Is the self-appointed dancefloor queen Princess Superstar stylish, cynical, and a deliciously empty kind of ironic, or just plain old cloying? Her hardcore fans -- who pride themselves on knowing as much about Fendi as they do Freud -- made their mind up long ago and voted "brilliant," "Goddess," and "diva." My Machine is their wet dream, a nearly 80-minute concept album about 10,000 Princess Superstar clones -- or "Duplicants" -- dominating earth in the year 2080. They are eventually defeated and the whole world learns it's better off without fervent celebrity worship and that one Princess Superstar is enough. Going where Genesis, Pink Floyd, and the other concept album greats wouldn't, My Machine takes wild detours into the heroine's battle with smoking addiction ("Quitting Smoking Song"), hangs with the sassy "Bad Girls N.Y.C.," and goes downstairs for the femdom anthem "Coochie Coo." The usual scandalous and fun lyrics from the Superstar and her thin but singsongy, playground-catchy melodies are in effect, but this time there's a revolving door of famous dance producers. Jacques Lu Cont, Junior Sanchez, and Armand Van Helden all lend a hand with quirkier than usual takes on their signature sounds while legend Arthur Baker oversees the whole thing. There's plenty of bubbly, sassy, supposedly edgy pop to savor, but the numerous interludes are often knotty bridges that heap a whole lot of ironic storytelling over tuneless note-spinning and sound effect noodling. Buy into the saucy story and it works much better, and to paraphrase the revolutionary Duplicant on "The Death of the Superstar," Superstar is ahead of her time, some of the time. Long stretches between the smirking party jams and the moments of wry brilliance will try the patience of those who don't passionately buy into her "dumb is the new smart" attitude, but Superstar in excess is pithy instead of ponderous to a graduate-level club kid. Freshmen should start with her much more direct Princess Superstar Is before attacking this unwieldy epic.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries