P3 starts out promisingly — "High Hopes" is like the first time PARTY sings with his full voice, over a "No Diggity" sample, no less. Other tracks, like "Only You" incorporate his Jamaican heritage, giving us a hint of personality. And "Joy" is a standout because its Burt Bacharach-throwback sound and hopeful lyrics veer away from ambient trap beats and make you think, Hmm, maybe PARTY does smile in real life.
But after a while, you realize this album suffers from the same ailments that left many disappointed with Drake's Views. There is little evolution, artistic risks or evidence of maturation. As someone who enjoys Party in his full-on Party-ness, that doesn't have to be a bad thing! The listener will decide at what point more of the same is boring, or solidification of PND's style. But his penchant for woeful situationship tales that always shift the blame onto the woman involved makes this, ultimately, 16 tracks of self-indulgent, oft-misogynistic wailing. And something didn't become clear to me until this very release: PARTYNEXTDOOR is a d---bag.
Our primary case study is No. 7, "Problems & Selfless." Let's start at the very beginning:
Two beautiful women arguing over me / Oh, I hope my son has these problems
If two women are arguing over you, chances are you've misled both of them. Sure, let's pass this f-ckboy-ery down to posterity.
Why do these things happen so often?
What's that saying about doing the same thing and expecting a different result? Maybe these things "happen" as a result of some actions and decisions PND is not taking responsibility for.
Yeah, I wonder / This is how it's gonna be / Two beautiful women claiming that they love me / Girl, tell me, is it cause I showed you how to be the best you?
From One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" to Bruno Mars' "Just The Way You Are" and beyond, the trope where a man credits himself for showing a woman how beautiful/special she is is rampant and tired.
"Can I ask you crazy girls a question? Why so selfish when a n-gga's only good to you?"
FLAG ON THE PLAY! Let us ask you a question: Do the girls become "crazy" before or after you choose them? Women, before you deal with a man, see whether he describe his exes as crazy. Then run the other way, because this is a man with the maturity level of a toddler.
And here we come to the most upsetting lyrics of the song, if not the entire album:
You'd kill a bitch for me and blame it on love / You would kill yourself, O.D. and blame it on love / You would do it on yourself, they can blame it on us / And I stay quiet for ya
If this isn't a reference to the incident earlier this year where Kehlani attempted suicide after being outed in a love triangle between herself, PND and NBA player Kyrie Irving, please let us know. These lyrics imply his staying "quiet" is a selfless act...after it was his posts on social media that incited the entire scandal. "Shenanigans," anyone? Yup, pat yourself on the back for that one, PND. Just don't expect us to keep listening.