Crossin’ over – “21 Questions”!…
Spencer Ackerman: I FIND THE ANNIE LENNOX SAMPLE CUTE BUT YOU DO NOT HOLD MY INTEREST! ALSO, PUT YOUR VOCALS LOWER IN THE MIX! IT’S LIKE YOU’RE TYPING IN ALL CAPS AND NO ONE LIKES THAT!!!!!
David Moore: Still a little ambivalent about Nicki in general, but the Annie Lennox hook mitigates a frequent annoyance (that pause-for-punchline smirk with rhymes and ideas that don’t deserve a laugh). I still think her vocals could have been pushed down in the mix to give the sample more authority. This one needs the Jojo-Toto approach — match the easy-breezy energy rather than trying to pull the spotlight from it.
Al Shipley: As little use as I have for Nicki’s schtick, I do on some level respect her for sticking to her guns with relentlessly schticky stuff like “Massive Attack” and many of her hit collaborations. This song proves she’s as willing as anyone to sand down whatever rough edges she does have for the most insipid possible radio jam, though. Male rappers usually do songs like this to lure a female fanbase; I’m not sure what her excuse is.
Alex Macpherson: If “Massive Attack” was everything I hoped a Nicki Minaj single would be, “Your Love” is everything I’d feared as she geared up for her solo career. Maybe even worse: she’s not grating because she’s taken her affectations too far, but because she’s erased everything distinctive about herself in favour of a lazy sample and a truly horrible chorus of autotune barf (thanks a fucking bunch, Ke$ha, for upping the ante in terms of how ugly that shit is apparently allowed to sound on mainstream radio). This is Minaj’s equivalent of Gucci Mane’s “Spotlight”, a step I’d hoped she would bypass; and like “Spotlight”, the sad thing is it probably won’t even be the crossover hit she desperately wants. C’mon, Nicki, you’re better than this.
Jonathan Bogart: In which Nicki proves, in case anyone was still in doubt, that she’s a multi-trick pony, reworking standard R&B balladry to her own identity-hopping, face-pulling ends. The canny deployment of a cooing Annie Lennox sample adds emotional heft to her usual associative ribaldry, making the stuttered capper “certificate that I change my name on” turn suddenly sweet. I’m an unabashed fan, but I still wasn’t expecting to go “awwww” at a Nicki Minaj song.
Martin Skidmore: You get into a stage in relationships where the other person can do no wrong, and you love everything they do. I suspect I’m in that with Nicki Minaj: I completely adore this two-year-old slowie, despite her being heavily autotuned, especially on the sung parts. I know she’ll make far more exciting singles, and this may not seem like her finest moment in retrospect, but for now I am totally enamoured of it.
Alfred Soto: Manipulating an Annie Lennox sample as simperingly as the producers do Minaj’s vocals, this adds up to a couple of coy smut-raps and the year’s most awful chorus.
Michaelangelo Matos: I thought she was supposed to be Oversexed Barbie. This is more like Deflated Strawberry Shortcake.