This takes me back to my teens. I’m not going to lie I was a big fan of N-Dubz back in the day however I realised how cheesy they were. However I can never say I ever got the urge to listen to their full album let alone buy it. So today I am reviewing their 3rd album before going on hiatus and all trying solo careers. I know very few of the songs on this album. This album also came at the height of their pop sound and a lot of street edge was mostly gone.
With a song to start of the intro you get a full blast of 2010 in your face. With the cheesy piano laden pop backing. Oddly Dappy raps about how life can be hard and name checks Gaza and Basra. Honestly these are not the people I come to for social commentary. It sounds like the snippet of a song that did not make it onto the album.
Before I play the song for myself I’m not going to lie I was a massive fan of this song back in the day. It still should be on my iTunes somewhere however I have not listened to it in a while so here we go. (Three Minutes Later) Well the autotune use on this is criminal. However as much I enjoy there are many flaws. This song came out at the height of their crossover appeal the pop cheese that infects this track is serious. And the chorus kills any street credibility they thought they still had at this point. On a positive note Fazer’s productions here though cheesy is quite good.
Took It All Away
With a distorted guitar starting the track I was not sure to expect with this track. Another track about breaking up. This is a solid track. Tulisa and Dappy have great interplay on songs. Also Tulisa sounds much better when she has to go the straight pop route and not try to edge to her lyrics. Producer Zero Gravity helps Fazer on this track as it still sound like a pop track but that guitar in the back really brings it together. Also there is a guitar solo as the outro never thought I’d be saying those words
Living for the Moment
Listen here folks this is what happens when you overuse autotune. This makes it sound like Tulisa can’t sing. And to be honest the chorus isn’t great, the way she is singing it making worry that they needed overdubbing and autotune to cover. Dappy raps are serviceable for this track. Also I am not a fan of this beat either it’s just far too American and generic. Tulisa’s verse on the other hand is a highlight of the track and is possibly one of her best verses. Fazer has a quite good verse showcasing his underrated rap skills. The track really picks up in the second half.
Love Live Life
This is a generic 2011 dance track with Tulisa singing the vocals. It barely counts as an N-Dubz track. Not surprisingly the producers on this are free school. The amalgamation of electronic songwriters and producers which just seems like a suggestion from the label. The song is soulless and boring
Scream My Name
So shockingly Fazer actually begins this track. His verse has absolutely nothing to do with anything. The chorus seems a random inspirational chorus. Dappy’s verse also has nothing to do with anything either. I’m so confused also both verses are like 8 bars long the chorus is double that. I’m sensing laziness as none of the elements of the song sound right they just sound like they were pressed for time nd grabbed a random chorus and random lyrics.
Toot it And Boot It Ft YG
What? I looked at the track list and had to double-check. This was the first YG song I ever heard but I did not realise N-Dubz had a version let alone on their album. Also this track was penned by Ty Dolla $ign. I love this song also Dappy holds his own on this version. You learn something new every day.
Skit ft Fearless
This is a formula that works just give Dappy a fast-moving beat and let him go. It is songs like this that reminds people still has bars. This is just a showcase for Dappy and fearless. This fearless guy is really good it’s a shame nothing happened with him as he has bars. Good hard track
This is a Tulisa solo track. Like I said earlier Tulisa had the potential to be a proper pop start if she had stayed straight pop like this track. This is where she excels as her vocals lend themselves well to this type of music. It’s such a shame as she had it all there in front of her to be big. The song is decent the chorus is really catchy and you might catch yourself singing along.
A completely different sound however that is not surprising as the Don Skepta produced this track. The beat is dark and interesting. Skepta has never disappointed with his verses. This is a good song in which everyone brings their A games. Fazer especially rises to the occasion as he shows he can rap much better than he usually shows. From what he has said interviews that whenever he is in a room with other MC’s especially grime MC’s he raises his level.
I hate this song. I hated it then I hate it now. The reason is sonically it sounds horrible. From the bullshit lyrics to the generic beat to the droning autotune chorus
This is dance party song. The song itself is decent. Both Dappy and Tulisa are great on the track however the song doesn’t say anything about anything. The beat is probably the most interesting about the song as you could listen to it alone without the vocals
Another Free school production and another generic soulless pop song. My god do these guys just suck the personality of songs. I’ve decided how to describe their production
Bonus track – We Dance On
Ah who could this gem of a song? I absolutely hate this song. A song about generic song about standing up for something. I hate everything this song stands for. Also how dare you use Pachelbel’s Canon in D like that and think it is ok. One journalist for the BBC likened the bridge to BOB FUCKING MARLEY! I kind of hope the guy got fired. Just joking but seriously though Bob Marley. This song sounds like it was written by a group of executives looking at spreadsheets.
This Album received mixed reviews at the time and that is so true. This album has shining moments then it is also littered with crap. However after listening to interviews and just generally being a fan for years this album just scream label meddling. The both songs that were penned by Free School are no surprise a label idea as that year they were on fire with Nearly everyone in that camp winning some kind of ASCAP which is the songwriter awards. Therefore from a labels point of view if they pay these record producers for track they will get instant hits. Unfortunately these tracks have nothing in them other than standard pop formula. I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave them tracks on a memory pen and told them to add vocals.
Around this time there was talk in the media of Tulisa being the breakout star of the group as she had been in Dubplate Drama and other acting gigs. She had also been announced as the new judge on the X-Factor in May of 2011. I never understood this as she was always the expendable one of the group. However you can see the potential for her to be a breakout star on this album
I think the biggest surprise on the album is how better N-Dubz work better themselves than with other producers.
Overall an ok album. To be honest at this point a hiatus was best for their careers because both Dappy and Tulisa had ambitions of solo stuff. For Tulisa it was to be a popstar, for Dappy it was just to make his own music. Also at this point Fazer was first being burnt out as the primary songwriter and producer and second he needed to step back from N-Dubz as his production work and rapping ability were both quite underrated when he was in the group.
So it is 2016 and honestly with the legal trouble all three have been through in the five years since breaking up I honestly think now is the time for them to get back together. Fazer is going to release new solo stuff soon so I am for one looking forward to that.
Flow – 7.5/10
Lyricism – 6/10
Beats/ Production – 7/10
Songcraft – 7.5/10
Concept/ Originality 7/10