Track 16: “Young Forever”
Sounds Like: A summertime puppy-love pop ballad, produced by Dr. Luke for maximum crossover potential. Like “Right By My Side,” it sets its sights for mainstream appeal pretty damn high, and Nicki even forgoes the token rap verse she throws in at the end of that song here. Basically, it’s a slightly better version of Rihanna’s “You Da One,” with the same shimmering production (and super-light dubstep touches to prevent it from sounding completely edgeless) and general emotional effusiveness.
Pros: Well, it’s not the Nickiest of songs, but it really does sound like a smash. It’s hard to remember a song more custom-designed for summer-camp romances than this one—if Nicki was smart, the video would be a shot-for-shot remake of Mariah Carey’s “Always Be My Baby,” and all of us here at Popdust would have to be hospitalized for our nostalgia overdosing. And it’s certainly not like Nicki’s not capable of carrying a song like this—she hits all the right notes with her heartfelt-but-not-overpowering vocal here, even on the closing spoken-word part: “You’ll always be mine / Frozen in time / Young. Forever.” 1985 Madonna would be proud.
Cons: As good as the song is, it’s hard to shake the thought that it should’ve gone to Rihanna instead. Not fair, perhaps, and we doubt Rihanna would waste time fretting about it herself, but we like Nicki so much when she’s doing her own thing that it’s hard to get too excited about it when she steps so clearly into another artist’s domain. If she really wants to break whatever binds are remaining on her pop potential, though, this is a pretty good song to do it with.
Roman Rating: 0/10. Check back on Roman 3: Beware the Ides of Roman.
WTF? Moment: Those dubstep wub-wubs that pop up every so often in the verses kinda come out of nowhere. Don’t pull those things out unless you’re gonna use ‘em, Lukasz.
Previous Reviews: “Roman Holiday,” “Come On A Cone,” “I Am Your Leader,” “Beez in the Trap,” “HOV Lane,” “Roman Reloaded,” “Champion,” “Right By My Side,” “Sex in the Lounge,” “Starships,” “Pound the Alarm,” “Whip It,” “Automatic,” “Beautiful Sinner,” “Marilyn Monroe“