Four backup dancers trying to make it in the music industry. Heard that before. But four backup dancers trying to make it as singers in the music industry? Sounds like they're headed for disaster. That is unless The-Dream, Tricky Stewart, and Los Da Mystro offer to produce your debut album. Electrik Red might have struck gold when they landed such an established production cast as those three, but it also gave them quite a difficult hurdle to pass over. As How To Be A Lady, Vol.1 sounds like a carbon copy of a record The-Dream would make for himself, it’s difficult to catch any of the girls’ personalities in their debut.
A second album will reveal if Electrik Red have any staying power and hopefully they get a mash-up of different producers and styles so they have an opportunity to establish their persona on record. On How To Be A Lady, Vol.1 it nearly sounds like Terius “The-Dream” Nash is the one singing the songs half the time. As with all The-Dream/Tricky Stewart collaborations the beats are solid and the mood is fun, but without faces to the name, it wears out its welcome quickly. One of the inherent problems with the pop music industry is the need to attach the tunes to a familiar personality. The celebrity of artists is just as, if not more important than the quality of the songs.
Some of the melodies on How To Be A Lady, Vol.1 are so vanilla they are quickly worn out (“Bed Rest”, “Devotion”), and the few memorable hooks that do exist aren’t nearly enough to carry the shallow lyrical efforts that center on the typical independent woman subject matter that is so overplayed by female R&B artists.
The track that has the most potential for mainstream airplay commits radio suicide by inserting profanity in the middle of the hook. By making a core part of the chorus of “So Good” a swear word, Electrik Red nearly guarantee its failure.
Overall, there’s nothing particularly objectionable about this release. Ironically, however, it needs less The-Dream and a little more Electrik Red. How To Be A Lady, Vol.1 is such a pat record for The-Dream and company that it inhibits anyone from getting to know Electrik Red as a individual singers. Unless they just want to dance behind Usher or in Mariah Carey videos for the next ten years, Electrik Red need to drop the fem-strong cliches and exhibit distinctive persona.