Girl Group Electrik Red Gives Us Something to Celebrate

The group's How to Be a Lady, Volume 1 (Def Jam) shines with sexuality and mean-spirited parody.

Elektric Red, How to Be a Lady, Volume 1

Elektric Red, How to Be a Lady, Volume 1

Elektric Red, How to Be a Lady, Volume 1

Elektric Red, How to Be a Lady, Volume 1

Especially in the wake of Destiny’s Child, girl groups have tended to be at least a tad more chaste than their solo peers. Electrik Red bucks the trend, though; they growl out anthemic, sexually charged lines with a lascivious glee that would make Ciara sputter and Rihanna blush. The music by The-Dream and Tricky Stewart delivers heaps of insouciant attitude as well, shamelessly ripping off the stuttering keyboards from FutureSex/LoveSounds for “Freaky Freak,” even more shamelessly crunking out on “Drink in My Cup,” and completely shamelessly embracing the early ’80s, complete with Michael Jackson-esque hiccups, on “Friend Lover.” The stylistic ADD is all tied together with a knowing wink and a strut, whether it’s the false fade on “On Point” or goofy lines like “If my body’s a club, you’re my disco ball.” “Devotion” and “9 to 5” are soggy slogs, but a passel of crappy ballads is forgivable in exchange for a track like “P Is for Power.” Over a sparse primal beat, ER coos out incongruously precious 702-worthy harmonies explaining that “You ain’t getting no P.” The best part, though, is the bridge, which is all faux-sincere R&B clichéd emoting. Explicit sexual content from a girl group is unusual, but not unprecedented; mean-spirited parody from a girl group, on the other hand, is something to celebrate.

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