It's been a long time coming, since we've been waiting on this album since she first shoved her "Pu$$y" single in our faces way back in 2011, and Miss Azalea has been busy in the interim. Three EPs, countless stop-start singles that eventually become the dreaded "promotional songs", appearing on tracks with everyone from Diplo to Katy B to Ariana Grande, a Twitter tirade with Azealia Banks, and passing a record deal with Interscope to sign up to T.I.'s label Grand Hustle. And now here we are with The New Classic, an album title just begging for music journalists to make fun of.
First thing you'll notice is that some of Iggy's attention grabbing pre-singles, such as the base-rattling "Murda Bizness" and high-energy "Bounce", are nowhere to be found on here, the latter only appearing as a bonus track on the Deluxe Version. Present and correct, however, are some of the other official (in hindsight) singles, such as the schizophrenic "Work", the ego-boasting "Change Your Life" and the ratchet-y sass of "Fancy" which comes complete with a killer hook provided by indie pop princess Charli XCX.
The second thing you'll notice is that there's still plenty of potential single fodder elsewhere on the album. "Black Widow" has future hit all over it, from the trap-pop sound that makes it sound like a darker alternative to Katy Perry's "Dark Horse" (probably not a coincidence, since its co-written by Perry), and then there's the fantastic production by Stargate and Benny Blanco, as well as the sing-along chorus by Rita Ora. Hit hit hit! "New Bitch" sounds like David Guetta, even if the girl-power message on the rest of the album takes a leave of absence here.
Elsewhere, we've got "Goddess", a fierce and vaguely sinister sounding call to arms for females, taking the vibe of Beyonce's "Bow Down" and running with it. "Lady Patra" is full on reggae, based on a beat of looped chants, video-game SFX and Iggy's breathless, almost break-less vocals. "100" is the oddest track on the album, all warped and chopped and screwed guitars and guest slot by trapstep trio Watch The Duck, and last and far from least, there's album closer "Fuck Love". The closest thing you'll get to a mix of both "Murda Bizness" and "Bounce", it's got the former's profanity and ego, and the latter's overwhelmingly busy (in a good way) production. Plus, a chorus of "I don't need a boyfriend, I'm already in love with myself / Fuck love, gimme diamonds" is to be applauded for its simplicity!
The issue here is that with all these mish-mash of styles, Iggy doesn't really present a personality of her own. The New Classic sounds like a hip-hop version of a Britney album, a sense that a series of singles were selected, and put into the same album that could've been rap-sung by literally anyone. The fact that production duo The Invisible Men provided nine of the twelve songs here is a compliment to their chameleonic work, but a detriment to the album as a whole.
Much like Nicki Minaj's Roman Reloaded album, by trying to retain hip-hop cred AND have some Top 40 hits, Iggy is going to be left with an audience who'll remember her songs, but forget who sung them.
Review by Rory Cashin | THREE STARS OUT OF FIVE