Review: Tulisa - The Female Boss

We find out if Tulisa deserves the title of Boss

Mon 19 Nov 2012

We find out if Tulisa deserves the title of Boss

Outspoken Camden girl Tulisa Constavalos has come a long way since finding fame as one third of N-Dubz. After becoming a judge on The X Factor in 2011 and being dubbed FHM's sexiest woman of 2012, it's fair to say that Tulisa's now a household name.

When she scored a No 1 with her debut hit single, Young, Tulisa proved that she had the chops to cut it alone, but has the self-named Female Boss lived up to expectations on her debut solo album? 

Read our track-by-track review of The Female Boss to find out...

1. Intro 

Tulisa's album kicks off with an inspirational and heartfelt monologue from the lady herself. Her unmistakable London accent can be heard over a mournful piano which plays a slowed-down version of her hit track Young. It might be a bit deep for us, but it definitely sends a positive message to her female fans.

Favourite lyric: "There is an inner beauty about a woman who believes in herself"

2. Young

Thankfully it doesn't take long for Tulisa's debut single to kick in with its unmistakable synth-filled introduction. A few months on since its release and the track is still just as fresh and punchy as ever. Love it or hate it, no one can deny how infectious this chart-topping hit is.

Favourite lyric: "We live on the edge of life/ We don't even compromise"

3. Live It Up ft. Tyga 

Right on schedule, Live It Up sees Tulisa go back to her well referenced 'urban roots' in this Caribbean dancehall-inspired track. It's far more chilled than the previous track, making you wanna wind down more than jump up and down, but it still has that summer groove nevertheless. Thanks to a little help from US rapper Tyga, the track is also given the hip-hop treatment.

Favourite lyric: "Put your palms up if you're with me/ Got nothing to lose now"

4. Damn

Tulisa explores being messed around by a no good man, taking pleasure in sharing the fact that she's started afresh. With elements of dance and RnB it's an interesting track to listen to and has some good - if not sometimes explicit - lyrics. With talks of a "new man," a "new dress" and a "new beat," we're pretty sure Tulisa is over her heartbreak.

Favourite lyric: "My heart's no longer blinded/ Can you see it can you find it?/ You're looking at the brand new version of me"

5. British Swag ft. Nines

This track lives up to its title and has plenty of, you guessed it, British swag. Tulisa takes off her good girl cap and gets down and dirty in this rude gal ditty. It's got beats, a rap from Nines and heaps of attitude. It's definitely not one for the grannies, or even the fans of Tulisa-pop, but hardcore fans will appreciate this heavier one.

Favourite lyric: "I'm all about my dollars but I specialise in pounds"

6. Live Your Life

This all-out dance track will definitely make you want to do some living to the max. With a sound not so distant from The Saturdays and a Eurythmics reference thrown in for good measure, this song has all the makings of a great pop hit. We like this one a lot and reckon it's going to be a future single, so watch this space.

Favourite lyric: "Empty glass not allowed/ Bottom out my account tonight" 

7. Visa ft. Wiley 

Tulisa enlists the help of chart-topping grime star Wiley on this feel good song. She takes us on a tour from the UK to LA with the help of her visa and euphorically celebrates her road to stardom. There's some 80s pop mixed with real grime sounds, leading into a chorus which really harks back to the N-Dubz glory days. By the end of the song, you definitely won't be able to stop shouting the words, "Check my visa!"

Favourite lyric: "Been a struggle coming up but now it's OK/ 'Cause I know I'm gonna be winning at the end of the day"

8. Foreigner

Tulisa adopts another dose of Caribbean swag for this next song. Simple drums accompany Tulisa's vocals along with the occasional trumpet in-between. This song probably won't have you dancing up and down, but it definitely shows off another dimension to Tulisa's talent.

Favourite lyric: "Foreigner know you wanna make me cry/ Foreigner who you foolin' you aint shy?"

9. Skeletons

Tulisa shows yet another side of her personality in this confessional track. We know what you're thinking, just how many sides has she actually got?! You can tell that she's put her blood, sweat and tears into this one, but we think it's definitely one just for the album rather than a showstopping single.

Favourite lyric: "I'll never be your hero/ I have too many flaws/ No knight in shining armour/ I'll never be your star"

10. I'm Ready 

This song is feisty with some serious 80s pop influences. It's another departure from anything else we've heard Tulisa sing before, as she enlists a male vocal to assist her on the track. It's less of an immediate floorfiller and more the kind of track which quietly creeps up on you. Be assured, by the end you will definitely be singing the chorus.

Favourite lyric: "If I shoot you down please don't forget the times you ran around/ You left my heart in the lost and found"

11. Steal My Breath Away 

Tulisa shows off her vocals on Steal My Breath Away, which is all about allowing yourself to fall in love. It's a RnB ballad with a twist that will definitely go down well with N-Dubz fans. It proves that despite her independence, sometimes even The Female Boss likes to be swept off her feet.

Favourite lyric: "Baby you can take me off my high-horse/ Take me by the hand and I might follow"

12. Kill Me Tonight 

This number sees Tulisa address her party girl reputation. It's full of trance and synth, and will definitely get you dancing the night away in style. There's also a real opportunity for T to showcase her vocal range in all the right ways. 

Favourite lyric: "He can taste my flavour/ On my worst behaviour"

13. Counterfeit 

Counterfeit deals with deceit, heartache and most importantly allows Tulisa to use as many currency-based metaphors as possible. After listening to the song, see if you can think of any more. We imagine she's used every one in the book.

Favourite lyric: "I thought your love was money in the bank"

14. Habit 

Habit is another ballad which deals with lost love as Tulisa's raw vocal is accompanied by gentle piano and strings. It's simple yet beautiful. We like it, lots.

Favourite lyric: "You can take it all and not even the bad but just don't take my sanity with you" 

15. Sight Of You

Tulisa's current single, the first ballad to be released from her album, is definitely one of the most heartfelt tracks. Even without the amazing video which co-stars Shameless actor Jody Latham, you can still feel Tulisa's raw emotion and emotional turmoil.

Favourite lyric: "I used to love the sight of you/ Now I can't stand the sight of you"

16. Outro

Tulisa returns for a final inspirational message to her fans in the outro. Though it may have seemed a surprising choice at the beginning of the album, by the end it totally makes sense. Tulisa has overcome plenty of obstacles, so it seems a fitting way to acknowledge all she's achieved so far. If you weren't a believer of Tulisa's passion and independence before, you will be by now.

Favourite lyric: "The universe doesn't give you the people you want in life, it gives you the people you need"

The Female Boss is a well-rounded representation of the singer. With a whole host of different sounds, merging pop, RnB, and hip-hop with dubstep, reggae, dancehall and grime, Tulisa takes us through her varied influences and musical passions one-by-one. Although the album does slow down considerably towards the end, there are a few potential big dance single releases in the form of Live Your Life and Kill Me Tonight. Though it may not be winning any Ivor Novello's any time soon, it's a competent and varied effort to mark the beginning of Tulisa's solo career. It proves she may be around a little while yet.

Rating: 3/5

GALLERY: Tulisa in pictures

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