It’s been nearly four months since Nicki Minaj located Roman in Moscow, and it seems we haven’t gone a week since without a transmission of some sort from Ms. Minaj and/or Mr. Zolanski. But not until today have we gotten to really bear witness to the Full Roman, as Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded has now leaked in its entirety—all 19 tracks and 69 minutes of Nicki alternately getting in touch with her masculine side on hard-hitting tracks courtesy of Hit-Boy and Da Internz and shooting for the stars with her Top 40-baiting RedOne and Dr. Luke cuts.
Join us as we do our track-by-track analysis of Roman Reloaded, separating the “Super Bass”es from the “Did It On ‘Em”s. Track one up first, with eighteen more to come throughout the day. Rejoice, good people: Pink Friday has come early this year.
Track 1: “Roman Holiday”
Sounds Like: An intro track to a ’70s prog rock-style concept album. “Take your medication, Roman / Take a short vacation, Roman / You’ll be OK / You need to know your station, Roman.” It’s not really a fully-formed song, as we heard when Nicki inexplicably performed it at the Grammys earlier this year, but rather an opportunity for Nicki to introduce the Roman character and just sound generally unhinged for four minutes, setting the tone for the craziness sure to follow.
Pros: Nicki does do a good job of sounding mentally unstable, which lends a certain credence to lyrics like “Cause my flow’s the sickest / And I’m a lunatic / And this can’t be cured with no Elixir” and “Witch, twitch, bitch! / Godmother’s right, this is World War 6.” The verses also have a strong, tense energy to them, thanks to some sparse production and well-deployed rattling sound effects.
Cons: The whole thing is more weird and disorienting than anything, and the songs that follow don’t exactly do much to make sense out of it in retrospect. It’s impossible to tell at what points Nicki is supposed to be Roman, when she’s possessed by Roman, when she’s talking to Roman, and when she forgets about Roman altogether. That’d be OK if “Holiday” was more interesting, but the hook is largely non-existent, and Nicki’s nanny-voiced braying on the chorus gets very irritating by song’s end.
Roman Rating: 10/10. The natural sequel to Pink Friday’s “Roman’s Revenge,” though even that song was a lot less overwhelming in its Zolanksism.
WTF Moment?: Tie between the bridge’s dip into “O Come All Ye Faithful” (??) and the couplet “Quack quack to a duck and a chicken too / And put the hyena in a weekend zoo.” (Yes, “Starships” is on this same record.)