Three cheers for new rock direction! Sort of…
Rodney J. Greene: Wayne meanders aimlessly around an 8th-note bass pluck for two whole minutes, singing life-of-a-rock-star nonsense, croaking when he can’t be bothered with words, and interjecting “Young Moolah, baby!” at inappropriate points, before making way for someone else to sing a late-ninetoid, SoCal mall-punk hook that proves remarkably catchy in light of the tune’s previous transience. Suddenly, it leaps straight into Aphex Twin’s drum machine and Wayne doing something ever-so-slightly more like rapping and less like gargling mouthwash, as if that was the next logical place to go. The rest of the song is spent in a doomed attempt to reconcile all of these elements.
Frank Kogan: Um, ok, AutoTune implies that there should be a tune, so “Basket Case”? Er, a couple seconds’ worth, well, not melody, but melodiness; anyhow, choice to sing, talk, or just kind of waggle your gums… chorus, we’ll leave that to Dre, OK. Right, back to me, what rhymes with “do”? “Roof”! Hop into my spaceship? Then I won’t have to see you no more. Ha! You just a earthling…
Jordan Sargent: As far as Nickelwayne goes, “Hot Revolver” is definitely the least embarrassing of the leaked tracks — I think they call that baby steps. At least the song, unlike “Prom Queen”, has a hook. Only problem is that it goes, “Boy you got a problem/ and you ain’t foolin no one but yourself”. I think they call that schaedenfreude.
Edward Okulicz: How awfully constipated it sounds, how unthrilling, flat and textureless the actual rock touches are and how hilariously ill-fitting Lil’ Wayne – who once seemed as versatile as he was ubiquitous – is for this style. Couldn’t they have at least autotuned the vocals into a hook? It’s also nearly five minutes long, which is kind of taking the piss.
Joseph McCombs:I’m really shocked at how much I like this one, since his savant-like stream of consciousness has always eluded me in the past. (Thankfully, no “Miss Keri Baby” this time around.) The distorted AutoTune of his vox will always be a distraction for me, but his repurposing of the “Basket Case” opening line is inspired and the chorus is a hoot.
Martin Skidmore: I’m all for people trying new things, but is he too big for anyone to tell him that this attempt at rock is a total failure? It’s clumsily and ineptly constructed, and much of the playing is no better. There is no energy, no strong guitar riffs or licks, and autotune all over it removes any possible sense of raw feeling. He changes his flow here – you still can’t term it singing – presumably to fit the rock phrasing he has heard, so we don’t even have that. I can hear nothing of worth or appeal in this at all. I might give it a 1 from most acts, but from someone with talent it is especially painful.
Ian Mathers: Okay, yes, the “Basket Case” rip is unforgivably gauche and the autotune is entirely unnecessary and clumsy. But the most infuriating part of “Hot Revolver” to all those claiming that Lil’ Wayne needs to stick to rapping is that the chorus is actually pretty good (admittedly, that’s more Dre’s fault, but still). The lyrical conceit is clumsy and Wayne’s verses falter unsteadily in the gap between singing and rapping; yeah, this would probably be better as a straight up rap song with a sung hook. But this really isn’t a million miles away from that anyways. It’s weird how big a deal the category this is put in depends on stipulation rather than anything to do with “Hot Revolver” itself.
Alex Wisgard: The vocals are autotuned to unintelligibility, but the track isn’t hooky enough to actually pull off the attempted emo/hip-hop genremashing. Am I alone in thinking Lil Wayne was so much better when he was just threatening to rock?
Martin Kavka: Although this is quite a spare track, I want to describe it as “rococo” — there are lots of little curlicues and ornamentations in it that strike my fancy. Perhaps I will now go put on a powdered wig in honor of Weezy’s adventurousness.
Doug Robertson: This is all well and good, but it’s not so much a track, more someone rapidly tuning through radio stations, occasionally stumbling on something good, before flicking back and forth just in case something else has been missed and I really don’t know what to make of it. It’s either absolute genius or the sort of jumbled mess that child would come up with if you gave them a suitable varied selection of drawing implements. It’d be a bugger to dance to, that’s for sure.