringly announcing "I'm born to dance in the moonlight." Maybe she's trying to make a radio hit.
With a generic beat coming at the end of what I consider a pop slump in the album, this song sounds like Fame Monster Lady Gaga, which I don't think anyone's nostalgic for yet.
15. "Miss Camaraderie"
The album closer is sadly pretty little forgettable.
16. "Nude Beach a Go-Go"
Singing over an Ariel Pink song, I have no idea why Banks felt the need for a surfer jam on her debut. "Teenage Verona, sippin' Coca-Cola..." No.
Seriously, regardless of how you feel about Azealia Banks, give this album a listen. I dare you not to dance.
Images: Giphy (17)