Volume 94, Issue 81
Thursday, February 15, 2001
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
O-Town more than musical prodigies
Taking a leap out of the television world and into the real one, O-Town is more than an artificially inseminated creature which recently burped up the debut album, O-Town.
Fathered by former *NSync and Backstreet Boys guru Lou Pearlman, O-Town's record is quite impressive material for such a teen-pop science project.
The opening track, "Liquid Dreams," is an up-tempo number with the similar flowery harmonies and dreamy rhythms that attract the pop-teen traffic. Then they sing to a, "Shy Girl," saying that she is beautiful and shouldn't be afraid for this reason. If the message that they are "Sensitive" wasn't clear enough, by the time "Baby I Would" rolls around they are also "All for Love".
The contemporary pop culture references throughout the album are the only distinguishing feature of the group. The rest is sugary-sweet love anthems with slanting lyrics and a few interesting moments.
While the new band has had its future mapped out even before birth, not everything can be carefully constructed to make things work. Their fate lies in the hearts of pre-pubescent America, who have the power to turn O-Town into Hick-Ville.
Originally part of the hip hop duo Mobb Deep, Prodigy and partner Havoc have cemented their place in the hip hop game. However, Prodigy's first individual release, H-N-I-C, proves to be the ultimate test for this East Coast guru of gangsta rap.
Following the high expectations of the record, it's a little disappointing. Prodigy has a truly signature style of deep bass grooves and masterful delivery, but ultimately there doesn't seem to be any originality to this album that truly sparks a fire in the imagination of the listener.
On the positive side, are the clever skits strategically placed throughout the release. They are attention grabbers and deliver quite a dose of reality. For example, "Littles" is a poetic depiction of life in the hood.
Also, to offer lyrical support, Prodigy brings some featured co-stars to the mix. The second half of the Mobb Deep duo, Havoc makes an appearance, as well as other notable artists like N.O.R.E.
Overall, the album can be best described as pure ear and mind twisting pleasure and pain. This is a pretty good solo effort by Prodigy, but perhaps the best idea for him is to stick with a partner in the rap game.
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