Trending Tuesdays, VI: Missy Elliot’s Lukewarm Comeback

By Arlene Lormestoire

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Via Notion Magazine

After nearly seven years of inactivity, Missy Elliott’s single “WTF (Where They From)” feat. Pharrell Williams was released along with a music video that was more about the baggy pants and sparkly lipstick.  Hearing “WTF” was fairly satisfying, but somehow not enough. The lines sounded like Elliot, but failed to give the extra energy that the song required. Pharrell’s boring rapping complimented this factor, adding nothing to the the life this song desperately needed

Elliot’s rap style doesn’t shine as bright it did a few years ago with “Work It” and ‘Lose Control,”with her opting for a banal chant that might be heard on a grade-school playground in exchange for finesse in her verse. The use of onomatopoeia and irreplaceable quirkyness in the lyrics create a well written song, but a childish one. However, her rap flow and timing pair well with the Pharrell-made beat. Unlike other hits, her lyrics do not shine through like they should but fall behind the beat, causing any listener to ignore the true art of the lyrics.

Perhaps the most “WTF” moment occurs in the chorus. Before moving to the next line, Elliott holds out the last syllable of the word, weirdly creating the sound of bees buzzing. This style resurfaces throughout the song, causing anyone to question the necessity of such a style. Is this the new  catchy? The innovative structure of a song in 2015? Either way, it is evident that only Missy Elliott can pull this off.

Questionable at best, the song is catchy and funky. It brings back memories of the early 2000s with a twist of present-day technique. Although the rapping could have been highlighted above the beat, the production is flawless. The rhythm can cause anyone to bop their head along. Creative bee-like chorus aside, Missy Elliot is back in the rap world; step aside or bow down.

Arlene Lormestoire is a Highlighter Staff Columnist. Email her at music@nyunews.com

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