Goldmind / Atlantic
The problem with disappearing in this age is someone arrives to take your place. Much as I’ve missed Missy over the last decade and a bit (nearly 15 years since her last full album, only a handful of singles and collaborations to satiate) I’ve seen Azealia Banks come and go and implode, I’ve got Lizzo for right now (even though she wants no critics whatsoever and sure as fuck, therefore, does not need or want me) and I’ve had all sorts of other things to grab on to (Tierra Whack) or let drift by (Ciara). And I’ve still got the masterpieces Missy (and Timbaland) created in the late 90s and (particularly) the early 00s.
So it’s a lot to expect when you hear there’s a comeback.
And it’s about the headline-grab – which Missy nailed with a surprise-announcement. Basically: Tonight. Get Your New Missy On.
But it’s not an album – just an EP. And in 14 minutes she tells you at the start of each track “this is a Missy Elliott exclusive” (a, dur!) which feels borderline-churlish in an age of steal and stream. Then the final song is just an a cappella of the fourth song – so it’s really just 11.5 minutes of new music.
Anyway, is it any good? Most Missy fans will want to believe it is – or are just happy it exists.
There’s enough here for the hardcore perhaps. But only just.
The phrasing of the opening track (Throw It Back) is vintage Elliott. And fun. It’s got a great video (a Missy Elliott stock-in-trade) and it’s pretty good. There’s a bounce and grind to the beat and the right vibe.
But by Cool Off, track two, it feels like she’s already running out of steam, boasting about “doing shit you ain’t never seen” while sounding like a copy of all that copied her.
From there it’s ditch anything resembling hip-hop and go full R’n’B. DripDemeanor is great though. It brings back the dirty-Prince era. And it has Missy pulling out classic Missy lines: “I open up my candy shop, my panties drop/ You see what I got/ The strawberries and berries, them chocolates nice/ All in the box.” Sum1 is the guest vocalist, Timbaland is back on production. In short, this is fucking fantastic.
But just as we’re really starting to get going we stop. Why I Still Love You is landfill-doo-wop, something Lizzo would have killed, but Missy can’t chop.
Then we get the same song in a mild remix.
Look, as a taster and teaser, and a reminder, there’s something there. I’d just like there to be more. And more of it – before too long…
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