Album Review: Diddy-Dirty Money – Last Train To Paris

Artist: Diddy-Dirty Money
Album: Last Train To Paris
Release Date: 12.14.10

It’s been a long time coming but Diddy Dirty Money’s “Last Train To Paris” finally roars into the station – and it was surprisingly well worth the wait. After several push-backs and a label move from Atlantic to Interscope, the Bad Boy trio drops the new and highly-anticipated project, full of noteworthy production and great vocals, though lyrically the album leaves quite a bit to be desired. But that’s nothing new for Puff or his ghostwriter. The objective of a Diddy album has never been intellectual, rather only to make you dance. And dance you shall… even if it’s just a head nod.

With anticipation building for more than a year, there’s no wondering why there’s a slew of singles in the market to hail the coming of the “Last Train”. We’ve been rocking to ‘Hello Good Morning’ and the infectious ‘Loving You No More’ for months now, along with ‘Angels’. From the onset with ‘Yeah Yeah You Would’, the album kicks into high gear with some energetic beats and smooth vocals mostly powered by Dawn Richard, formerly of Danity Kane. Usher contributes vocals to ‘Looking For Love’, while his lil bro J-Lack contributes the track: both outshining Diddy on the song. ‘Someone To Love Me’ is a sure winner, along with the racy ‘Your Love’ which features some raunchy lyrics from the Dirty Money ladies and a verse from R&B crooner Trey Songz. Most notable is ‘Shades’, with a guest lineup that includes Justin Timberlake, Bilal, Lil Wayne and James Fauntleroy. Though the track sounds tailor-made for Diddy, his presence on it is rather forgettable next to his extremely talented guests. The latest single ‘Coming Home’ is another example of some of the great work found on the album. Penned by Skylar Grey (‘Love The Way You Lie’), it’s a heartfelt anthem of triumph and survival – somber but not depressing. Chris Brown doubles up his feature slots on the album, appearing on the lamentation ‘Yesterday’ and then alongside Wiz Khalifa and Richgirl’s Seven on another highlight of the album: ‘I Know’.

One key factor to note throughout the album: Diddy’s presence is not what really makes or breaks any of the songs on “Last Train To Paris”. I’d venture to say the album would be just as good if his verses were replaced by a higher caliber lyricist or just removed completely. It’s the musicality of this album that becomes its selling point. Production-wise this is definitely one of the better offerings of the year when it comes to hip-hop. Lyrically, however, the album falls short in several places – mostly when Diddy takes the mic. He’s never quite had the poetic flow that more notable rappers have but some of his bars just stick out as head-scratcher moments (“make love to you on marmalade…” really Diddy?) . All that aside, Last Train To Paris shocked me with how good the album sounds. It’s easy to groove to, a soundtrack that will really appeal to the corporate hip-hop/pop music fan with an  affinity for the finer things. All aboard folks, the Last Train is on the move…

Sound-Savvy rates Last Train To Paris with 4 out of 5 platinum headphones.

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