Rick James

The Flag

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    4
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After escaping from his creative rut with Glow, Rick James offered an abundance of formulaic funk on The Flag, his final album for Gordy and the weakest of his career. There are a few decent songs on side two of this LP, including the sociopolitical smoker "Silly Little Man" (an angry commentary on the nuclear arms race and U.S./Soviet relations) and the new wave-ish "Painted Pictures," which describes the type of facades people show the world. Meanwhile, side one is a complete waste. On knee-jerk, assembly-line tracks like the single "Sweet and Sexy Thing," James simply recycles his funk hits of the early '80s, and he does so without even a trace of conviction or sincerity. Slick Rick is merely going through the motions, and it's painfully obvious.

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