You can come at Diddy's 2010 effort from so many angles -- it's a concept album about heartbreak, it introduces the two-woman group Dirty Money, it's a house music album, his rapping is always up for debate, etc. -- that it's hard to pick just one, but to call Last Train to Paris a departure is not just a pun; it ignores the future-pop side of his ...
You can come at Diddy's 2010 effort from so many angles -- it's a concept album about heartbreak, it introduces the two-woman group Dirty Money, it's a house music album, his rapping is always up for debate, etc. -- that it's hard to pick just one, but to call Last Train to Paris a departure is not just a pun; it ignores the future-pop side of his 2006 effort Press Play and that "Jack U" single he did with dance producer Felix da Housecat. Take those releases into consideration -- and that Diddy is more a slick ringleader than competition-challenging rapper -- and this heavily European-influenced effort is the natural payoff with only the concept and the group left as surprises. Both are just window dressing, as the concept is more of a theme while Dirty Money -- Kalenna Harper and Dawn Richard -- come off as fine background singers or members of Diddy's Fashion Week posse. Still, this is one delicious dish as it mashes together Italo-disco, pop-rap, tech-house, and the sound of Bad Boy in its prime, with an all-star guest list that goes from T.I. to Grace Jones. King Combs adds his billionaire vision of the 808s & Heartbreak album to the mix, offering unforgivable lines like "Yeah when the lights fade/The lights they turn to grey/Bitch you don't love me no more," during the great "Strobe Lights," which sounds like Diddy and Lil Wayne hanging at the interstellar disco. Big names like Usher ("Looking for Love") and Swizz Beatz ("Ass on the Floor") earn their big paychecks and then some, while elsewhere, Diddy goes skeletal creeping through a brokenhearted landscape on "Someone to Love Me" with nothing but a stark Stax sample and lyrics like "I can't even hold down food I'm so rude." No doubt, Diddy injects so much of his unfiltered self into the album that no hater can be swayed, but it's his unique attitude that makes Last Train such a delight. This hook-filled, vibrant effort is that rare heartbreak album that can speak on a lovelorn level and then put a little strut back in your step. In other words, Last Train to Paris doesn't just get the dirt off your shoulder; it fully presses your suit, sending you swaggering back into the wicked world of relationships in true style. ~ David Jeffries, Rovi