Marla Mase - Speak Deluxe
Mase has a lot of ideas swirling around her head. And she's more than willing to share them with us.
This second album has 14 songs. Most of which are good. She's funny. She can roar with the best of them.
Her lyrics can be a bit wordy. It's not surprising with a gift for words, Marla sometimes speaks her words. She talks better than Tony Williams. But Williams' band rocked harder and better.
Still Mase sounds good. There's good guitar playing on the hilarious "Queen of Imperfection." There's an honesty she has which is refreshing, even if it's not the best formula for getting dates.
Not that Mase is worried about lonely Saturday nights. She's tough. Unlike Florence or Pink, guys 'don't seem to be in danger of getting slugged. With Mase you're more likely to get lectured.
Fortunately, she's got a sense of humor, making her intellect far from repelling. She sees the value of a good time.
Relationships are toxic. Her narrative paints a picture of the difficulties of love. Still she recognizes they're traps good-minded people are bound to fall into. The interaction may have limited value. Check out "She Hooked Him Up".
The spiritual message of "Divine Restlessness" doesn't provide any solace. It falls into a cloudy look for meaning.
Social commentary is a passion. It's not entirely successful. "AnnaRexia" is a reggae song looking at the danger of trying to be extremely thin. It's a better message than Fergie's reggae about marijuana. But Fergie's song is catchier. Mase's lyrics get too obvious to the point of telling us the war of her female subject is "internal."
More problematic is "Piece of Peace," the weakest track. The diatribe about social justice comes off like a commercial for passing school levies. The urgency to her demands falls short, and seems manipulative.
Still for the most part this album is entertaining. The anti self-help "Squirm" is the most successful song here.
The different styles she embraces are impressive. And Mase always seems comfortable whether she's singing or speaking. I prefer the singing.
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