Key Tracks: “Walk the Line” “Fuck Love”
So let’s get this out of the way: it’s tough to tell who Iggy Azalea is, and who she’s trying to be. The white, Australian-born young woman channels Southern and Western American hip-hop in her music. Azalea has, for a while, been attempting to adopt a heavy rap persona. But it often feels forced, as it should for a persona whose very basis is this questionable.
“The New Classic” is not a consistent album. Opener “Walk the Line” is almost a call to arms, with Azalea’s vigorous and incendiary rapping. But it’s a momentum that isn’t kept up. A majority of the album is hybrid trap music and dance-pop, often midtempo tracks that range from great to dull. “New Bitch” has a surprisingly personal and reflective rhythm, even if the lyrics don’t match. But it’s followed by “Work,” a song very similar in tone but frustratingly less interesting. “Fuck Love” is an ending as intense as the opener, serving as strong bookends for the album, but what’s in between is wildly inconsistent.
Azalea is a talented rapper, accurately channeling her southern influences. Usually she’s forceful and dominating, but she’s introspective when she needs to be. It usually fits the music, which defies genres on some songs. “Fancy,” with Charli XCX, is almost a straight dance-pop song, where tracks like “Change Your Life” (with T.I.), is a cross between trap music and traditional hip-hop. “Goddess” is a straightforward song, but one that builds to an unexpectedly big climax.
But these crossovers don’t really fit with each other, and these better songs are bogged down with some overlong songs and some tepid ideas. The album’s inconsistency is it’s biggest fault, and one that keeps it from living up to it’s title. And knowing Azalea’s past and her attempted image, it doesn’t feel real, even if it occasionally sounds like it should. “The New Classic” marks Azalea as a talented force in hip-hop, but it also questions what exactly her placement should be.
-By Andrew McNally