The Rundown with Aryez
Last Train to Paris
After Sean “Diddy” Combs “Press Play” was released back in 2006, he had already been speculating about a new album immediately following. Well, after four years and much anticipation (about half of as much anticipation as Dr. Dre’s “Detox” album arguably), he is back, bringing with him this time around Danity Kane’s Dawn Richard and newcomer singer/ songwriter Kalenna Harper to form the hip hop super-band Diddy-Dirty Money. Though this is Diddy’s sixth studio album, this proves to be testing grounds for his band mates as this could be one of Richard’s last chances at her shot at stardom. Harper on the other hand, has had minimal success at writing songs for acts but this opportunity in turn can be what she needs to set her career in full throttle. Diddy – well, either or he’ll be collecting someone’s publishing whether they like it or not. In this edition of the Rundown with Aryez we’ll find out if their “Last Train to Paris” debut is an effort all should aboard or listeners may be better off hitch-hiking across the Atlantic.
Like just about every Diddy project or even feature, it can never be complete without the infamous album introductions that he does talking about his “bunch-of-nothings”. It’s his signature, and listeners know by now that they can be pointless but for some reason we don’t feel at whole without them. This is where “Last Train…” starts off and then proceeds into the Danja (Justin Timberlake, Bjork) produced “Yeah Yeah You Would” featuring Grace Jones. This track is everywhere with heavy drums, bass, and kicks in the listener’s ears as Dawn embeds her monotonous, but sultry vocals on it. On “I Hate That You Love Me” produced by Rodney “Darkchild” Jenkins (Brandy, Britney Spears). Jenkins offers an airy piano rift that snatches your attention instantly and even Diddy tells him to turn it up before the first verse. “A** on the Floor” can be declared the winter’s dance theme in any top 40 format club and venue across the country as Swizz Beatz (DMX, Cassidy) makes the hook and production catchy enough to do just what the title says while a witty Richards sings about the challenges of getting over heartbreak.
Diddy gives his testimonial of overcoming his struggles while still finding love on “Someone to Love Me”. His delivery is reminiscent of his 1999 Forever’s “Do You Like It… Do You Want It” and the 2001 The Saga Continues’ “Bad Boy for Life. The song deeply samples of The Sweet Inspirations’ “You Roam When You Don’t Get It At Home”. He then reaches out to some of R&B’s male elitists on “Looking For Love” featuring Usher, “Yesterday” featuring Chris Brown, and “Your Love” featuring Trey Songz. It is on “Yesterday” in which actually Brown continues to show off his comeback with an immense vocal presence backing up well-written lyrics with lines such as Yesterday I fell in love/ today feels like my funeral/ I just got hit by a bus/ should’ve been so beautiful/ don’t know why I gave my heart, gave my trust, gave everything. Diddy even shows off his own vocal ability and the better examples can be heard on tracks “Angels” produced by himself sampling Jay- Z’s 1997 “Where I’m From” on the “In My Lifetime” album, and “Last Night Part 2”. Other good songs that deserve listening are “Shades”, and the album’s singles “Coming Home” and “Hello Good Morning” featuring T.I.
The angles that Dirty Money took on this project were of great magnitude and many of them were pulled off well but there are still some things that could have been tightened. As many expected it to be, this is more so one of Diddy’s compilation albums that highlight the industry’s top artists and producers. This tends to overshadow Dawn and Kaleena along with the fact it is difficult to tell the two apart vocally throughout songs. Listeners may potentially desire to hear more from them. Another setback that stands out is some of the features on the album are unnecessary. Examples of this can be noticed on the Grace Jones feature on “Yeah Yeah You Would”, the amount of male vocalists on “Shades”, Notorious B.I.G’s verse on “Angels” and Chris Brown and Seven of Rich Girl’s features on“I Know”. This project didn’t need to focus on quantity as much as it did quality.
The “Last Train to Paris” can be considered a love story, a musical of finding love and loosing it, to finding it again only to loose it once more. Diddy emphasized this in promotion of the project in recent interviews. It comes across as such as he reaches out to a number of artists, singers and rappers alike, and producers and engineers to ensure he attains the sound he’s reaching for. “Last Train…” inquires rich elements of Eurodance (Electronic dance originating in Europe in the 1990’s), House, Funk, and Pop with predominantly an urban appeal and the blend of the genre passed off well. He was aiming to create a different sound and focus the subject matter around the aspects of love which brings a thematic element to the album. Ultimately, “Last Train…” can be considered worth the wait and worth catching. Diddy Dirty Money may just want to make sure they offer Cocolosos and Ciroc-berry for fans during the ride- it’s going to be a long trip across eighteen tracks…
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