The biggest problem with a pop music fad is all the backlash that hits nearby artists as a result. Space Cowboy (Nick Dresti, a.k.a. Loop da Loop and DJ Wildstyle) worked closely with Lady Gaga and RedOne on Lady Gaga's debut album, and that blew up. Now on Space Cowboy's sophomore album, Digital Rock Star, he also had his album produced by RedOne. My biggest question, and also biggest problem with the album, is why he worked with another producer when his sound was fine to begin with? The ultra-processed synths that helped create outstanding tracks for Nadia Oh and Valeria are mostly gone now in favor of the style of production that comes from working with RedOne. Space Cowboy's Digital Rock Star plays more like "Guitar Hero: Pop Music" than a real artistic statement.
The Curse of RedOne
"Falling Down," the album's lead single, features Chelsea Korka of the Paradiso Girls, and sums up everything I find wrong with Digital Rock Star. It is a pure party track, but overall the party where this track would be hot is a lame party indeed. Due to the oversaturation of RedOne's sound, this track fails to stand out or seem unique at all. It's got a great beat and the melody is very catchy, technically there is nothing wrong with the track. It is a party track to the core. The same goes for "I Came 2 Party," a collaboration between Space Cowboy and Cinema Bizarre. Only "I Came 2 Party" sounds like a RedOne-produced Britney track with weak male vocals. Again, technically there isn't anything wrong with the track. It makes me want to move and the lyrics are catchy, but ultimately I find it forgettable. These same guidelines hold true for "Boyfriends Hate Me" and the so-slow-it's-noise "Devastated," although RedOne had no involvement with the latter. "Invisible" and "Imma Be Alright (Rent Money)" sound like rehashings of "Falling Down." And if the plethora of versions of "Falling Down" on this album aren't enough, LMFAO provide their own lackluster mix at the end of the album, just to hop on another trend.
Diamonds in the Rough
It isn't until late in the album that things begin to turn around. Sometimes the pairing of two minds can create some interesting listens, and on "Party Like Animal" that very thing happens between Space Cowboy and Red One. "Party Like Animal" makes me think of the Muppets' Animal, and that may have been the impetus behind the name. The track is percussion-heavy, the beat is up, and the overall vibe is pure pop cheese but it works quite well. It is a departure for Red One's sound and works well with Space Cowboy's preferred vocal delivery on the album. "Talking In Your Sleep" sounds like "Jessie's Girl," the perfect updated 80s party track, exists without RedOne's production, and comes across fun like a barrel of monkeys. "I Want You Back" also sounds like an 80s throwback in the lyrical delivery. Musically it is the perfect Dance Dance Revolution track (and boy would I love to try this track on that game!) and is far faster than anything else on the album. The pure ballsiness involved in making a track like this on an album with so much RedOne party vibe is just fantastic to me.
The Space Cowboy Experience
For an idea of the Space Cowboy sound that got me excited for this
album, look no further than "My Egyptian Lover," a track featured on
both Space Cowboy and Nadia Oh's respective debut albums. His
production style is electronically grungy and totally inescapable. It
commands you to groove with Nadia Oh's spoken delivery and the
Egyptian vibes. This style was also lent to Valeria on her debut
album. It isn't Space Cowboy's fault that I went in to Digital Rock
Star expecting more of the same, but it is his fault that the album
didn't deliver much of a memorable experience. Check out his debut
album for that.
Digital Rock Star is a great addition to any Lady Gaga party.
Beyond that, there are a few tracks that are worth the time. "Talking
In Your Sleep" and "Party Like Animal" are probably the best
highlights in my opinion, along with the classic "My Egyptian Lover."
I have to ask again, why work with another producer when your own
sound works just fine?
Released October 2009 on Interscope Records.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more
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