I don’t know why, but somehow Amerie begging her man to take control of her life is more offputting than the uber-subservient “Slave 4 U.” Not the first time a vocal vixen has made such a request, but it stings for the same reasons: Amerie has always come off as a strong, independent woman — for crying out loud she would only admit one thing kept her interested in her man. On “Take Control,” the new single that debuts on her slightly secret mixtape, she does more than ask to be taken care of, she wants to give up her will to/for her lover’s sake (“I would do anything to please you,” she crows, later chanting “take control of me”). Perhaps the feminism diatribe should be saved for another time. Either way, the tune’s subject matter is hardly her most compelling or enjoyable.
Cee-Lo’s production maintains his sunshiny aesthetic and blends in that of his famously Gnarly partner, Danger Mouse. Twanging guitars riffing endlessly are marched around by a boom-clap beat and buried under an infectiously overused brass section. Cee-Lo and his band of overdubs pop in to futher stuff the chorus. Amerie sounds good doing her best “not-Beyonce, but do you think I could be?,” giving her guy the key to the handcuffs and panty drawer. But of course she does! As a single, “Take Control” takes zero chances and banks on the same formula that she and her chart-topping peers have abused: horns and big beats. It’s not at all a track I’m repulsed by, and the oversaturated track could probably do well on pop radio. I never thought I’d say it, but R&B might need to slow down on spending its horn allowance. Last I checked, horns weren’t the only vivacious instruments.
Audio: Amerie, “Take Control”
The rest of the tape is enjoyable for the most part. Who else thought the “Money Maker” beat would sound sexy if Luda wasn’t stanking it up? It’s also nice to see someone in R&B trying to increase their output instead of merely milking every last penny from their album. The Amerie mixtape, Because I Love It, is available for FREE here. (Link and picture of Amerie looking faded via The Fader.)