Wednesday 5 December 2012

Tulisa - The Female Boss

The prospect of listening to 'The Female Boss' is about as thrilling as watching Tulisa perform oral sex.  If you enjoy one, it's likely you'll enjoy the other.

The album is bookended by an intro and outro, where Tulisa monologues about the "inner beauty [of]...a female boss".  Seriously?  Who allowed this drivel?  Intro is probably one of the worst most hilarious openings to an album you're likely to hear for some time.  And when it's so clearly meant to depict Tulisa as an inspirational role-model for her fans, it's rich when the following track is debut single Young on which she excuses her wrongdoings because of her youth.  'Whoops, I'm young!' - is that really the sign of a strong woman?  You can imagine Intro being played over that video played in an X-Factor style, slow-motion montage like some sort of self-help guide - "there is an inner beauty about a woman who believes in herself..."  

With 'The Female Boss', Tulisa is attempting to appear as unapologetic as Rihanna - like Young, almost every track is centered on living it up without a care in the world.  Except where Rihanna genuinely doesn't care what people think of her (or at least appears that way), Tulisa is embarrassingly self-conscious.  Each track is carefully manufactured as she strives to give the right impression, "the female boss" repeated ad nauseam from lyric to lyric to hammer home her façade.  This is a girl who can swear repeatedly on Damn, but on Live Your Life demurely sings "we don't give a what".  You can practically hear her nervous nail-biting in the background as she awaits the public reaction, so desperate for acceptance.  "I thought it was the real shit, but it was counterfeit" she sings on the imaginatively titled Counterfeit.  Didn't we all?

This release is, quite frankly, an insult to British music.  Tulisa's been lucky enough to work with some much sought-after producers, but with writing credits on each song she only has herself to blame.  British Swag in particular is an atrocity, filled with immature lyrical clichés ("I don't do cups of tea but take the Henny straight down") and grime production designed to reveal her 'urban roots'.  It's about as authentic as Cher Lloyd's Swagger Jagger, with "I know you like my accent darling" a hilarious claim.  Visa is a rejected N'Dubz song - and for good reason, though Wiley is the featured vocalist rather than Dappy.  She sings "Check my Visa...I drink whiskey not tequila" like a little girl borrowing Daddy's credit card, rather than the London gangsta she so eagerly wishes to portray.  On Foreigner she spits out "Foreigner, what you come around here for?  Foreigner, don't come knocking on my door", then later she includes the incredulous line "Dropping your bombs on me, what's the reason?".  Presumably this is a comment on the political debate between immigration and terrorism, no?

Is there a silver lining?  Hidden away in the centre is I'm Ready, a nineties inspired dance gem that's genuinely catchy.  Either side are Skeletons - on which Tulisa does Drake (not like that) - and Steal My Breath Away - sadly not a cover of the Berlin classic, but a swirling ballad where Tulisa admits she "doesn't always wanna be the boss".  Finally we get a glimpse of the vulnerable girl beneath the tattoo.

Yet even the album's best tracks are ruined by Tulisa's whiny vocal.  Make sure to give the deluxe edition a miss, unless you particularly want to hear a strangled, acoustic rendition of David Guetta's Titanium.  On the aptly titled Kill Me Tonight, Tulisa beckons us to "taste [the] flavour of [her] worst behaviour" before promising her "career gon' be wicked but my love life ain't shit, cheers".  Judging by both 'The Female Boss' and her infamous sex-tape, she's certainly got her lines crossed.


Gizzle's Choice:
* Skeletons
* I'm Ready
* Steal My Breath Away

Listen: 'The Female Boss' is available now.

Watch: Do you have to ask?