One standout song amidst production tricks

I’d seen the album cover for Sky Ferreira’s “Night Time, My Time” floating around the internet for a while. It featured a topless young woman in the shower – a nipple exposed and streaks of condensation that seemed to be on the camera’s lens. Even during a time when nudity is around every corner, it was still striking. But it was an obvious marketing ploy. We all know sex sells and I wasn’t buying.

Then good reviews started coming in – Pitchfork and the A.V. Club both gave it a thumbs-up – and it even popped up on The New Yorker’s end-of-year list. So, finally, I gave in and searched for the title track on YouTube. And even though I rolled my eyes during the whole video, which was basically Ferreira parading around in next-to-nothing for no reason other then to sell us her sex, the song was captivating. Ferreira’s apathy was reminiscent of Nico, her attitude of Courtney Love, and the song began with gritty spoken word, featuring spacey, self-conscious lyrics like “I’m useless and I know it/ Auditory hallucination/ You said I don’t care what I’m thinking about/ But I’m thinking of you right now,” before exploding into a haunting, distorted chorus during which she repeats the title over and over.

I was instantly hooked and had to check out the album. After several listens, I couldn’t help but be disappointed. Nothing on it has the strange power of “Night Time, My Time.” The record actually mostly consists of thin singing and production tricks. Ferreira doesn’t have the voice to carry a whole album (speaking seductively can only take you so far) and the songwriting doesn’t have the depth to keep us engaged. Songs like “Boys” and “24 Hours” are cute and have nice, fun hooks. But beyond that, all you’ll really find are some wannabe edgy sounds and confused compositions.

I really wanted to love this album. The title track has that “screw everything, let’s get into trouble, let’s watch the sunrise drunk” kind of vibe for which rock ‘n’ roll is perfectly suited. But I ended up mostly frustrated because for every enticing thing in this batch of tunes, there’s empty time with nothing interesting to match. “You’re Not the One” is serviceable ’80s pop, but I really think that’s not what Ferreira is suited for and in a year when so many others are doing it expertly (Tegan and Sara, Haim), it’s hard to look on this carbon copy of Cyndi Lauper favorably. Ferreira really should just get in touch with her inner Courtney Love and let it out. She wants to do it. She just needs to find a producer who can help.

2 stars out of 5

DOWNLOAD NOW: “Night Time, My Time”