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Not Her Best, But Not Bad
on July 7, 2005
While THIS IS NOT A TEST! is definitely not the highlight of Missy Elliott's discography, it is by no means a bad album. This is still signature Missy with her R&B balladry and alternative rap "freshness". The production is flawless and the arrangements are as unpredictable as ever. Missy spits rhymes and croons sultry ballads. Yet, THIS IS NOT A TEST! does have its high points as well as low points.
As per the other Missy Elliott's albums, the album begins with an intro which in this instance features Mary J. Blige. Then when proceed into "Pass That Dutch", one of the albums better tracks, but it isn't stellar by any means. It lacks the hit quality that songs like "Get Ur Freak On" (MissE...So Addictive) or "Work It" (Under Construction) had. It is still fun nonetheless.
The next song is "Wake Up" which features Jay-Z. While the background arrangment and drum programming are cool, the song has flaws. Missy's rhyme is fine, but Jay-Z surprisingly delivers a rather average if not mediocre performance, a surprise for the great Hov. Either way, the hook to this selection is surprisingly catchy, which saves it.
Skipping "fillers" such as "Keep It Moving" feat. Elephant Man and "Is This Our Last Time" feat. Fabolous, the next mega moment of THIS IS NOT A TEST! is "I'm Really Hot". This is by far the highlight of the album. Not only is it signature Missy, its hook is really catchy making it easily comparable to "Get Ur Freak On" and "Work It". This makes the album worth it. Following it is a not too shabby, fun duet with R. Kelly called "Dats What I'm Talkin'About" in which Missy goes into R&B diva mode with the great Pied Piper of R&B himself. Sure, it can't compare to the classicism of say "Take Away" which feature Missy & Ginuwine (MissE...So Addictive), but it is again, a better track.
"Don't Be Cruel" is okay, yet it doesn't hold its own against tracks such as "I'm Really Hot". "Toyz" is fine as well, but you begin to see diminishing quality, which makes THIS IS NOT A TEST! slightly weaker than Missy's previous titles. Still, as "I'm Really Hot" states... "radio says I'm killin' 'em"; That statement couldn't be truer, even on this lesser effort. Missy is what creativity is about and what music is about; she tries not to conform which makes her different and makes each and every album she releases very unique, engaging, and exciting. I've already reviewed and listened to THE COOKBOOK and Missy raises the bar, just as she did on previous albums. Either way, this is still a 3.5 to 4 star album for me. I highly recommend Missy!