Fergie, Double Dutchess | Album Review
Urban-pop/hip-hop artist Fergie returns with her long-awaited sophomore album, ‘Double Dutchess,’ following an eleven-year hiatus.
Comebacks can happen. Numerous artists have been ‘out of the game’ for years and returned strong. That’s not always the case, but it can happen. One thing for sure has finally happened – Fergie returning with her highly-anticipated sophomore album, Double Dutchess. Double Dutchess has been a long-time coming, arriving 11 years after the jam-packed The Dutchess! Lots has changed since the days of “Fergalicious,” sigh. Nonetheless, now the 42-year old attempts to reclaim her throne. The result is an album that is a mixed bag.
An album opener needs to make a statement and be dramatic. That’s exactly what “Hungry” does, setting the tone for Double Dutchess. Fergie drops hard-nosed rhymes, showcasing her infectious personality. Rick Ross gets in on the action during the second verse, a perfect match for the tough-minded production work. He plays off the same sensibilities as Fergie does – being ambitious and “hungry.” All in all, it’s enjoyable, not the second coming.
“Like it Ain’t Nuttin’” is chocked full of attitude and of course, profanity. The best way to describe it is like a past Fergie song – clumsy. Once more, she showcases her ‘rap skills,’ lifting a famous Wu-Tang line during the first verse. Of course, she also encourages self-stimulation, for whatever reason… throwing that sex in there. Enjoyable, but certainly NOT game changing. Take it with a grain of salt.
“You Already Know”
On “You Already Know,” Fergie continues showcases her big personality and voice. Of course, there’s the rapping. Undeniably, corny rhymes or not, she has a nice flow. This record is over-the-top. Regarding those rhymes, Fergie doesn’t spit anything game changing or transcendent. Neither does her featured guest, Nicki Minaj. The production is ear-catching, if overdone. All in all, it’s a fun, infectious, big-fat mess that falls short of being elite.
While “Just Like You” features some great production cues, it begins abruptly, in off-putting fashion. Fergie doesn’t begin singing from the jump, but it feels as if the instrumental into has been clipped – shortchanged. Vocally, she sounds solid. The biggest rub here is the flawed nature of the song itself. “A Little Work,” likewise, has its fair share of moments – commanding vocals and thoughtful messaging. The personal nature gives Double Dutchess more maturity. It’s imperfect, but Fergie deserves some credit, flaws and all.
“Life Goes On”
“Life Goes On” opens with the same vibe as “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” It’s not quite a copycat, but it’s obvious what Fergie is going for initially. The record combines slick hip-hop drums and the electro- pop ‘bag of tricks.’ She delivers respectable vocals throughout, particularly on the chorus. The bridge contrasts the verse and refrain respectably. Finally, the third verse is a gimmicky, schmaltzy rap. Typical. Ultimately, “Life Goes On” has its moments.
“M.I.L.F. $” marked a risqué, unapologetic return for Fergie in 2016. She knew exactly what she was doing with “M.I.L.F. $,” delivering a record that thrives off of sex. It’s a quirky joint that’s gimmicky to the nth degree. To an extent there’s a sense of desperation – overexertion if you will. Nonetheless, it’s in line with the type of artist Fergie has shown herself to be throughout her career. Take it with a grain of salt.
“Save it Til Morning”
“Save it Til Morning,” like “Life Goes On” has the same vibe as – wait for it – “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” Just listen to the opening acoustic guitar accompaniment – copycat! Even though Fergie copies and pastes, she steps up her game from the shameful, raunchy “M.I.L.F. $.” Still, this is quite the about face after throwing that degree of sex to the audience. Nonetheless, the personal, emotional vibes of “Save it Til Morning” shouldn’t be written off.
“Enchanté (Carine) brings her son, Axl Jack into the mix. This has become common practice these days – ask DJ Khaled or Jay-Z. The song itself is merely average – forgettable. There is clear sexual tension on “Tension.” The innuendo is turned up to the nth degree. Fergie forces the sex down your throat – no pun intended. Okay, okay, there’s a pun, but essentially, she seems very focused on her mouth and throat. Shameful subject matter aside, the groove is infectious and it’s enjoyable.
“L.A.LOVE (la la)”
“L.A.LOVE (la la),” in its original form, arrived back in 2014. It went nowhere. Here, it makes the album, surprisingly, enlisting an assist from YG. Revisiting “L.A.LOVE (la la),” the verdict is much more effective compared to its arrival. YG provides a lift, furthering the pleasantry. Even so, with or without YG, Fergie gives a strong performance.
Fergie follows up Revisiting “L.A.LOVE (la la)” with the reggae-tinged pop of “Love is Blind.” Reggae-infused pop is polarizing, regardless of the artist, and the case is the same here in the hands of Fergie. That said, she has a selling points, namely that captivating personality, chocked full of attitude and profanity. After being utterly ridiculous on “Love is Blind,” she opts for seriousness on the dramatic “Love is Pain,” showcasing her powerhouse vocals. It’s a stark contrast, but at the same time, that’s sort of how a Fergie album rolls.
So, how does Double Dutchess play out? It’s enjoyable at times, messy at others, and generally all over the place. Calling Double Dutchess a well-rounded pop effort would be an overstatement. Even with its flaws, however, it’s not starkly different from other pop albums of late – Katy Perry’s Witness comes to mind. The biggest issue is that there’s nothing particularly transcendent here, even when Fergie goes deeper. It’s okay – that’s being generous.
Gems: “Hungry,” “You Already Know,” “Life Goes On,” “M.I.L.F. $” & “L.A.LOVE (la la)”
Fergie • Double Dutchess • BMG Rights Management • Release: 9.22.17
Photo Credit: BMG Rights Management