Forget the steampunk motif and the obvious assertion of “evolution” that’s “hidden” in this album’s title, because T-Pain’s fourth effort is no great leap forward for the Auto-Tune King, and it’s entirely less conceptual than his previous effort, the big top-minded Thr33 Ringz. Good news is that rEVOLVEr still feels like a circus right from the “Bang Bang Pow Pow” beginning, a post-Black Eyed Peas circus with T-Pain upping the electro and special effects, all as if he were auditioning for his own Super Bowl half-time show. On this opening cut, Lil Wayne creates an amazing meta circle with his line “I go so hard, they call me ‘Go So Hard’” before “Bottlez” gives the “up in the club”-style track new life with its incredibly strange bass grind from producer Catalyst. Up next, DJ Chuckie gives the album its grand David Guetta moment with a slick dance beat while adding party starter Pitbull to the cut to make sure that “It’s Not You (It’s Me)” is ready for prime time. Elsewhere, it’s love in the time of 4G networks with the socially networked “Default Picture,” an ode to racially mixed women with “Mix’d Girl,” and if you’re lucky enough to land a deluxe version of the album, another ode to all the “7’s” of the world with the pathos-free “Regular Girl.” The man’s overuse of Auto-Tune is now a given, and here it coats all of his heartfelt moments with robotic perfection, but it is surprising how T-Pain’s gigantic producer hat remains off save a handful of cuts, with names like Dr. Luke, Young Fyre, and the Bizness all contributing beats. T-Pain, the man, the singer, and the mobile app entrepreneur, moves to the foreground here, and with no Fergie in the way, he’s like a mega will.i.am armed with a dirtier mind. Add the near perfect singalong “5 O’Clock” with Lily Allen and Wiz Khalifa and some unashamed R&B of epic R. Kelly proportions, and you’ve got an album that’s either ridiculous or ridiculously fun depending on your point of view.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries