Nick Cannon - White People Party Music Review
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 04.01.2014
Nick Cannon returns to music in an attempt to satire the EDM pop trend with White People Party Music! But does he make a successful comedic point or is he just trolling the charts? 411's Jeremy Thomas checks in with his full review!
1. "Looking For A Dream" (4:20)
2. "Unbelievable" (3:09)
3. "America" (ft. Pitbull) (3:59)
4. "Pajama Pants" (ft. Future & Migos) (4:18)
5. "Dance Floor" (ft. Ryan Bowers & Kehlani) (4:45)
6. "OJ" (ft. Polow Da Don & Amba Shepherd) (4:30)
7. "F'n Awesome" (3:24)
8. "Birthday Interlude" (1:15)
9. "F Your Birthday" (ft. DJ Class & Fatman Scoop) (4:06)
10. "Stadium" (3:22)
11. "Peteís Rap" (1:12)
12. "Me Sexy" (4:07)
13. "White Lady" (3:45)
14. "Feel The Music" (ft. Colette Carr) (2:54)
15. "So Turnt Up" (3:48)
16. "F Nick Cannon" (3:52)
17. "Famous" (ft. Akon) (4:12)
Nick Cannon has been referred to by some (not myself) as a renaissance man in reference to his many jobs. The man many know as Mr. Mariah Carey has several professional hats; he's the host of America's Got Talent, an actor, a stand-up comedian, a deejay and a rapper. But does he do any of them well? That's a really good question. It's certainly a difficult question to answer in terms of his music, considering it's been over eleven years since we got our last LP from him. That was his debut, 2003's self-titled album, which earned a collective shrug from critics and scored a minor hit in "Gigolo." Since that time, Cannon has been focused on other projects and the occasional celebrity feud, most notably with Eminem, and has been diagnosed with the kidney disease lupus nephritis. He's not letting that slow him down though, and he has returned to the music scene with White People Party Music, an album which seeks to combine his comedic talents with his musical aptitude.
And let's get this very clear right from the get-go, folks: White People Party Music is intended to be a satirical album. This is an attempt to lampoon the EDM craze that is making its way through pop music; when announcing the album, Cannon noted that he has a separate crate of music for white people, saying, "When itís time to turn the party up, you put on the white people party music. That fist pumping, all of that." Add in his controversial whiteface stunt on Twitter where he took on the persona of "Conner Smallnuts" and it's abundantly clear that Cannon is using this album to roast the trend of mainstream pop toward EDM. It's actually more accurate, I think, to say that, whatever his intentions, he's actually trolling EDM fans. Because for an album to be comedic, it has to be funny and there isn't anything really humorous about this album.
Does that mean there's nothing that inspires laughter? Not at all. Just about every song on this album is laughably bad, starting with the opening track "Looking For a Dream." This track follows the usual pattern of such songs: stereotypical uplifting electro-tones and a repeated chorus ("I must be looking for a dream") before dropping into a rap verse over a synthesized beat into the upbeat chorus. It's a pattern anyone who listens to pop music knows and he creates an accurate facsimile of the trend the way a parodist might. So why doesn't it work in terms of humor? The answer is simple: it doesn't try to point out just how ridiculous it is. Instead it plays it straight and tries to pass itself off as a serious effort at a song. It's not funny, it's just adorably terrible.
And that's the way the rest of the album goes. "Unbelievable" is a sunny, Auto-Tuned piece of nonsense that uses canned beats and banal lyrics like "I don't know Astrology, but baby, I saw the signs." It's almost literally indistinguishable from an LMFAO song and I would challenge anyone to be able to recognize this as anything but an attempt to manufacture a hit piece of soulless pop. And then the album hits a low point with "America," which features verses from Pitbull. The result is a song that legitimately sounds like a Pitbull song. That's the one saving grace of this over-the-top, intolerable piece of musical torture; it managed not only to toll EDM but to troll the very artist featured on the track.
Another thing undercutting the potential humor behind the album is the number of tracks present. You can get your laughs out with a few tracks and indeed, it would be a solid parody concept to have cut this to something like eight tracks in order to riff on the idea that albums today are bereft of the epic length that some of the great albums of yore have attained. Instead he throws out a variety of tracks, none of which work. On "Pajama Pants" he gets off to an okay start with a silly bit with a white girl talking about her "wooty" and how it sticks out. But then it falls into an unlistenable crunked-up pop mess featuring Future and Migos. At least on this one you can hear the parody elements more clearly, but it's still terrible. That's the other key of humor that he's missing; in order to make a comedy album you need to make songs that listeners are still capable of wanting to listen to. If you just assemble the worst elements of music into one torturous mess than you have a torturous album.
And that's the way the whole LP goes, sludging its way through painful numbers like the slow jam mess of "Dance Floor" and the embarrassing club banger "OJ" that includes the refrain "You can run as fast as you can, but you're never gonna catch me" as sung by Amba Shepherd. It's at least a nod toward the idea of offensive analogies, and that's sort of appreciated but nothing else on it is worth a listen. "F'n Awesome" is dull and uninspired and the requisite interlude skits drive the point home with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. It's as if they're in there to remind you that Cannon is indeed trying to be funny. One of them, "Pete's Rap," is the true low point on the album as it tries to riff on substanceless rappers but doesn't quite realize that less can be more.
If there's a "high point" on the album it would be the lead single "Me Sexy," which is the one that manages to get a few fingers onto the concept of satire. It's not completely impossible to listen to from start to finish and it plays on the idea of repeating the same lyrics over and over as a song. It's certainly not a good track though. The rest of the album just muddles its way through its misbegotten concept without quality or successful satire until the abysmal "F Nick Cannon," which tries to take a sound bite of someone speaking an uncensored version of the title and turns it into a battle cry and bragging point; the idea, as the lyrics go, is that "They just made because their bitches wanna" and then the sound bite in question. This is the ultimate statement of the album; the ultimate in musical trolling. And that doesn't make for a good album in any definition.
Standout Tracks: None.
Skippable: All of them, but particularly "Pete's Rap" and "America"
The 411: Nick Cannon proves on White People Party Music why it's a good thing that he has been out of the music game for a good long while. While he ostensibly tries to make some points about the state of mainstream music today and the dilution of many genres into one indistinguishable soup of awfulness, Cannon decides instead to troll listeners to terrible results. Certainly he will say that critics simply don't understand what he's trying to do, but it's not hard to figure out. The problem is that he doesn't do it in any way that makes it worth a listen. This is a strong first-quarter contender for the worst album of the year and manages to show how much of a failure Cannon is as a musician and a comedian.