IoS album review: Tulisa, The Female Boss (Island)


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The Independent Culture

The public image of Tulisa Contostavlos has taken a battering over the past year, her positive approval ratings diminished by factors both beyond her control (the leaked sex tape), and very much within it (the tacky tattoo she flashed to pimp her perfume on The X Factor).

The Female Boss takes her back to the day job, and not before time. For someone whose forename starts with a T, and whose surname contains two, it’s weird that Tulisa can’t pronounce that letter in speech: “There is an inner beau’y abou’ a woman who believes in herself”, she glottally intones on this album’s spoken-word intro. But maybe there’s method in her Madness-like accent.

The apparent intention, on tracks such as “British Swag” and others, is to launch Tulisa as a star in America, making a novelty feature of her UK provenance and Camden diction. Like most pop albums, it’s front-loaded. The banging club tunes, like the chart-topping “Young” are at the start, then it slumps into a series of obligatory ballads on which her unremarkable voice is somewhat stretched.

If you last the distance, there’s a pseudo-philosophical outro to rival the intro. Roll over, Heidegger, and tell Kierkegaard the news; there’s a new kid in town.