Can you guess what Wayne is looking at here?…
Matt Cibula: I actually quite like this. Although I fully expect to stand alone here, I don’t have a huge philosophical problem with Wayne and rock, and I think he really understands how to construct a song. Well, maybe just this song; haven’t heard the album yet, probably don’t want to.
Ian Mathers: After hearing all over the place how horrible Wayne’s rock album is, I expected the single to be both more overtly terrible and much further away from his other singles. Sure, except for one (not terribly impressive) bit in the middle he mostly sings (sort of) instead of rapping, and the track kind of lurches unsteadily. But if the line between this guy being a genius and an idiot is as simple as including some guitar noises and the vocals being more laid back, how much of a genius was he in the first place? The music still sounds more like a production than a band playing (nothing wrong with that, unless you’re TRYING to be a rock band), Wayne still sounds more interested in the timbre of his voice than its meaning, and he’s still abusing AutoTune. He’s done better, much better, but this isn’t bad – even the music being halting and off-kilter kind of works.
John Seroff: As a follow-up to the multi-platinum and Grammy winner for best hip-hop album Tha Carter III, Lil’ Wayne has chosen to release a hair-metal album ominously titled Rebirth. The supporting single is an interpolation of a Moroder throwaway by Michael McDonald’s wife that Michelle Pfeiffer happened to dance to in Scarface. “She’s On Fire” is accompanied by sing-song autowarble lyrics (“She’s hot as hell/Let’s call her Helen”) on a par with the best of Great White and some remedial unimaginative shredding, both by Wayne. The final product sounds somehow worse than the headache-inducing description; it’s the sort of thing that happens when you have unlimited pride, money and drugs and no one to stop you.
Al Shipley: This is probably Wayne’s idea of a compromise, to meet the audience halfway after it soundly rejected “Prom Queen.” But everyone’s probably better off staying home for this one, too, and from the sales of Rebirth, it looks like they did.
Anthony Easton: Does this remind anyone of bombast in the 80s — like “Eye of the Tiger” or “Take My Breath Away”, but messier and kind of hotter.
Chuck Eddy: Opening is a refreshingly synthy approximation of early ’80s eye-of-tiger AOR; cheeseball topgun-rock guitar solo a couple minutes in follows suit — I wish there was more commercial rock now produced like that. If only Wayne’s dumb muffled mumble didn’t murder any sense of melody.
Martin Skidmore: Autotuned beyond recognition, presumably because he can’t actually sing. It samples Amy Holland’s “She’s On Fire”, and the tune part sounds like an inept lounge version of “The Final Countdown”. I really hope he gets back to hip hop soon, as this is a painful mess.
Alfred Soto: Intermittently this song scatters hints of the “Rock Box” schlock-a-rama it could have been; how could you lose when sampling Amy Holland? But Wayne mistakenly treats the vocals like vocals instead of a second guitar, so what could have been a really interesting statement sounds like Brand X.
Edward Okulicz: Soundtracking a training montage in Rocky, this would be amazing. With ineptly pattering percussion and probably drunken ramblings put on top of it, you might be tempted to replay the first 10 seconds in wonder, but you won’t want to listen to the rest of it.
Mallory O’Donnell: Let’s be honest with ourselves here. This is a five-minute intro onto which a 3 A.M. vocal take has been affixed. ProTools can make all kinds of rambles into songs, but it cannot disguise the fact that you were drunk and stoned at 3 in the morning and no one will ever know what the hell you were saying. Except that we’ll be able to tell it was deeply, deeply misogynistic.
Michaelangelo Matos: His keyboardist sucks, too.