Sex, Dreams and Denim Jeans
was put together over three years, recorded in various apartments around Paris whenever Uffie was able to take short-lived breaks from touring. The album has all the hallmarks of the hedonistic club kid who introduced herself with the fearless "Pop the Glock" back in 2006, while the influence of Feadz and the production hand of beat-and-synths wizard Mr Ozio are strongly felt over many of the tracks. But there is also a melodic, pop sensibility being explored for the first time. The result can be heard in the likes of title track, "Sex, Dreams and Denim Jeans", which samples Lou Reed but sees Uffie toying with John Hughes-esque high school heartbreak, and Illusion of Love, which features the dulcet tones of Matte Safer (The Rapture).
Another important influence over Sex, Dreams and Denim Jeans happened when Uffie was introduced to Mirwais while recording the album. Having worked on Madonna albums such as Music and Confessions on a Dance Floor, Mirwais was perfectly poised to helped nurture Uffie's inner pop star. Tracks like "A.D.D SUV" (featuring Pharrell Williams) poke fun at the rap fraternity's obsession with possessions, but at the core of this idiosyncratic album, in which Uffie flits from rude girl to sweetheart, is fun.
Uffie dropped the ball. The Miami-born, Paris-dwelling rapper made a deep impact with 2006 debut single Pop the Glock, mangling her distinctive US-Gallic vowels around a cocky slab of electro that cemented a quick reputation for this brash new female MC and her producer (then-) boyfriend, Feadz. It should have been the start of something big for a fresh voice, but Uffie and Feadz kept things on the down-low, letting tracks seep out on blogs and under-promoting full singles. A sporadic release schedule and heavy touring pushed a debut album back incessantly (that, and the birth of her first child and divorce from graffiti artist André Saraiva). Then Ke$ha came along, and suddenly there was a new wise-cracking, hard-living, potty-mouthed girl on the block.
So now Sex Dreams and Denim Jeans is finally here, Uffie looks like the copy, not the template. But a swift listen to this exciting, polychromatic record should put paid to that. Talent burns through old-skool rap bangers, ferocious electro body-poppers and teary teen anthems–never a dull moment, never an irritating frat-girl with a "bottle of Jack".
It's no surprise it's varied; this is an album that's gathered tracks over five years. Now positively ancient, Pop the Glock kicks off the fun, as future-perfect as it ever was, and there's space for 2007 EP tracks First Love and Brand New Car.
The lengthy gestation has seen a host of French disco kings popping in, with significant production jobs from Mr Oizo (of Flat Beat notoriety), Mirwais (brilliantly weaving the warped skeleton of The Velvet Underground's Rock & Roll under the title-track), SebastiAn and the faithful Feadz, but the ear is also caught by a couple of Yanks: The Rapture's Mattie Safer guesting on cosmic house drifter Illusion of Love, and Pharrell Williams' gleeful turn on recent sarky bling-killing single ADD SUV.
Uffie's well aware she went AWOL, but paints it as a virtue. "Three tracks a year and they still talk about me," she boasts on Art of Uff, although the tremendous, shrill, B-girl blast of MCs Can Kiss concedes "No boss on my shoulder... maybe that's why I don't do so much." Still, she's painstakingly hoarded an impressive 14 tracks here–if she can pick up that ball again, maybe she'll run with it this time. --Matthew Horton
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