Lisa Maffia - First Lady

Expectations were high for the debut album from the first lady of So Solid, but sadly it's an album which falls well short of both her UK and US counterparts.

The introduction from Swiss sets the tone perfectly with a beat for beat copy of Dizzee Rascals "Fix Up Look Sharp" except on this occassion you haven't got the MC of the moment and the beats sound as if they've been produced on a cheap casio keyboard. The single "All Over" still makes an impact with it's stop start syncopated rhythm and the cod-opera call and response which made Jamelia's debut single such a shock to the senses. Lisa, part street savvy take no holds barred gal and part wide eyed innocent pin up model and it's this persona which she plays with to irritating effect across the whole of "First Lady". In comparison to the likes of Ms Dynamite and Alesha Misteeq she displays none of the qualities which makes these artists so inspirational - "Women Of The World" seems like the sort of anthem a Pop Idol contestant would describe as "different" yet it just seems lame simplistic drivel of the highest order and in truth doesn't even touch X-Tina's worst attempt at feminist critiques. "Out Of My Life" attempts to aim for the Misteeq school of UK Garage and fares well, but considering that even Misteeq have moved on from this 12 months ago it's a little last summer.

Throughout Maffia jumps genre's and vocal styles but by the end of it you're left thinking who exactly is Lisa Maffia. There's nothing that jumps out and says this is a Lisa Maffia record and although it's undoubtedly a So Solid record, the limited production is an instant give away, it's the first So Solid release which hasn't has a clear idea of which direction it's heading in. So Solid Crews debut full of paranoid schizophrenia, Oxide & Neutrino's instant pop sensibilities and Romeo's luvva man stylings and then Lisa Maffia's R&B garage forgettable pap. There was so much Maffia could have said and yet she released and album that said so little. She's not only let the crew down, she's let herself down and sadly it's unlikely she get the chance again to prove us all wrong.

Alex McCann

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