People would whine about model-turned-rap-paramour Amber Rose releasing a debut single whether it was terrible or great–how dare an ex-stripper and ex-girlfriend of talent crash the no-longer-policed gates of music, right? It’s even called “Fame,” as if she deigned to maybe want it! But any novice cut a big enough check by an entertainment company can buy and has bought passable tracks to half-sing over and, often, ruin. A track by someone with slight musical associations, even if they’re mainly associations with musicians, is a step away from outrage, not toward it. Sure, an Amber Rose/Kanye West collaboration would probably be the best musical case, but some things aren’t meant to be. Instead, we’ve got a Wiz Khalifa guest verse, which is still more credible than these things go.
In other words, the concept here doesn’t have to be terrible–but, it must be said, the odds were still fairly high. Will it help to hear that “Fame” isn’t terrible? Or to hear the song, even? You can do that below.
There were really two ways this could go: something brash and slapdash and meant to troll you, or a careful, tasteful pastiche of sounds the radio likes. “Fame” feints at the former right up front with a pre-emptive pan by fake-magazine heckler Hector Hator (double pun score!) and a synth beep as warm and human as an error message. It’s unnecessary, but if Amber wanted to triage out the haters, it’ll probably work.
The rest is unassuming pastiche worthy of DJ Earworm. There’s the piano/kick drum format from the year’s pensive club songs, which clatters more as the chorus gets more pointed. Amber’s voice is as thin and smoothed-over as you’d expect, but it manages a timely stutter chorus, four-letter spelling and a one-note bridge, all of which did fine by trained singers. The lyrics are exactly what you’d expect from a moody, not snotty track about fame (it involves paparazzi and private jets and scrutiny! It’s fun but complicated!) and excises from Amber’s own fame history anything PG-13 or higher. Wiz Khalifa’s verse, meanwhile, is strictly of-convenience. But no one ever embarrasses themselves, making “Fame” the safest, most non-confrontational track Amber Rose could possibly have recorded. It’s up to you whether that’s a success.