|Diamond in the Dirt||2004||1.81/pi|
Personnel: Shystie: shystiness.
What a mess.
The album gets off on entirely the wrong foot with “Intro Skit”, a two minute poetry recital that the average 15 year old would be embarrassed to put up on her Livejournal. Unfortunately, the album is slow to recover. The maudlin “One Wish”, with its sobbing “you don’t know what I’ve been through / so how can you judge me??” chorus, practically begs the listener to shut the album off in disgust. The song later turned out not to have been a lost cause—the remix from the Run the Road comp holds up very well, freshened up by a new context and stripped of the original’s melodramatic production.
Unfortunately, “One Wish” isn’t the only track here hurt by terrible sequencing and ill-considered pop compromises. Arguably the worst stretch is the middle section. “Questions” can’t seem to decide whether to be a skit or a song, and so it winds up as a tragic 6-minute novelty track in the dreaded hip hoprah talk show format. Then we take a dive into two consecutive songs of syrupy grime&b. OH GOD THE PAIN. “Bank Robbery” seems to be an attempt to reclaim the album’s thug “edge” before it’s too late, but…it’s too late. It comes off every bit as overbearing and fake as the preceding schlock.
The worst is over at this point, and the rest of the album is actually fairly solid. But the damage has been done. The good half of the album sure isn’t any hidden gold mine of brilliant material. I like “Step Bac” quite a bit, and there are a few other enjoyable tracks, but with an album as deeply flawed as this one, it’s hard to work up much enthusiasm for songs that manage merely not to collapse under their own weight.
Shystie still may have a bright future ahead of her, but she needs to think very hard about how she ended up releasing this thing.