Customer Review

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than you'd expect, 23 Mar 2013
This review is from: The Female Boss [Explicit] (MP3 Download)
I practically never write reviews on Amazon, but having owned this album for a few months now I felt quite strongly that it really didn't deserve the absolute mauling it got in the British press when it was released.

The Female Boss is actually, in my opinion, a terrific record with emotionally intelligent lyrics and a good variety of songs and genres.

The first piece of advice I would give anyone listening to this album for the first time is to completely disregard the Intro and Outro. Both tracks are a complete waste of space, and their presence brings down the quality of the songs on the rest of the album. Tulisa goes for the spoken-word approach and talks as if she's saying something deeply profound when in fact it basically sounds embarrassingly cringe-worthy and worthy and pretentious.

Fortunately, practically every track in between the album's opening and closing songs is excellent.

So, let's deal with the singles first. You'll be familiar with Young - an great pop song that rightly went straight to the top of the UK singles chart. (If this album had been released straight off the back of that song it probably would have sold considerably more copies). The lyrics of that song beautifully sum up the attitudes you have when you're young - when you're at a point in your life where you're learning about the world and are free to make mistakes. The second single - Live It Up - was a nice party tune that borrowed much of its hook from Kat DeLuna's brilliant Run The Show. Sight Of You - brilliant as I think it is - probably wasn't a good choice for third single but a good song nonetheless.

Tulisa said in an interview when the album came out that these three singles were supposed to reflect the different styles that can be found on the album - pop, dance and urban. I think this is a very good point; the choice of these three singles does indeed reflect the album's varied and eclectic sound. It is both a fun party album and a heart-wrenching breakup record.

But it wasn't any of the three singles that encouraged me to buy The Female Boss. One afternoon I was listening through to a few tracks from it on YouTube, none of which were particularly jumping out at me until I stumbled across the utterly superb Foreigner. Its pulsing bouncy reggae rhythm hooked me instantly and I downloaded that song on its own to begin with.

After weeks of listening to it non-stop, I actually looked up who had written and produced and found that it was the work of "T. Nash" - a.k.a. legendary R&B producer The Dream (also responsible for Rihanna's Umbrella). I wondered if this high standard of songwriting extended to the rest of the album, and when I went to look at the writing credits I found a hugely impressive list of names including Diane Warren, Jean Baptiste, Rico Love and Eg White.

With such an impressive cast list I decided to take a chance and give the rest of the album a shot. I was quickly drawn to the album's more uptempo party songs start with, such as Live Your Life and the excellent Kill Me Tonight. These are equally as good if not better than most standard dancey songs that get into the singles chart and they sit well with the current David Guetta-influenced sound that is popular at the moment. In fact, both of these probably would have made very good early singles. But the album's strongest moments are to be found in the ballads.

Anyone who has ever broken up from a serious relationship will identify with the sentiments of Damn, Counterfit and Habit in particular. Lines such as: "You can close the door and take everything we had / but just don't take my sanity with you" (from Habit) will resonate with anyone who has hit rock bottom after a relationship and wondered if things will ever get better. Some of the simplest lyrics are the most effective (such as "You f***ed me up when you f***ed around" from Damn or "I can't believe we're through / I used to love the sight of you / now I can't stand the sight of you").

Songs and lyrics like these show a level of vulnerability that many listeners will empathise with. We've all lived through these feelings and situations that Tulisa is singing about, and many of these song lyrics clearly come from experience. There is a surprising level of emotional depth and they reach far beyond most generic lyrics that can be found in most love songs in the charts.

Other highlights include the gorgeous Skeletons (another production from The Dream) and the nice mid-tempo I'm Ready. But there is honestly not a single weak track on this album. There is something on it that will match whatever mood you are in.

Vocally, Tulisa sometimes strays out of her comfort zone, but mostly her voice remains strong.

As I mentioned earlier, the album is severely let down by its opening and closing tracks, but also by the horrendous cover which depicts Tulisa as a chav-with-attitude character, dressed up in a leather jacket and 'bling' with jet black hair that I personally don't really think suits her. The album cover should have been more like the cover of her autobiography Honest, where she looks more human and vulnerable, as opposed to the threatening and intimidating look they've gone for on the album cover.

I think it's a real shame that this album has been so ignored by the masses. Arguably, the release of it was messed up by the choice and order of singles, the fact the album took so long to arrive, and a lackluster performance of Sight Of You on X Factor - but I think most people didn't even give it a chance because of her reputation. She's seen by the general public as that girl from a chav-urban band who got lucky by appearing as a judge on a reality TV show. Her credibility as a solo artist in the music industry is seriously low, and as a result well-respected music critics couldn't be seen to be giving this record a good review. I suspect many of them didn't properly listen to it. News articles in the week of its release focused on how badly it was tanking in the midweeks, and no-one seemed to actually be talking about the content of the album.

But in actual fact, this is a superb album. Give it a chance.
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