They say you can’t live up to a stellar debut record, and this may be true. Lady Sovereign is known as Britain’s white girl grime emcee prodigy, brought to American audiences via the marketing machine that is Jay-Z and compared repeatedly to Eminem. I was into the Lady’s initial defensive stand with singles like “Love Me or Hate Me,” but Jigsaw contains far too little of her infectious rapping, far too many jokey words like “fothermucker” that failed to make me laugh, and repetitive choruses that don’t really say anything at all. The title track is a perfect example of Lady Sov’s limited rapping on this record. “Jigsaw” relies heavily on the pseudo-pop line, “My heart is like a jigsaw puzzle/Pick it up and fix it for me,” which is quite a striking departure from her previously themes of self-empowerment and misanthropy. Couple this abrupt shift with AutoTune-like synthesized melodies, and you don’t have a recipe for follow-up success.
“Let’s Be Mates” can be interpreted as either a romantic ode to weirdo love or an invitation to freak friendship. Despite running around with Brits (the UK kind, not pop starlets with a variation of my name) who say things like “bin” instead of “trashcan,” I had a rough time deciding whether “mate” meant to pal around or procreate. Thankfully, Sov announced her single status mid-song, signaling her desire to get together—you know, together together.
Young folks have so much promise that I want to resist hating. For every fabulous sample—like The Cure’s “Close To Me” rip-off “So Human”—there was an equally plodding track. I like her defiant attitude against university in “Student Union,” but didn’t find “Food Play” and its coupling of edibles and sex all that appealing. In the end, I was turned off and tired. Maybe I’ve just gotten too old to be down with Britian’s “big midget.”