Uffie - Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans
Mon 31st May, 2010 Music Reviewsin
I should get this out of the way before hand and preface this review by saying that I was, and maybe there’s still a part of me that wants to be, an Uffie fan. I was one of the people who back in 2006 thought the Pop The Glock single was a pretty incredible experiment into poppy, electronic hipster rap for Ed Banger and I also thought that Uffie was an interesting artist with an even more interesting mystique. Of course, this was in 2006 before Uffie’s boobs were a regular fixture on Hipster Runoff and her cult of personality was bigger than her artistic output. Also, like I said, this was 2006, and now Uffie’s debut album, Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans, has arrived four years later in 2010, a bafflingly absurd lead in time. So now that it’s here, everyone who still cares is wondering if it’s the ultimate culmination of Uffie’s initial promise or, rather, if it’s just a case of far too little coming far too late.
It’s not much of a surprise to confirm that it is indeed the latter with Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans. Let’s face it, this album should’ve come out in 2008 at the latest, when Uffie still had some momentum from some good singles, when Ed Banger was still at its peak, and before dreaded opportunists like Ke$ha swooped in, jacked her style and turned it into some cringeworthy chart-pop trash.
But more than that, Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans disappoints on its content. It’s always been a criticism of Uffie that she’d be nothing without the producers throwing golden beats at her and that’s never more true than on this record. Assembling a group of some of Ed Banger’s all stars including Mr Oizo, ex-squeeze Feadz and SebastiAn as well as the always on point Frenchman Mirwais, Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans has some real fiery talent pushing hard behind it, it’s only let down by Uffie and her limitations as a vocalist/rapper/singer/whatever.
Indeed, it’d be almost wiser to treat this disc as the next installment of the Ed Rec compilation series, as after a quiet year and a bit from the French label it just sounds really good to hear these great producers together and hitting their marks with ease like it’s 2007 again. In particular Feadz’s Give It Away with its curveball synth-pop production stands out amongst the bunch, as does Oizo’s funked-up Neuneu.
Elsewhere, the addition of Mirwais to the fold comes off as an inspired choice, with the former Madonna producer bringing his natural firepower to tracks like the hazy glitterati joint ADD SUV ft. Pharrell and Illusion of Love ft. Mattie Safer and its languid, building atmosphere.
But no matter how good the beats are, you can’t help but get the feeling whilst listening to Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans that it’s all for nought and Uffie’s moment has already passed. Part of that could because the record is burdened with too much old material, with Brand New Car and the once ground-breaking Pop The Glock sounding pretty dated – only the Oizo produced J-pop ballad First Love survives strong. But it also comes down to Uffie herself. Where once there seemed to be a woman with some energy and bite, Uffie now seems almost timid, never sounding completely confident or comfortable, making it glaringly apparent that she somehow managed to fall arse-backwards onto a goldmine of great beats.
Perhaps because of this Uffie’s producers throw the stylistic kitchen sink at Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans, mixing classic Ed Banger electronic joints with lush synth-pop on Give It Away, the twisted sampletronica of Our Song, and even The Velvet Underground biting garage rock title track which Uffie sings on. Hell, there’s even a cover Hong Kong Garden by Siouxsie & The Banshees which sounds tight despite its confusing inclusion. In short, Uffie tries her hand at everything here, doing none of it particularly well.
Over on the grandstanding Oizo glitch-out Art Of Uff, Uffie opens the track with an address to her detractors, saying “guess what? Me and my stupid flow, me and my MySpace with only three tracks a year, and they still talk about me? Damn.” Whilst that may’ve been the case in the four years up until Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans, the curtain’s been lifted now and even a staunch Uffie supporter like myself can see the depressing reality behind it. It’s time to move on, and I know I won’t be alone in doing so.
Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans is scheduled for a June release through Ed Banger and Warner Music.