Broke with Expensive Taste

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Broke with Expensive Taste
Studio album by Azealia Banks
Released November 7, 2014 (2014-11-07)
Recorded 2011–14
Genre
Length 60:19
Label
Producer
Azealia Banks chronology
  • Broke with Expensive Taste
  • (2014)
  • Fantasea II: The Second Wave
  • (TBA)
[1]
Singles from Broke with Expensive Taste
  1. "Yung Rapunxel"
    Released: April 16, 2013 (2013-04-16)
  2. "Heavy Metal and Reflective"
    Released: July 28, 2014 (2014-07-28)
  3. "Chasing Time"
    Released: September 22, 2014 (2014-09-22)

Broke with Expensive Taste is the debut studio album by American recording artist Azealia Banks. In 2011, Banks started working on the album despite not having signed to a record label at that time. A year later, she signed a contract deal with Interscope and Polydor Records to work on the album. However, she felt dissatisfied with the labels' representatives and consequently, she ended the contract with the labels in July 2014 and signed to Prospect Park. After being delayed for a long time, Broke with Expensive Taste was released on November 7, 2014 by Banks herself and Prospect Park via Caroline Records without any prior announcements.

Broke with Expensive Taste was described as a house rap and dance-pop record which incorporates elements from a wide range of genres, including punk, trance, trap, R&B and UK garage. The album received mostly positive reviews from music critics, who praised Banks' musical diversity and opined that the album was "worth the wait." The record was preceded by three singles: "Yung Rapunxel", "Heavy Metal and Reflective", and "Chasing Time". Broke with Expensive Taste was a modest success, peaking at number 30 on the US Billboard 200 and appeared on record charts of several countries including Australia, Scotland, Belgium, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.

Background[edit]

In 2011, it was reported that Banks was working on a studio album with British producer Paul Epworth despite not having signed to a particular record label at that time.[2] In January 2012, Banks signed a record deal with Interscope and Polydor Records to work on her album, and a month later, she announced the title of the album—Broke with Expensive Taste.[3] Approximately a year later, she handed a complete album in to the labels. Banks initially thought that the album would receive favorable reception from the labels; however, the representatives told Banks that she had not recorded a "hit" single for the album. She consequently recorded a song called "Chasing Time" for the project, yet the label denied the track and forced Banks to choose "Soda" as the lead single, which made Banks become incredulous. Ultimately, Banks ended the record deal with Interscope/Polydor in July 2014.[4] She later approached Jeff Kwatinetz and signed a contract with his company, Prospect Park.[5] She reveals her dissatisfaction to Rolling Stone,

I just spent a whole 'nother fuckin' four months in the studio trying to come up with some shit, and you want to go with fuckin' 'Soda'? I really just lost it. That was the day you saw me on Twitter, like, 'The fuck? I'm tired of talking to these white guys about my shit.' It felt like they were playing some sort of head game. And you know I love conspiracy theories. I was like, 'They're trying to brainwash me! Fuck these guys!'[4]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Banks performing at Life Ball in Vienna, Austria, May 2013

In regard to the album's sound, Banks has stated that she was aiming for something "just as stylish and authentic as anything that I do."[6] She added that she did not want to do anything "young [or] mainstream" and described the album as "anti-pop."[7] Steven J. Horowitz from Billboard characterized Broke with Expensive Taste as a hip house record with touchstones from R&B, UK garage and drum and bass.[8] Mark Guiducci of Vogue noted the elements of trance and trap,[5] while The Observer‍ '​s Suzie McCracken described the record as "an aggressive strain of hip hop" blending with UK garage, deep house and trap.[9] Writing for The New York Times, Jon Pareles also detailed the fusion of Caribbean beats, punk and surf rock.[10] On behalf of The Irish Times, reviewer Jim Carroll called Broke with Expensive Taste an album of "dance-pop gallivanting."[11]

The album opens with "Idle Delilah," a glitchy mid-tempo track that contains "tropical, thuggish and quirky" sounds and was compared to the work of Lauryn Hill due to its use of both rapping and singing, which were noted for being rugged and velvety.[12] "Gimme a Chance" contains feather-light synths, an '80s-style sample, bold brass instruments and haphazard DJ scratches. The song's production changes towards the end and takes influence from a bachata groove, while Banks sings in Spanish.[12] "Ice Princess" is an uptempo song that juxtaposes a sample of Morgan Page's 2011 dance song "In The Air" against a heavy trap drum pattern.[12]

"Yung Rapunxel" sees Banks alternating between rapping and shouting over a manic '90s Hi-NRG-influenced "witch-hop" beat.[13] "Heavy Metal and Reflective" is built over clanging synths and wobbling bass.[12] Both songs, produced by Lil Internet, have a more aggressive sound compared to the rest of the album.

