Ricky Reed Is Real

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Ricky Reed certainly is real, as he's the producer, MC, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist behind the pop-rap-dance act Wallpaper. Past that, the title of the act's 2013 full-length debut must be ironic because Ricky Reed Is Real, the album, is a fist-pumping, poptacular, snarky, and slick way to escape the everyday doldrums. This one is chock-full of swaggering, steezy, and lightweight anthems that dust off the New Radicals' hit "You Get What You Give" as a blueprint while bass dropping and cleverly utilizing some other various post-Lil Wayne, post-Drake, and post-Black Eyed Peas building material. If that sounds like an insult, then the album plays out like a dressed-up slab of dreck where everything is too loud and everyone is too happy, but if that sounds like fun, the album is ridiculously fun with main man Reed coming off as a winning mash of the wonkiest pop. The opening "RriR" is not only a sorta-title track, but with ridiculous reasons for being ("I'm that bottle of Jack, I'm that roach on your dresser/I'm that last day of school, I'm that last day of summer") it's also a sorta-manifesto where everyone's popping mollys (even if nobody's got any) and drunken tattoos are commonplace (even if the dude told you it was permanent). Still, these little bits of gee whiz-dom are rattled off over a beat that's bass-driven and beautiful, as if New Order bassist Peter Hook joined LMFAO and the world became a better place. "Last Call" combines arena rock and EDM along with "we wanna riot" and "it don't mean nuthin'" during the infectious chorus, but it's shockingly sincere on all counts, and suddenly "talkin' loud and sayin' nuthin'" doesn't seem such an insult. When new wavey, Devo tones meet banging trap beats and Bay Area slang king E-40, "Geek Out" is a different way to the free the mind, and yet the ass still follows, as it does on "Puke My Brains Out" (the ultimate in silly), "WHO RLY CRS" (Twitter speak meets White Stripes meets Swedish House Mafia), and "Drunken Hearts" (dumb fun and dangerously close to Miley Cyrus material). That's plenty of highlights, but nothing is highbrow, making the slick album numbing in one go and more effective when parceled out. Save it for Friday, or whenever that Friday feeling is required.

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