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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 24, 2017   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Sisqo’s return marred by lackluster lyrical skills

"Last Dragon"

Sisqo

Fourteen years after releasing “Return of Dragon,” Sisqo released his third studio album, “Last Dragon,” on Feb. 10 to complete what he calls the “dragon trilogy.” Sisqo, famed for hits like “Thong Song” and “Incomplete,” offers this new album to mix his early 2000s rhythm and blues style with more current hip-hop, pop and electronic music trends. Though the album has a few strengths, limited vocals and repetitive themes make for a lukewarm listen.

The album begins with “Last Dragon.” Sounds of synths, timpanis and cheering children depict a joyous celebration. This serves to hype up the album as Sisqo’s great return. Sisqo ends the song by welcoming all to his comeback, then falling slightly flat for the remainder of the album.

Sisqo primarily sticks to his strength of rhythm and blues, but also throws in some rap verses, a piano performance reflecting similarities to John Legend’s “All of Me” and even attempts an upbeat, new-age ’60s sound in “Round & Round.” But his limited vocal range gets in the way of these attempts. Thus, branching out to other styles did not pay off in the end.

Lyrically, Sisqo presents scenes and themes listeners already hear in most R&B hits. Whether it’s eye-balling someone at a club or expressing regret for taking advantage of a lover, there’s no new territory to explore by the end of the album.

However, Sisqo’s collaborations do give the album a little flare. Waka Flocka Flame’s verse in “A-List” is a nice, comforting change from Sisqo’s semi-gravely vocals. The most meaningful songs on the album are Sisqo’s three duets with Dru Hill. Sisqo became famous through Dru Hill by performing with them in the ’90s. As the duo concludes the album, these tracks serve as a reminder that he did not forget the roots that helped him grow into a star.

For anyone who was a teenager during Sisqo’s late-’90s reign, this album is a delightful treat to remember what Sisqo was all about. For anyone else, there’s not too much to miss.

Luke Harbur can be reached at lharbur@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @lharbur