Track Review: “Turnin’ Me On,” Keri Hilson ft. Lil Wayne

6 Feb

Let me use this space to explain our policy on Not Safe For Work stuff: you’re not going to see it on the blog’s front page, and you’ll be warned above the jump about any possibly NSFW material below it.

For example, here: this video contains some NSFW language. 

This way, we think you’ll be able to best decide what you can read in your cubicle, and what you should check out at home before you click on a post with four-letter words, and we can reserve the right to display NSFW material if necessary for the purpose of the review. Good? Great. Hit the jump.

Keri Hilson’s long been one of my favorite female pop artists out there, mostly because I almost automatically esteem the songwriters who give other people their words before they hit as solo acts. In Hilson’s case, those words became “Gimme More” and “Break the Ice” for Britney, the great “Ice Box” for Omarion, and part of Ludacris’ “Runaway Love.”

But she’s clearly got some stuff left for her debut album, which has been delayed ad infinitum (this is the third single to come from it, but the first to crack the Top 20 of any chart), considering the sharp writing here. She deftly flips from turn-ons to turn-offs, sexy and strong throughout.

It even crossed my mind that her verses make this sort of a bizarro, club-ready “Fallin’,” especially the “better recognize a real woman,” because, surely, this song demands that you respect Hilson rather than salivate over her.

Oh, and then there’s Lil Wayne’s low, humming verse, which races along with the thrumming, head-bob-ready beat beautifully. (More on the beat: it’s smartly dropped from time to time, and a smart key line showing up every so often; Polow Da Don is rapidly approaching a monopoly on this sort of underproduced, infectious wonder as other producers search for the right bombast.)

Sure, Wayne trots out the tired alien metaphor and “make it rain,” but also calls his ice “albino white,” says “I hope your piranha bite,” and basically fills all the nooks and crannies of the beat with his voice and some light Auto-Tune. If he was only rapping “banana” over and over in the same tone, it would sound just as perfect for the beat; lost in some of the unfounded claims of Wayne as Best Rapper Alive is how good, technically, he really is, and he’s put on a clinic on beat-riding and voice control here.

The fear I have with Dwayne Carter at this stage in his career is that in taking on so many guest verses, he’s exhausting his or his pen men’s tank, and that he’s going to go from murdering beats to leaving songs DOA. He does far more than that here, and, matched with Hilson’s slinky singing, makes this song a banger.

I’ve played this about thirty times in the last two days. You will, too.

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