There are very few artists that would open up their album with another artist’s song, but not even VH1 loves the eighties more than Diddy, seriously, this guy even sampled Christopher Cross. So at the start of Diddy’s latest album Press Play, the first sounds you hear are those of Tears for Fears. But surprisingly this is the only eighties sample on the album. What’s more surpising is that as a guy who came up as a producer, Diddy handed over the production reigns for the majority of the album to those that have surpassed him in recent years like Kanye West, the Neptunes, will.i.am and the underappreciated Rich Harrison who has brought us such club bangers as Crazy in Love and 1 Thing.
The artist formally known as Puff Daddy claims the name of the album Press Play comes from what the album would make you do, sit down and press play without having to skip any tracks. Granted that concept was thrown out of the window with the release of the first single Come to Me featuring the only Pussycat Doll that I think actually sings. What exactly are the other Dolls there for, to stay in the background and do things that embarrass their daddies? But anyways. This really hasn’t been a good year for artists who over hype their albums (see Angels and Airwaves, The Killers, and Ludacris). Who would have thought that Paris Hilton would be the marketing mastermind who set the bar so low that even though her album was by far the worst released of the year, possibly ever, people actually thought it was good compaired to what they expected.
Much like his previous ones, this album is guest appearance heavy. On almost every song, Diddy brings in someone to sing his hooks ranging to big names like Mary J Blige to lesser known artist such as Keri Hilson. The best though is Christina Aguilera who shows up on the Just Blaze produced Tell Me. Unlike previous album, Diddy doesn’t push down his Bad Boy rappers down our throat, in fact there are very few guest rappers on the album as side from Big Boi of Outkast, Twista, and Nas who shows up on the Kanye West produced Everything I Love. Naturally when you throw together Nas and Kanye with Cee-Lo, one half of Gnarls Barkley, singing the hook over some great horns that sound like they are from the Late Registration sessions, you got a hot track.
Unfortunately Diddy didn’t have Kanye and Nas to save the rest of the album. The Neptunes fall from grace continues with another bland track in the album closer Partners for Life featuring the past expiration date Jamie Foxx. The back to back Though the Pain (She Told Me) and Thought You Said blend together making one extremely long ten minute song that will make you look at you watch wondering when it will end. Puffy does try out different styles which is a novel idea. The Future is his attempt at hard core militant sound in a track produced by Havoc from Mobb Deep who was also behind the boards for the grimy Hold Up. Continuing his futuristic techno from Justin Timberlake’s latest album, Timbaland adds that same sound to Diddy Rock. But it doesn’t say much about the song when it’s a leftover beat from an already poor album. But Diddy is back to loving the eighties on the will.i.am produced Special Feeling that sounds like classic Prince. Well that’s if you take out the charismatic Prince singing and replace it with the anemic rapping of Diddy.
Song to Download - Everything I Love
Press Play gets a on my Terror Alert Scale.