Every day there are more and more musicians who change their style in order to “crossover” to the mainstream. None more so than Katy B, who with her follow-up to the 2011 album “On A Mission”, has created such an obvious attempt at sucking up to Pop Music, that her jaw must be aching from the effort. “Little Red” is jam-packed with sugary Pop tracks; so much so that listening to the album could result in a diabetic coma.
The album opens with the lame House track “Next Thing”, and although it sports an abrupt ending, there is no end to the radio-friendly sound from this embarrassing album. The track “5 A.M.” then follows, which sounds like something from Kiss FM’s playlist in the early noughties, with its corny chopped and repeated vocals. Lyrics like “That beat’s so sick, that tune’s so ill” are so annoyingly out of date that only mainstream radio (I assume) will play this crap; something which Katy B and producer Geeneus are definitely trying to achieve. With lines like “I need some lovin’ like Valium” “5 A.M” will put all of Katy’s original fans to sleep like they’ve overdosed on Diazepam.
The next track “Aaliyah” is slightly reminiscent of the “On A Mission” album with the 90’s sounding synth, but by including the bland Jessie Ware; even this ends up sounding like a corny Freemasons-esque track. Then comes the biggest attempt from the album at attaining mainstream status… The song “Crying For No Reason” with its mediocre piano intro, über-radio-friendly production, and the corny tap-tap snare rhythm, is testament to how far Katy B and Geeneus are willing to go for Pop success. By performing this tripe on shows like Graham Norton, it just shows what kind of crowd this song is targeting. It is however quite ironic; that by trying to cross-over to Pop-land by sounding like the lame Rihanna, you finally realise how weak Katy’s vocals really are.
After “Crying For No Reason”, Katy shifts gears from super-Pop to ultra-forgettable with the next few tracks. “I Like You” features an understated hook and an annoyingly repetitive House hi-hat loop, and if that isn’t dull enough, this is followed by “All My Lovin'” which feels like listening to someone trying to recreate late-nineties R&B. By repeating “lovin, lovin, lovin” (without using an echo effect) and then by rhyming it with “I ain’t bluffin, bluffin, bluffin,” we realise that little or no effort went into creating this trash. The song “Tumbling Down” with its Two-Step corniness, ends up sounding like something from Timbaland‘s Nelly-Furtado-production reject bin. By jumping around various out-of-style genres from House to R&B to Hip-Pop, Katy B is trying to fish for new fans, but with songs this bad, you wonder what the hell Katy B was thinking with these worn-out hooks.
The song “Everything” is an okay 90’s Dance throwback amidst all the trash, but even this glimmer of hope is marred by the next four tracks. “Everything” is followed by “Play” which is the weirdest track on the album with a pre-op-transsexual-style vocal from Sampha, confused production, and messy melody. “Sapphire Blue” is probably the poorest track on the album, and “Emotions”, aside from the quick blips of the Jungle beat in the background, is also a pointless filler track with production made from what sounds like a copyright-free Sample CD of “Euphoric Sounds”. The album closes with “Still”, yet another piano-infused Pop-friendly joint and also one of the lamest songs in the history of selling out. “Still” reminds the listener of a Eurovision entry, something I’m sure Katy’s father (A member of the Les Humphries Singers) would be proud of.
Even with the Deluxe Edition bonus tracks, there are still no redeeming features on “Little Red”. Tracks like “Blue Eyes” with its horrible garage beat were best left off the finished cut, as were the back-to-back shitfest of “Stay Down”, “Hot Like Fire”, & “Sky’s The Limit” consisting of the dullest production since Stock and Aitkin met Waterman. This being said, maybe the standard version should have included “Wicked Love”. This track at least had a brooding, harder sound than any of the bullshit that made it on the final release.
By ignoring her Dubstep roots, by abandoning her 80’s and 90’s rave references, Katy B has ended up sounding just as bland as all the other crap on mainstream radio. And whether that was her intention or not, “Little Red” makes you wonder whether the original incarnation of Katy B was ever genuine. From someone who studied “Popular Music” at Goldsmiths, I suppose this album was bound to happen at some point. With Katy B singing “If you want it, if you need it, you can have it” on “All My Lovin'”, all we wanted and needed was a decent follow-up to “On A Mission”, but it seems we couldn’t have it.
Katy Used To B.