I'm actually really surprised by the quality of the album. As I've said numerous times now, she should have gone for the double disc instead, especially as the album is basically divided that way as it is. But the songs stand on their own merits, for me at least. On the rap side, I feel like Come on a Cone and HOV Lane stand toe to toe with anything else she's done (*Insert standard "except for Monster" clause here*. The dance tracks in the middle are as generic as I expected, but that doesn't stop them being incredibly fun enjoyable.
I've always liked Marilyn Monroe, but I thought it seemed a bit pointless adding it to the album. However, I've been oddly obsessed with it for the last couple of days, so I'll take a fully HQ version of it. I actually really like the smattering of mid-tempo Nicki we've gotten. Like, Right By My Side and Sex In The Living Room are probably the only tracks I'd cut, but Marilyn/Young Forever/Fire Burns is a really good run of songs. Granted, Nicki wouldn't be my first port of call for that kind of thing, but I do think she's pulled it off quite nicely, especially in Fire Burns.
I do wish she was on Gun Shot more though. It actually has a lot of promise, but Beanie Man (even if I was to put aside personal feelings for him) is fairly dire on the track. I tried doing a Nicki only version, and it sounds alright, but there's not an awful lot to work with really. That's a shame.
Obviously, one of us needs to sit down with Nicki and explain what her thought process should be when picking singles, but I really think the album delivers as a whole.
Yes, it's all over the place genre-wise, and it's nowhere near as hard as the Roman concept she was promising. But hell, at the end of the day, she's given me probably 13 songs here that I could easily love. I'm not really going to ask for more than that.