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TIERRA WHACK Only Child gets 8/10


Tierra Whack
Only Child
Interscope

8/10

Tierra Whack burst on the hip-pop music scene last year with her audio-visual debut album Whack World that featured 15 one-minute songs. The technicolour micro videos had Tierra trimming poodles, singing with puppets in a cemetery, confronting ugliness, hanging out in a late night Chinese takeaway joint or trapped in a tiny house, among other scenarios. If you could tune out the images for a while and focus on just the music and singing, Whack World kind of sounded like the second coming of the Beatles albeit in one minute sketches care of a young African-American woman from Philadelphia. In other words, a revelation, and what’s more – she was irreverently fun and stylish as well.

So after the condensed brilliance of the barrage of one-minute tracks on Whack World, how do nearly four minutes of Ms Whack stack up on her first new follow up single? Different, familiar and overall pretty darn good. Only Child is a slow track, with a solid steady pace and a sweet warbling melody. Tierra coos: “You must be an only child, because you’re so stingy”, with a nice call-and-response chorus: “You never think about anybody but yourself” – Selfish” but with more detached pity than malice at this point.

This sweetness is a ruse though, as in the last verse the auto-tune flavour goes, the flow gets loquacious and the lyrics get nasty while the sugar-coated melodies linger: “Used to arch my back for you, now I’m you’re arch-nemesis”, and rubbing in her recent success to boot: “It was only one season, nigga, M.O.D., my nigga, money over dick, money over dick, you should stop breathin’”.

With a longer period of time to work with, the last diss verse is supremely set up, something not really possible in a one-minute track. On the other hand, after so many rotations of the one-minute songs in Whack World recently, four minutes of the same tempo does take a while to wrap your head around. But given the breadth of ideas showcased in Whack World, the future sounds promising for Tierra Whack with Only Child. Hopefully next time we’ll get an even bigger helping. Longer and more songs, please!

PAUL DOUGHTY

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