Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes
Is it just me, or am I late to the party on this one? I happened to be messing around online at work (don’t act like you don’t do it) and I got word that a Left Eye album was scheduled to be released the next day.
Seems that if one third of the record-breaking trio TLC was dropping a posthumous album I would have heard, especially when you consider that Left Eye is one of the most infamous and tragic stars of my generation.
Well, there I go again. When will I realize that no one cares about my generation anymore?
The first thing I noticed about the album is that it has the most random collections of guest artists ever. It’s like someone discovered the island where all the one-hit wonders hide from their creditors. Remember Wanya from Boyz II Men? Bonecrusher? City High?!?!?! They’re all here. There’s even an appearance from Free, the former host of 106 & Park (back when that show was watchable).
Secondly, you won’t find any “new” material here. Nearly everything has been recycled from Left Eye’s 2001 album Supernova, which was released overseas. It’s sorta how Puffy occasionally wedges old Biggie verses between new-fangled production and today’s “hottest” rappers.
If you’ve ever listened to those posthumous B.I.G. albums, you’re probably cringing right now, but I’m happy to report things aren’t THAT bad. “Block Party” is full of energy as Left Eye reminisces about those summertime parties of our youth and the usually annoying Lil Mama doesn’t mess things up too bad. The remaining members of TLC show up for “Let’s Just Do It”, but it’s Missy Elliott who steals the show with her sing-songy crazy flow. It’s another of the few genuinely fun tracks on the album.
Most of the other songs, like “Spread Your Wings,” “Forever,” and “Let It Out” are girl-power anthems aimed at keeping the ladies positive. There’s certainly a need for more of these and lyrically they’re fine (if you don’t mind Left Eye occasionally rapping off beat – it’s long been a bad habit of hers) but the corny, whiny hooks and so-so production muck things up. And don’t get me started on the crunk track “Bounce.” Who still makes crunk songs? At least I got to hear Bonecrusher again.
I was expecting to hear more of the crazy, out of control, smack-talking Left Eye from the late 90s, but she’s pretty subdued here. With the exception of “L.I.S.A.”, the typical “who cares if I burned down my man’s house and talked behind my friends’ back, I’m a good person, honest!”, there aren’t many traces of her troubled past. That makes her death – at a time when she was turning her life around – even more depressing.
The album isn’t the disaster I was expecting but like Left Eye herself, it’s case of lost potential.
Best tracks: “Let’s Just Do It” and “Block Party.” Pass on everything else.
3 stars out of 5