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Iggy Azalea — Change Your Life EP
on October 11, 2013
As the internet becomes increasingly influential in how people discover and consume new music, major labels are trying their best to keep up with the times. Lately, most of the artists that are being signed and acquired by these companies have already made names for themselves independently through Twitter, YouTube, Soundcloud, and other social networks. The appeal, then, of signing to a major label—Island Records, in the case of Iggy Azalea—is that the executives promise to groom and promote the artist, and help her transition from a cult figure to a mainstream phenomenon. Unfortunately, very few labels have been able to fulfill this promise, and Ms. Azalea is the most recent guinea pig for their faulty formula to success.
Her once highly anticipated debut album, The New Classic, has been delayed so many times (years, it seems), that even her most dedicated fans have lost hope that it will ever be released. Three singles—each accompanied by a relatively high-budget music video—have been serviced to the public without much fanfare. In fact. this EP feels less like an attempt to further Azalea's career, than a way for the label to return even a fraction of their investment thus far.
It is apparent that the label has no clue what to do with Iggy Azalea—at least not yet. And it's really a shame, because this EP—or "bundle," as the artist more appropriately calls it—shows a great deal of promise. In fact, the only real misstep here is the loud, gaudy, Bollywood-inspired "Bounce," which Azalea admits was recorded as a compromise with the executives who wanted their surefire "crossover" record. On the rest of the set, when she is allowed to continue the formula she developed on her mixtapes—hard-hitting hip-pop with a dash of electronic dance music—the results are much more enjoyable. "Change Your Life" is a cool, smooth slice of post-summer pop with a guest verse from mentor T.I., making it the best contender for her first breakout hit on American radio. Two decent remixes of the track, by Shift K3Y and the Wideboys, are also tacked on to the end of the tracklist.
The standout track, though, is Azalea's stellar debut single, "Work." Throughout the autobiographical cut, she details the struggles she encountered in pursuit of her seemingly far-fetched dream, delivering her verses with the utmost charisma and conviction; more than anywhere else on the EP, this is where she is truly convincing as an artist with promise. In fact, the original solo version is far more compelling than the remix featuring Wale. When she is completely honest and left to her own devices, Iggy creates truly great material. In the future, hopefully Island Records will let Iggy Azalea be great.