It’s Me Again
n the world of pop music three years is an eternity. And with the relative low profile being kept by Timabaland lately, "Oops (Oh My)" seems like it was of a completely different era. Tweet does little to dispell that idea on her second album, It's Me Again, opting to not involve herself with Tim (or is it the other way around?). As such, the other moments that turned heads and made Southern Hummingbird the surprisingly strong album that it was take a much larger role in It's Me Again, making this one a much smoother ride and more cohesive entity.
Sure, all the casual fans want their genius-producer mythos to be satisfied, but for pop fans that actually hip-hop and R&B; on its own terms, It's Me Again is easily one of the year's strongest efforts. It's helped by the flawed opening single "Turn Da Lights Off," which is a slow-burning old-school jam produced by Missy Elliott and Kwame. Tinkling piano and vinyl crackle take second-tier, at times, however, to Elliott's shout-outs of "wicked!" and "wooo!" Which is entirely acceptable in any of the songs that appear on her records, but merely sounds out of place and disorienting here.
Luckily, Tweet next takes center stage on "Iceberg," one of the album's acoustic guitar-driven highlights. Spanish-inflected guitar picking is mixed expertly amid a heavy snare-bass combo and Tweet's heartbreaking narrative of a love gone cold. The production, which sounds like Prefuse73 on Quaaludes, lets Tweet work her vocal magic in a variety of ways.
Similarly, "You" is a brilliantly paced track that features a crescendo of jazz instrumentation, led by a warbling trumpet. Tasteful strings emerge in the song's latter half, adding weight to the propulsive Massive Attack-esque feel. "Things I Don't Mean" is Elliott's second vocal contribution to the record and, again, the vinyl crackle is present, but this time it plays second fiddle to a mid-tempo funk jam.
But it pales in pleasure to the ingenious "Sports, Sex & Food," which demystifes the way to a man's heart and let's men know that Tweet herself knows "all the players and all the rules." And while the song is sort of a one-note idea-the shock of the sound and message gives its enough legs to get to the three-minute mark without annoyance.
Later on, "Where Do We Go From Here?"-what should have been the album closer-is Tweet's hearkening back to her acoustic guitar roots on Southern Hummingbird. It's a searching song that beats just about any of the acoustic folkies that build their entire rep on self-imposed authentic recording methods. Needless to say, the fact that you get songs like this and songs like "Turn Da Lights Off" in one disc is a testament to Tweet's ability to move effortlessly between genre because of her limitless vocal abilities.
Of course, a searching acoustic number isn't how Missy envisions how this whole thing ending. She leaves that for the ridiculously out of place "party starting" "We Don't Need No Water." Incomprehensibly finishing the record, it leaves the listener with a slightly bad taste in their mouth as they hit repeat to relive the best moments all over again.
Reviewed by: Charles Merwin
Reviewed on: 2005-04-01