Blazin Squad – Now Or Never

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Album Review by EDF

A strange thing happened while trying to review this album; my MusicMatch player refused to play the new Blazin’ Squad CD. Now I know that this is not any sort of appropriate excuse to get out of reviewing this, ah, masterpiece, but I can only assume that the powers that be must have had a hand in this. Undeterred, I attempted to use the RealOne player and even that refused to play this CD. What’s going on? Is somebody playing tricks on me? Are Blazin’ Squad’s record label purposely sending out faulty CD copies to review? Surely not.

Alas, it’s third time (un) lucky as my Windows Media Player reads the CD – mental note to delete the player off my computer. So onward to this mature, according to the press release, album that finds these nine MC’s and one DJ working with American producers to embrace the hip-hop sound that was evidently lacking on their last album. Could it be that they are ashamed of the home scene so they had to go and recruit non-UK producers to sound both commercial and indistinctive?

The opening track is essentially the nine MC’s at a party on HERE 4 ONE, hideously mixing an oriental sounding hook line with opera. BIGGEST FAN is your standard melodic R&B track with the standard rap breakdown. I suppose it is all necessary to prove that you can be “your man” to your “biggest fan”. Lucky guy. The album’s first single FLIP REVERSE still does not do much for me and neither does the unexcitable RIDE, the sort of song that has been done countless times before, as we all know that the lyrics are not about going for drive in a car. STILL THINKING ABOUT YOU features some well-polished chorus harmonies mixed in with naff rap verses. The best track here is also the funniest, unfortunately the message that NO ANGELS is trying to put across is let down by one of the worst choruses I’ve ever heard and this drags down the rest of the track.

Oh listen, this is quite clever, let’s put the piano part from The Commodores EASY over this here ballad so that STOP will be released as a future single. Stop, really, this is killing me because this track features one of the funniest deliveries of a rap line, “forget drugs, you’re my ecstasy” that you will ever hear. The rest of the album is about bump n grind on SHORTY, GIRLS, BABY IT’S THE WEEKEND, destroying a Marc Bolan sample on REVOLUTION and issues that are close to the group’s heart, ALL WE WANNA DO IS RAP and LIFE’S A STRUGGLE.

It is hard to say whether the kids will like this and there are times while listening to this, yes I really did listen from start to finish, that my mind would aimlessly drift off. The concept of the Blazin’ Squad is novel and in the present pop environment they are a marketing department’s dream. But as we’ve seen with the likes of So Solid Crew, these large numbered groups do not last very long. The really talented members will be the first to break out. Listening to this, the Squad still very much function as a group but collectively they are as faceless and devoid of personality like most other boy or girl groups. Right now they are here to stay and if they had any sense they would start planning where they want to be two years from now. A below average album from a faceless collective.

1 star