[CD Review] Lady Sovereign, 'Jigsaw' (Midget/EMI)

Lady Sovereign was the Asher Roth of 2006, the subject of a tremendous marketing blitz preceding the U.S. release of her debut, Public Warning. Like the suburban stylings of Roth, there was some question as to whether the public was ready for a white, British grime rapper’s fairly exotic flow.

They weren’t. Unlike Ross’ debut, Sovereign’s didn’t really catch on, and so on her follow-up Jigsaw she goes a ways toward sanitizing her often caustic sound. On the first half of the album, she uses fairly accessible beats, such as on the plaintive “So Human,” which samples the Cure’s “Close to Me.” Melodic, crooned hooks help her convey vulnerability on the title track, in which she sings, “My life is like a jigsaw puzzle/Pick it up and fix it for me.” But later in the work, she returns to the electro/dancehall and cheeky taunts she’s known for, such as on “Student Union,” in which she brags about dropping out of high school and complains about how lame college kids are: “Saw these chicks doing this flex/Wearing tees but not wearing bras.” This train doesn’t completely derail, however, until second-to-last track “Food Play,” which, unfortunately, is about having sex while eating cheeseburgers. Jigsaw is, on the whole, equally unappetizing.

 
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