Sound: "Superbeautifulmonster" is the fourth album of "Canadian punk princess" Bif Naked and another attempt to conquest USA. That was a serious test for her -- 3 years of work, 50 songs (35 of them recorded) to compile 13 tracks that "surpasses anything I've done before" as she says. Trying to hit America with at least something, she put on her record songs of so incompatible styles as alt-rock, gothic-flavored metal and teenage punk-pop, hoping that one of those would work. All of the tracks being radio-friendly.
Punk-pop influenced tracks (like "That's Life") are the desert of her infamous hit-making co-writers Linda Perry (P!NK) and Peter Zizzo (Avril Lavigne). Work with these two just could not be unnoticeable. Fury fast songs (like "Funeral Of A Good Girl") on "Superbeautifulmonster" sound quite silly both in vocals and lyrics when slower mellow and aggressive tracks ("Question Song" for example) have a certain kind of unique style (very much alike Drain STH, but still...), facing Bif at her best and making her sound more natural. Anthem-like "Ladybug Waltz" is one of the strongest songs -- slow and dangerous, filled with mysterious mood, though not a hit-maker. A real potential single is a ballad with a large chorus "Henry," which is actually a love-song to Henry Rollins. Some electronic flourishes here and there add some "vintage" to music, sounding quite like from the past century. Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters" cover was made probably to encourage the metal image and lead the amount of songs to the number 13. Quite frankly, it wasn't worth covering as it's not very different from the original, except for the voice tone.
Some songs from "Superbeautifulmonster" are quite good, but each by itself, not all together mixed on the record. // 7
Lyrics: Well, it's obvious "Superbeautifulmonster" is not the first effort for Bif Naked to sing and the lady controls her voice very well. She knows what she should sound like in every song and what's most important -- she knows how to get it. I was amazed how she can switch her husky and smoked voice on heavy rockers like "I Want You" and first single "Let Down" to much less harsh, caring joyful melodies on popsters "That's Life" and "Funeral Of A Good Girl." A very wise trick -- almost all tracks have a lower "base" in choruses -- a lower back vocal that supports her voice and makes it sound more powerful.
Soul-searching lyrics at most parts would better fit a teenage girl that still can't decide who she want to be and being mad at her parents 'cause they make her go to school every day. Bif Naked probably once was that girl and just got stuck there for some time. Other than that, these are regular woman's very emotional sufferings -- love, dealing with disappointments, despair, always being on her own. // 8
Overall Impression: With her fourth album of original material, Bif Naked appears darker, stronger and more self-dependent. She is definitely growing, getting more mature from one album to another, but she needs to speed up, otherwise she's risking to find herself one day being 55 and still trying to fit the image of hypersexual 13-year-old. Sexual context appears everywhere on the record -- from porno-borrowed screams and moans in "Yeah, You" and a lingerie catalogue in CD booklet to drummer's name -- Scotty Sexx.
She attracts a lot of attention, both in good and bad ways. The woman's certainly got some kind of reactive energy -- being 35, after ten years in the industry, four albums and her own indie label (Her Royal Majesty Records) she started designing the CD sleeves for herself. It's worth some respect at least for the courage (even though her new CD looks quite tacky).
Bif Naked got something for all of us -- if she fails to impressed you by her music, you'll be impressed by her tattoos or just by the way she looks. // 7