Before even dropping the needle on “Last Train To Paris” my expectations were set real low because of the leaks I had already heard and all of the other reviews that led me to believe the album would be heavily techno/euro dance influenced. I didn’t find a track that I liked until I hit “Looking for Love” with Usher, but that’s one of the leaks I already had. Still, it’s a hot record. Diddy is by no means a rapper with any legitimate rhyme skills, but this is something that I already knew. What is puzzling to me is that he doesn’t even write the lyrics for nine of the albums’ songs so what is the excuse for lazy rhyme patterns and wordplay? Ignoring yet another knock against Diddy, I tried to just focus on the songs overall. “Someone To Love Me” is definitely a highlight. The beat is basic and raw with a repetitive bassline, but the overall vibe of the song is dope and gritty. “Hate You Now” could have easily been an instrumental but the vocals from Dirty Money carry it higher to become one of my top picks from the album. The reverb on the snare hit is perfect and stands out immediately. Chris Brown sounds fantastic on “Yesterday” but not enough to make me want to run it in my mixes. Diddy’s lazy delivery on the pedestrian lyrics he spits really drags the song down which once again is baffling since he didn’t even write his lyrics. If you are going to go with ghostwriters then at least make THEM write dope lyrics.
If I could somehow listen to the album from a Pop/Crossover mindset, my review might have been drastically different, but as a hardcore Hip-Hop head I can’t endorse this album. I find myself fighting that point of view constantly when I listen to this album. “Shades” is a funky track with a sort of sexy funk Prince-like vibe. “Angels” takes almost a full minute to finally start before Rick Ross jumps in with his energy to keep me spinning the song. This one really sounds like it will be an excellent fit for a movie soundtrack. Hearing a verse from Biggie is definitely a highlight and overlooking the ridiculously long intro, “Angels” is an honestly hot record. Trey Songz had me leaning forward while I waited for some insanely dope beat to drop into “Your Love” and finally give me that “Oh Shit!” feeling I always look for in an record, but it never happened. I honestly believe that if “Your Love” could be remixed with banging production it would immediately be the best song from the entire album. Everything about it is dope except for the production.
“Strobe Lights” had me laughing because anyone who knows me knows that the moment I hear that euro-rave sound I start talking about glow sticks and whistles. For all those all night clubs in Germany where glow sticks and whistles are common – this song might just be the big hit. For me, “Strobe Lights” is just comical. For all the Lil Wayne fans hoping this collaboration with Diddy-Dirty Money will be the biggest record of the year…even you will be sorely disappointed. “Hello Good Morning” could easily be another huge record in the European clubs, but as a Hip-Hop head – I like this one too. T.I. is never a slouch with his wordplay and always delivers creative cadence and flow. This is easily a top highlight of the album and is something that I have and will continue to spin in my mixes. Then “I Know” rolls up and I’m once again looking for Hanz and Franz to do their ‘party boy’ dance and swing glow sticks in figure eights over their heads.
Skylar Green reminds me of Norah Jones in a big way and the beginning of “Coming Home” had me all set for a Norah Jones vibe, then the whole thing unravels and I finally skip to the next song after holding on to hope for a minute and a half. Corny garbage. “Loving You No More” has been on my hit list for months and still finds spins in my mixes. Definitely a highlight of the album.
Overall, this album is okay at best with less than half of the tracks finding their way into any of my mixes. With that said, I can safely guarantee this record will do very well and will probably get rave reviews from most publications. I don’t drink the same Kool-Aid though.