When asked earlier this year if Nicki Minaj’s upcoming third album, The Pink Print, would resemble the pop-leaning juggernauts from her previous album—“Super Bass” and “Starships”—she responded with a resounding: “Hell no.” That, coupled with her recent toned-down image and hard-hitting street tracks like “Lookin’ Ass” and “Chi-Raq,” suggested her next album might be a return to the more hip-hop roots of her early mixtapes—the ones that first caught Lil Wayne’s attention. But Minaj is a chameleon, and the album’s first single, “Pills N Potions,” released today, sounds like yet another pop win for the artist and her most personal single yet.
The Dr. Luke-produced song opens with a simple drum beat over which Minaj sings, “Pills and potions, we’re overdosing” in an echoed, cooing tone. But as it moves towards its infectious hook, adding a sweeping piano and violin arrangement, “Pills N Potions” becomes an emotional, introspective pop ballad with instant hit potential. And Minaj does rap on the track—“Even though you out here lookin’ so ungrateful/ I’ma keep it movin’, be classy and graceful”—but in a far more tame manner than she’s deployed on other tracks this year. