by Chris Randle
The cad/gentleman duality is a familiar R&B persona, but I can’t remember the last album that embodied it as fully as King of Hearts does. The second song on Lloyd’s new LP, “Cupid,” exemplifies the latter archetype; over an atypically hard beat, he marvels that, what do you know, the little cherub has done it again! But it’s coming on the heels of this:
“Dedication to My Ex” could be the punk-rock version of Cee-Lo’s “Fuck You,” sanitized radio version and all. (The bowdlerized chorus substitutes “lovin,” though I wish Lloyd had used his most absurd idea, “Lucy.”) It reduces the earlier song’s bereft tantrum to three metaphorical chords of profane neo-soul. Andre 3000′s acidic guest verse has the bilious aftertaste of a John Lydon rant: “Bet your buddy don’t even know you don’t like red / Or was it fuschia? Fuck it, our future is dead.” For a singer so clearly indebted to the sex-terrified Michael Jackson, intoning “pussy” every five seconds is similarly jarring.
Like “Fuck You,” however, the song belies its lyric sheet (perhaps inadvertently). Lloyd doesn’t sound distraught here. He almost seems to be getting off on reminiscence, describing the really good sex he and his lady used to have with a bruised thrill. When he sings “I guess she’s feeling kind of freaky lately,” his tone carries a note of wistfulness. In this light, Lloyd’s weird sexist fantasy that the other man has literally fucked her vagina out of shape is less a sneer than a whimper. His words say pussy in heels, but his voice cries Venus in Furs. Cuckolded self-pity curdles into self-mockery. A jovial “I’m about to kill this bitch” is the one unfunny moment, especially when Chris Brown appears two tracks later, but masochistic and misogynistic have never been mutually exclusive, even among punks.