ALBUM REVIEW: AZEALIA BANKS - BROKE WITH EXPENSIVE TASTE - 7.8
BitCandy Rating: 7.8
A lot has happened regarding Azealia Banks since she first exploded on the scene with her insanely catchy debut single, “212,” and mesmerizing mermaid hair. Her EP, 1991, and Fantasea mixtape helped curb our appetites a little (but then again, 1991 only sold roughly 20,000 copies in the US despite the insane amount of hype that we discussed in this video), but after two years of Twitter shenanigans and eventually being dropped by her label, I think we all kind of gave up. But luckily, homegirl decided to pull a Beyonce and surprise-drop her first full length album, Broke With Expensive Taste, on iTunes just as we were about to completely give up.
But before you listen, let me set the mood here— Pretend you’re back in 2012 and have just heard “212” for the first time. You’re completely obsessed with the track’s quirky beat and black and white video, and eager to hear whatever Ms. Banks releases next. Remember, there haven’t been any annoying Twitter fights yet to distract you from her music, so overall, most of your thoughts towards her have been relatively positive. Got it? Okay, then now you are ready to finally give her long (and I mean long) awaited album a listen.
AZEALIA BANKS - GIMME A CHANCE
Most of the album features everything we’d expect from the 23 year old -- It's packed with 90s house nostalgia, tropical beats, and fierce, tongue twisting verses that quickly remind you why everyone was so obsessed with her in the first place. The opening track, “Idle Delilah,” sets the tone for the album as its packed with all of the above. She keeps the energy up with “Gimme A Chance” while reminding us that she’s not afraid to do the unexpected. The track is packed with big horns, hi-hats, and a funky bass breakdown that I can’t get enough of.
AZEALIA BANKS - HEAVY METAL AND REFLECTIVE
“Heavy Metal And Reflective” may not be technically new (she independently released it as a single a few months ago), but it's totally worth mentioning. Featuring a drum machine beat, claps, and deep synths, this track is the perfect soundtrack for you getting you pumped up for your day. Plus, it features some lyrics that are just plain rad (“Guest list/ I be PYT you Billie Jean/ you been that ex bitch” and “I be looking very jiggle jello in them dresses” are my personal faves).
AZEALA BANKS - CHASING TIME
“Chasing Time” is full of everything that I found intriguing about Azealia in the first place. Featuring a wonderfully 90s R&B sound, it's packed with insanely scattered drums, bright synths, and her blend of singing and rapping that makes up her signature style. The chorus is catchy and easy to sing along with, making it a perfect contender for a single and I’d love to see a video for it.
AZEALA BANKS - ICE PRINCESS
“Ice Princess” is a little more low-key at first, as it features chimes that sound like a creepy music box before throwing itself into an upbeat, 90s-house beat. “Young Rapunxel” is another track that we’re already familiar with, but it's awesome to finally experience it in its proper home. Tracks like “Soda” and “Nude Beach A-Go-Go” are deliciously quirky, as “Soda” features a bubblegum pop-style chorus that I’m totally in love with (“Sprite I love the mosta/ I ride roller coasters/ I try all the cultures”). “Nude Beach A-Go-Go” is definitely worth hearing -- besides featuring Ariel Pink himself (the track also appears on his new album, pom pom), it has a has a 60s, surf-pop vibe that switches things up and reminds us that she likes to think outside the box.
Over all, there may not be a song that completely trumps “212,” but it's definitely a solid collection of material that proves she has a lot to offer. The anticipation was (mostly) worth the wait.
About Erin Crider
Erin Crider eats, breathes, and sleeps pop culture. If you have a question about a one-hit wonder from the ‘90s or need help remembering lines from a SNL skit, she’s your girl. When she isn’t lurking the internet, she's either going to a show or hanging out at Disneyland. Erin lives in Southern California and has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Cal State Long Beach.