Release and promotion[edit]

In July 2013, Banks announced that the record would be released in the following fall; however, this was delayed to January, and again to March 2014.[14] Ultimately, the album was released by Banks and Prospect Park via Caroline Records on November 7, 2014, without any prior announcements.[15][16] In December 2013, Banks announced the first four tour dates in support of the album. The tour was set to begin in March 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.[17] However, in early March 2014, weeks before the opening date, Banks rescheduled the tour dates and cancelled some as the album's release was delayed.[18] The rescheduled tour took place in Europe throughout September.

In January 2015, Banks began to announced tour dates for the album. The tour begins in Japan in March 2015 and extends throughout the year. The tour marks Banks' first concert in New York since performing at the Bowery Ballroom in 2012 for her debut tour, The Mermaid Ball.[19]

Singles[edit]

The hip house and industrial song "Yung Rapunxel" was the first single from the album[29][30]

Problems playing this file? See media help.

In January 2013, Banks announced that the album's lead single would be a track titled "Miss Amor", which would be accompanied by a B-side titled "Miss Camaraderie".[31] Nonetheless, the plan was cancelled and later that month, she confirmed that "Yung Rapunxel" would be the official lead single from Broke with Expensive Taste.[32] The track was made available for streaming via SoundCloud in March 2013,[33] and was released for digital sales a month later.[34] "Yung Rapunxel" peaked at number 25 and 152 on the Australian Urban Singles Chart and UK Singles Chart, respectively.[35]

On May 6, 2013, Banks announced that "ATM Jam" featuring Pharrell would serve as the second single from Broke with Expensive Taste.[36] It was released on July 11, 2013.[37] However, due to a negative fan feedback, Banks later announced that "ATM Jam" would be removed from the album.[38] The second official single from Broke with Expensive Taste was "Heavy Metal and Reflective", which was released for digital sales on July 28, 2014.[39] The song peaked at number 40 on the UK Indie chart. Due to a leak of the song, "Chasing Time" was rush-released as the third single from the project, being released on September 22, 2014, a day after the leak.[40]

In further promotional efforts for the album, music videos were also filmed for non-single tracks. The music video for Wallace, filmed on June 2, 2014 in New York, was released on March 11, 2015 and is an interactive project released through Google Cloud.[41] The music video for Ice Princess, filmed on February 2 and 3, 2015 in Montreal, Canada, was released on March 31, 2015.[42]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3/5 stars[43]
Billboard 3.5/5 stars[8]
Robert Christgau A[44]
The Guardian 3/5 stars[29]
Los Angeles Times 3/4 stars[45]
NME 7/10[46]
The Observer 4/5 stars[9]
Pitchfork Media 8/10[47]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[48]
Slant Magazine 3/5 stars[49]

Broke with Expensive Taste received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, it received an average score of 77, based on 26 reviews.[50] Rolling Stone magazine's Suzy Exposito hailed it as possibly "the year's boldest release",[48] while Matthew Horton of NME called the album "a cascading flood of madcap imagination. Was it worth the wait? Just about."[46] Suzie McCracken of The Observer believed it is "a contender for album of the year" and praised the music's eclecticism: "Banks immerses herself in 90s nostalgia, spitting darkly and sharply over tracks full of elements of UK garage, deep house and trap (an aggressive strain of hip-hop)."[9] Brennan Carley from Spin felt Banks displays a "burst of personality" and wrote that the album is "dripping in confidence, class, bursts of brilliance, and personality."[51] Robert Christgau said that almost each song is a gratifying listen because of Banks, who boasts rather than reveal anything vulnerable, but showcases a lucid rap delivery, full-bodied singing, and an attractive voice: "And unlike her male counterparts she doesn't equate sex with power—there's verbal as well as vocal evidence that she feels it elsewhere than her genitalia."[44]

In a less enthusiastic review for Clash, Mike Diver felt the album is as much enjoyable as it is "schizophrenic and really quite silly in places".[52] Nolan Feeney of Time qualified his praise of Banks' ability to make the lines in her raps sound melodious: "She lines up syllables like a firing squad, repeating the same sounds and hums and clicks with a sing-song-y cadence. When she's in the zone, it's vaguely hypnotic. The downside is that it's also a limited tool set — her flows sometimes sound too much like her other verses. Get deep into one Azealia Banks song, and you'll often hear a line or two that remind you of another."[53] Fred Thomas of AllMusic said its highlights, including "the time-tested singles", are spoiled by musically incongruous filler, which makes the album feel "like a piecemeal collection of tracks that spike and dip in terms of quality and intent".[43]

Accolades[edit]

