Staten Island floats uncomfortably somewhere between the smokestacks of Jersey and the skyscrapers of Manhattan. The borough isn’t exactly renowned for being a hotbed for pop music up-and-comers, yet somehow the Island-proud Eamon has made territorial pissings with I Don’t Want You Back, an album that might just be one of the crappiest assemblages of songs since Britney Spears’ Oops!…I Did It Again. The good news is that Eamon manages to salvage the mess with some sort of politically incorrect, tongue-partly-in-cheek charisma (it’s certainly not the boy’s voice or the album’s shoddy production), making it a whole lot easier to stomach than recent efforts by Craig David and R. Kelly—the repetitive and lifeless “On & On,” in fact, recalls much of Kelly’s typically bland balladry. Most of I Don’t Want You Back isn’t clever or well-constructed enough to transcend the misogyny and double-standards put on whorish display (he likens taking a girl out to training a dog on the Timbo-lite “Girl Act Right” while his vocals sound like they were spliced together by someone who just learned how to use ProTools). Eamon’s potty-mouth excursions work best when juxtaposed with the old-school beats and melodies of Motown and Doo-Wop: “I Love Them Ho’s (Ho-Wop),” “I Want You So Bad” (which recalls Color Me Badd’s “I Wanna Sex You Up”) and, of course, the novelty hit “Fuck It (I Don’t Want You Back).” Eamon seems to have spent too much time in the suburbs (the album is filled with lyrics like “Your friends are herbs” and “You’re just another hag”), but a hook like “Fuck you, you ho, I don’t want you back”—well, that’s just pure fuckin’ poetry.
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