Review – Drake Protégé PARTYNEXTDOOR Keeps it Real on ‘PARTYNEXTDOOR TWO’


PARTYNEXTDOOR TWO July 29.

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PARTYNEXTDOOR • PARTYNEXTDOOR TWO • OVO/Warner Bros • US Release Date: July 29, 2014

“Tryna get you wet like a Baptist.” Phew, don’t think ministers of any denomination would be too thrilled with that reference! Alas, that is how Drake protégé PARTYNEXTDOOR rolls on his OVO/Warner Bros LP, PARTYNEXTDOOR TWO. PARTYNEXTDOOR TWO could be characterized as an orgy, with the R&B artist’s main goal being scoring booty – and smoking some along the way.

Never subtle, PND is brutally honest, relaying exactly what’s on his mind, heart, and what he wishes to do with his “love below.” Given his stage name and the title of the album, it makes perfect sense the approach he takes. That said it also wouldn’t have hurt if he’d increased depth and went outside of his box/comfort zone more. Even so, PARTYNEXTDOOR TWO might edge PARTYNEXTDOOR (2013), if only by a nose.

Opener “East Liberty” sports the mysterious, ‘Drake-onian’ sound, in the modern, alt-R&B vein. The verses are quite short, yet the juiciest bits of the song come via the pre-chorus and chorus sections. PND sings, “Come on baby, girl come on / you don’t want a lazy lover / just switch your model find another.” Basically, PND is trying to get this girl to leave her ‘lame-o’ and join him, a ‘real.’ It’s not a bad start, but takes another listen or more to resonate.

“SLS” resonates more readily, but additional spins don’t hurt. The resonation, however, is of carnality, not substance. “I’m with a stripper and we in the church,” PND sings on verse one, “don’t tell my damn mama where you work.” Sheesh! PND has other one-liners, involving a BIC lighter, as well as fingernails and ‘finger f-cking.’ A highlight of “SLS” is when things percolate from nonchalance into epic-ness.

“Sex On the Beach” awesomely samples Disclosure’s “Latch,” and PND truly sounds like Drake on this salacious cut. “All the sex in the ocean / all the sex on the beach / all the sex in the open / all the sex in the heat.” Basically, PND could’ve titled this one “All Sex Everything” and had the bases covered.   It lacks meaningfulness, but is a highlight. Apparently, PND wants to share: “Girl, you’re so sexy / everybody should see your body.”

On standout “Her Way,” the production is relaxed and chill, with superb drum programming. PND is confident (“Shawty said she wanna roll with the Sauga City come up…”) and has a bad girl (“…that b-tch bad, watch her blow a whole band”). It’s followed by interlude “Belong To the City,” that isn’t dissimilar from The Weeknd’s song “Belong to the World” (Kiss Land). It’s not far-fetched this references strippers: “You can’t tell these b-tches nothing / she belongs to the city.” It’s open to interpretation.

“Grown Woman” is a bit indulgent – it’s almost too focused on delivering the alt-/modern R&B sound. Like everything else, PND is focused ultimately on hooking up with her. “FWU” possesses less depth, but ends up being the better track. The letters of “FWU” are exactly what you think: ‘f-ck with you.’ It’s shallow and the production matches that shallowness with a dark, lush vibe. That said, at least the listener easily understands PND’s aim: “Go ahead, go and ask Billie Jean who’s the one.”

“Recognize” gives the album its sole guest feature, from none other than Drake. It’s a solid track, but it’s also not necessarily as good as the hype. Still, there are plenty of notable references from LeToya Luckett to Katie Couric to please.

“Options” follows; it hosted the opening quote. The grinder doesn’t change-up the messaging, as the only “option” really is PARTY himself. Lyrics like “twerkin’ her ass for me,” and “…Ride that d-ck girl, ride it like a pony” are far removed from chivalry.

“Thirsty” brilliantly samples Missy Elliott’s “Ching A Ling,” sounding incredibly dirty. But PND does make a promise: “Promise to love you, and obey / and hit more than once a day.”

On penultimate joint “Bout It,” there is no contrast or variety lyrically or thematically, which makes it only so-so at best. Once again, PND talks about sexual endeavors. At the end, he’s so into this girl, he states “sex on the couch, no pull out.” Apparently, he’s let the heat of the moment compromise being careful. “Muse” atones, closing PARTYNEXTDOOR TWO solidly.

Overall, PARTYNEXTDOOR TWO is a solid album. That being said, it’s also not an album with flaws and room for improvement. The ‘vibe’ of the album works better than, say the songs and arguably the subject matter. There is nothing wrong with PND thinking with his pants a little bit, but 12 songs of sex and weed is definitely on the irresponsible side. To each his own, but it would be nice to see PND stretch himself artistically.

Favorites: “SLS,” “Sex on the Beach,” “Her Way,” and “FWU” 

★★★½

Photo credits: © Instagram.com/partyomo, © OVO/Warner Bros
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