Originally published in Time Out Chicago magazine: TOC | Amanda Blank
I LOVE YOU
ghet•to \ get-õ \ n+ boo• ty \büt-ê\n
Booty music isn’t usually serious. In fact, it’s best when it leaves earnestness by the wayside, letting its fuck-all attitude shine. So from the jump, something’s slightly askew in Amanda Blank’s debut album, I Love You. A ghetto-flow love song seems inherently at odds with itself.
The saucy Philly MC can count raw-edged MCs and producers such as Diplo, M.I.A. and Spank Rock among her confidantes and promisingly locked down XXXChange, Eli Escobar, Switch and Diplo to produce her tracks. With these heavyweights behind her, she comes out strong with the Ting Tings–esque garage-punk of “Make It Take It,” where she spells out, “I know you want it / Just because I own it.” Backed up by XXXChange’s retro bounce, this is the sort of bombast we’d expect. Similarly, on the lead single, “Might Like You Better,” Blank spits, “Don’t waste my time / Just take me home.” Again, no bull there. It’s minimal electro, hilariously sexed up, and it kills in the club.
The problem here is that Blank—who fronts as if she couldn’t care less—includes generic commentary on the trials of being a modern woman, presumably to show her more somber side. From “Make-Up,” where she derides the idea of having to look good for her man, to the “Don’t remind me / I need love” chorus of “A Love Song,” Blank seems to invoke these subjects because they’re typical pop-song fodder, not because she genuinely feels the need to look good and become a wifey. She should’ve just stuck to getting laid. With this expertly produced yet cookie-cutter album, “blank” may be the most telling signifier.
- Joshua P. Ferguson