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An 'Animal' extension, nothing more
on December 5, 2010
Short and sweet EPs seem to be the hot commodity nowadays, with everyone from Lady GaGa to Flo Rida to electro-pop tartlet Ke$ha releasing `albums' with fewer than 10 tracks. It's unclear what they're supposed to represent; Lady GaGa's `Fame Monster' went from previous-album-extension to special edition to placeholder LP to more or less full-blown second album in a series of weeks, and Ke$ha's `Cannibal' may end up doing the same, depending on its success and how many singles it produces.
Packaged as both a deluxe edition with `Animal' and separately as its own EP, `Cannibal' essentially offers more of the same, and doesn't diverge radically from the boozy electro-party of Ke$ha's debut. Opener and lead single "We R Who We R" is a fizzy, upbeat romp very similar to the four hits that came before it, but it serves its purpose and will get most parties started. If you're getting fooled into thinking she's taking a different route lyrically because of the vague `be yourself' theme, don't; boozing, sexing and partying are all still the highest priorities here.
The title track rides a booming beat to a questionable metaphor (and off-color Jeffrey Dahmer reference), but remains passable ear candy thanks to its soaring chorus and peppy backbeat. "Sleazy" is a so-so hip-hop cut, while "Blow" makes such heavy use of auto-tune you'd think it was manufactured entirely on a computer. The latter, however, makes unique use of the vocal effects and ends up being a solid thrasher.
Although her pounding party jams are what she's known for, Ke$ha is at her most fascinating when her vulnerability shines through, as the stellar "Hangover" and "Dancing With Tears In My Eyes" displayed. The blend of melancholy and electronica has been responsible for some truly excellent songs, and "The Harold Song," `Cannibal's only ballad-ish track, is example of this. It leaves one to wonder if the world's impression of Ke$ha might be different if these types of tracks were ever released as singles.
Of all the unused `Animal' demos Ke$ha could have included here, it's unclear why she chose "C U Next Tuesday," a rather average mid-tempo hip-pop number. The silly but infectious "Mr. Watson" or bewitching "Run Devil Run" would've been far better choices, but at this point it's highly unlikely they'll see official release. The moderately dubstep-sounding "Animal" remix is alright, but highly unlikely to earn repeat listens.
`Cannibal' is mostly just `Animal' leftovers, and while in its complete deluxe edition form it's a pretty satisfying parade of electro-pop, it's not worth shelling 8 or 9 bucks over on its own. `Cannibal' may end up being treated as Ke$ha's second album, but it shouldn't be; despite its handful of pretty good club jams, it does nothing that `Animal' didn't do better.