Amanda Blank, 'I Love You' (Downtown)

5
I Love You
Critical Mass
Label: Downtown

by Stacey Anderson

Don't you hate pants? Amanda Blank sure does. "If I wear a dress / he will never call / So I'll wear much less / I guess I'll wear my camisole," the Philly mistress of ceremonies deduces happily in "Make-up," three tracks into her seamy, dirty(ish) electro-rap debut. And, hey, if the Spank Rock and M.I.A. collaborator wants to two-step around in just a tank top, rude bits to the wind, that's her prerogative-but there are consequences, and that's where I Love You struggles.

The album unfolds with cowriter Santigold's dance pep boosting Blank's id, as she suits up for a soiree and gets her bank ("Make It take It"); then she's off wriggling coquettishly among awestruck fellas ("Something Bigger, Something Better") over triphoppy production from Diplo and Switch. The first act clips along as Blank's backing brats purr amid solid beats, clicking triggers, and heavy fuzz blips. But by halftime, the cracks in her puffed-up sexual bravado widen: She mewls awkwardly about how she needs love and a boy who's sweet as a dove ("a Love Song"), and later croons, "nobody gives a fuuuuck" ("Leaving you Behind"), with all the ethereal grace that implies.

After the insouciant, woman-on-top opening, it's an unsettlingly feeble counterpoint. Blank has party-girl chops; there's no reason to sober up just yet.

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