It’s hard to know exactly what to do with The Dutchess. Like Gwen Stefani’s solo effort, there is a lot going on here. “London Bridge” is the single, but the rhyme makes an odd appearance in the disturbingly annoying “Pedestal.” The chorus of “Big Girls Don’t Cry” is a throwback to Madonna’s “Just like a Prayer.” The reggae-sque “Mary Jane Shoes”—which for one reason or another tells us this really isn’t about the footwear—reminds us of Marley’s “No Woman No Cry.” In “Finally,” Fergie shows us she can do Disney themes—good diction, nice big voice, very Disney/Broadway musical. For a pop record, it’s quite hard to get into. For an R&B record, it’s lacking in the signature suave rhythms. Sure, it’s an interesting listen, but something tells us it’s trying to be too much so.
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