June 4, 2009

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Lady Sovereign, Jigsaw
Midget Records, April 7

My my my, what a mess. Everyone needs to stop and shut up a second about this victim of American honky-hip-hop blog-ignorance, even if it’s largely her fault for failing to control a single thread of her own marketing people’s info-stream. For the too-old-for-TRL crowd, Lady Sovereign isn’t an official midget (she’s 5’1, meaning she could go 12 rounds with more than half the heavy metal guitarists out there) nor a Sporty Spice clone (she has nicely rounded apple-cheeks that, yeah, are sometimes framed by pigtails, so what).

And for the benefit of avclub.com younglings who think Taking Back Sunday invented punk rock, she is, or was, whatever, a bit financially screwed (“Pennies” isn’t art, it’s existential crisis intervention), and is adamantly, positively, madly not a grime artist as of this sophomore album (this thing makes Black Eyed Peas look like Dizzee Rascal). With only a couple of bona-fide flows — but full-up with sketchy vocoder, instantly gratifying choruses and marginally inventive vocal-sample loops — nearly all the songs are begging to be ruined by dangerously overrated house DJs. No, she’s not yet gone Lily Allen — note the goose-honk vocals on “I Got You Dancing” and the sideways she-fighter shout to MF Doom in “Food Fight,” signs that Sov is getting a few chuckles here and there — but it’s doubtful that that train will end up running late. Meantime, dance-pop with a lethal overdose of sass? What the hell’s wrong with that? AEric W. Saeger