A note in brief: Welcome to the first MMM exclusive My First Date review, where in the guise of a first date I will take a look at some very popular and some not so popular corners of pop culture and see if I can develop some kind of understanding or rapport with them to pass on to you via my MMM handler. Please try to think handler in terms of secret agent information-passing rather than keeping me in a cage and feeding me tidbits. Although Chris does wonderfully at both.
A note on briefs: I will endeavour to describe exactly what manly underwear I will be wearing on every single date, but receive no freebies or product fees. If you feel the need to send me some new, unworn (I can’t stress this enough!) underwear for later plugging, please do so via the website.
GETTING READY: I was introduced to Rhianna’s Loud through a work colleague. They’d been out partying together a few times and the work colleague suggested I take the CD out on a date. I dated her older sister Rated R for a short time, but we never really hit it off in the long term, just a short fling based upon the odd fun track.
Looking at her, she looks very sexy, all pouty and the like, but also very hip-hop and urban (Hate that phrase, she looks nothing like a car park.) so perhaps it’s time to unleash my inner rapper on the world. Tonight I’m going for a liberal dousing of Jay-Z’s brand fragrance, some baggy jeans (Not scruffy ones though!) and a t-shirt with a great big logo on the front as big as my face. Boxers have to be my Calvin Kleins, but pulled up so high she can see the waistband logo above the neckline of my over-sized t-shirt. I’m ready to hit the town!
THE DATE: I picked a nightclub in Cambridge for our night out, but in deference to the hip-hop culture I know and love I actually sprung for the VIP section. The Soul Tree plays R&B, hip-hop and a bit of dancehall, so I figured with my fly attire it was the way to go. Also, by arranging to meet later I didn’t have to pick a dinner venue, and could arrive already tipsy. By shelling out for VIP tickets, (from the MMM expenses account, naturally!) we got a bottle of bubbly and meant that tucked away in the upstairs back corner we could talk and enjoy the music without it being too ear-bleedingly loud. This kept the added bonus that if she pointed out what a loser I was, I could pretend not to hear her.
First impressions were great!
“It’s so great that we’re into the same things, I mean that opening track, the beat is just like the Outhere brothers! Do you remember Boom Boom Boom?” Oh heavens, she might think that’s sex slang or something, I’m coming on too strong. “That is, Don’t Stop, Wiggle Wiggle?” No, that’s actually worse, on reflection. I’m definitely losing her at this point. Or perhaps I’m not, because not 5 minutes into the date she’s telling me all about how she finds whips and chains a turn on. A little relieved, frankly a little intimidated.
“What I really mean is, it’s cool that we like the same music. I mean I thought Lil’ Wayne’s album was dope, and you liked it so much you actually made a clone of him to go on your second track, amazing. Oh? It’s not him, really? I do apologise.” Sounds just like him, I wonder if rappers sometimes go incognito on albums just for the love of it, like Stephen King did as Richard Bachman. Probably harder when you’ve got all that jewellery and those tattoos with your name on them.
Just when we were getting on so well, dancing away, she says she wants me to love her, like she’s a hot pie. This is one of those awkward cultural differences. I mean I can kind of see where she’s coming from, being American and all, where Pies are all a bit more narrow and full of warm fruit and berries, and served with whipped cream or ice cream, I mean that’s the kind of thing that could be at least a little sexy, but I’m English. She’s waiting for me to speak, but now all I can think about is a balti-flavoured pukka pie. She wants me to love her like she’s a squidgy bottomed pastry surrounded by chips and mushy peas, I feel really hungry and a little confused, I mean, Balti isn’t even a flavour, it’s a kind of oven. Can’t help but feel like I’m getting the wrong end of the stick with this one. Thankfully she breaks the awkward silence and destroys my pie-reverie by unleashing her most alluring feature. Sometimes she forgets about being an R&B diva type and becomes a bit more Caribbean.
This has good things and bad things to it. The mixture of rap with dancehall means that Loud has a bit of a soft spot for guns, which is kinda unattractive, because it’s not cartoony enough like hip-hop does it. Definite highlight of the night for me though is the very tune where her gun bo-bos the most. Man Down is catchy and exciting, and provides a simple enough metaphor to be pop fodder, but it also has a flavour to it that makes it stand out from the crowd. The date is going swimmingly at this point, I just hope one of us doesn’t say something really weird.
Oh no, it was me! I said something really weird. She came out with the pretty simple, but pleasantly powerful “I want you to make me feel, like I’m the only girl in the world!” and I immediately made a joke about I am Legend. I couldn’t help it, I just immediately thought of the cover artwork, all pouty lipped wandering a post-nuclear wasteland as literally the only girl in the world, running from mutants and men who want to make the first baby in a generation, cold sweat running down her bright red fringe as she squats in the ruins of an office block, barely sustaining herself by chewing the mutilated thigh of a raw irradiated sheep. She must think I have the weirdest issues.
I also kind of get the impression that Loud kind of has issues too. The darker melodies on tracks like California kingsize, which seems to be mourning a lost love, (Don’t talk about your ex so much on a date!) or the ballad of a frankly abusive relationship and loving the way they’re bad for each other with chart-topper Eminem’s help don’t actually provide the angst she thinks they do. She’s certainly been upset in the past, and this kind of thing could be related to her mum’s stormy relationship with Chris Brown, but it doesn’t come across as healthy at all. She just sounds a bit clichéd, and rather than making me want to date her more, it made me wish she’d left her baggage in the coat room.
SECOND DATE: I’d definitely go out and party with Loud again, not a shadow of a doubt. There’s even something more to the album that raises it slightly above the rank of guilty pleasure, but probably not one I’d take home to meet my parents. In fact definitely not one I’d take home to meet my parents, I couldn’t trust her to dress decently, my poor old Nan’s eyes would be out on stalks! Also, maybe I’m a prude but I don’t remember pop music being THIS overtly sexual when I was a pup. I mean sexy, yes, but is this not a wee bit too far? With Rhianna’s exciting whips and chains, Lady Gaga bragging how she likes it rough, from a disco stick, no less, when most women prefer firm at best, and Ciara marketing it so good men love the way she rides it, are we not getting a teensy bit closer to sounding like actual prostitutes? With this in mind, I am offering my ghost-writing services to any aspiring lady pop signers out there, I’ve called this one “Intercourse? Of course!”
“SEX! And sexing!
I like it lots and lots,
Sometimes for money, in alleys and parking lots,
Getting lots of willy, I’m always on the hunt
People give me tenners,
And I get out my… (That’s quite enough of that! – Chris)”
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