Broke with Expensive Taste was named as the 3rd best album of 2014 by Cosmopolitan.[54] James Reed from The Boston Globe ranked it number 10 on his list of 2014 best albums, writing that the album "landed with a thud."[55] Meanwhile, The New York Times critic Jon Pareles listed the album at number 3 on his list of the best albums of the year.[10] On the list of 40 best rap albums of 2014 by Rolling Stone, Broke with Expensive Taste was placed at number 10; a reviewer from the magazine labelled the record "the sort of effortless triumph that deserves to outshine the Internet circus."[56] Writing for Time, Nolan Feeney deemed the album the 10th best release of the year, praising Banks' style and vocals on the album.[57]

Broke with Expensive Taste was voted the 14th best album of 2014 in the Pazz & Jop, an annual critics poll run by The Village Voice.[58] Robert Christgau named it the 7th best album of the year in his ballot for the poll.[59] The record also appeared on lists of best albums of 2014 by musicOMH (number 98[60]), Pitchfork Media (number 25[61]), Complex (number 15[62]), and Spin (number 38[63]).

Commercial performance[edit]

Broke with Expensive Taste debuted at number 62 on the UK Albums Chart for the week ending November 15, 2014, with 1,751 copies sold.[64] The album debuted at number 30 on the US Billboard 200, selling 11,165 copies in four days.[65] In its second week of sales, the album dropped to number 105 on the chart, selling an additional 4,096 copies.[66] As of April 2015, Broke with Expensive Taste has sold 31,000 copies in the United States.[67]

Track listing[edit]

Credits for Broke with Expensive Taste are adapted from digital booklet[68]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Idle Delilah"  
Pearson Sound 4:32
2. "Gimme a Chance"  
  • Banks
  • James
  • Mason, Jr
  • Enon
  • Oskar Cartaya
  • Enon
  • Oskar Cartaya
3:54
3. "Desperado"  
M. J. Cole 3:57
4. "JFK" (featuring Theophilus London)
  • Banks
  • London
  • James
  • Alexander Green
Boddika 5:00
5. "212" (featuring Lazy Jay)
Lazy Jay 3:25
6. "Wallace"  
  • Banks
  • James
Yung Skeeter 3:51
7. "Heavy Metal and Reflective"  
  • Banks
  • James Strife
  • Julian Wodsworth
Lil Internet 2:37
8. "BBD"  
  • Banks
  • James
  • Jonathan Harris
Apple Juice Kid, Sup Doodle 3:18
9. "Ice Princess"  
  • Banks
  • James
  • Harris
AraabMuzik 3:43
10. "Yung Rapunxel"  
  • Banks
  • James
  • Premro Smith
  • Chadron Moore
Lil Internet 4:00
11. "Soda"  
  • Banks
  • SCNTST
  • Jack Fuller
SCNTST 3:43
12. "Chasing Time"  
  • Banks
  • Harris
  • Warren "Oak" Felder
  • Ronnie Colson
  • Steve Mostyn
  • Andrew "Pop" Wansel
  • Kelly Sheehan
Pop Wansel 3:30
13. "Luxury"   Machinedrum 2:48
14. "Nude Beach A-Go-Go"  
Ariel Pink 2:20
15. "Miss Amor"  
  • Banks
  • James
  • Fuller
Lone 4:28
16. "Miss Camaraderie"  
  • Banks
  • Fuller
  • Cutler
Lone 5:09
Total length:
1:00:19

Sample credits[edit]

  • "Idle Delilah" contains excerpts from "WAD" by Pearson Sound
  • "Gimme a Chance" contains excerpts from "Knock That Door" by Enon
  • "Desperado" contains excerpts from "Banderlero Desperado" by MJ Cole
  • "JFK" contains excerpts from "Breezin'" by Boddika
  • "212" contains elements of "Float My Boat" by Lazy Jay
  • "Ice Princess" contains samples from "In the Air" by Morgan Page featuring Angela McCluskey
  • "Yung Rapunxel" contains a sample of "No More Drama" by Mary J. Blige and "Fuck da' Haters" by Ruff Ryders and samples a portion of "Stop Playing Games" by 8Ball
  • "Miss Amor" contains excerpts from "Coreshine Voodoo" by Matthew Cutler
  • "Miss Camaraderie" contains excerpts from "Rapid Racer" by Matthew Cutler

Charts[edit]

Chart (2014) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[69] 49
Australian Urban Albums (ARIA)[70] 2
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[71] 197
Irish Albums (IRMA)[72] 79
Irish Independent Albums (IRMA)[73] 15
Scottish Albums (OCC)[74] 58
UK Albums (OCC)[75] 62
UK Independent Albums (OCC)[76] 5
UK R&B Albums (OCC)[77] 6
US Billboard 200[78] 30
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[79] 2
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums (Billboard)[80] 3
US Top Rap Albums (Billboard)[81] 2

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Label Ref.
Worldwide November 7, 2014 Digital download

[82]

United States March 3, 2015 CD
[83]
Japan [84]
United Kingdom March 20, 2015 Caroline [85]

References[edit]

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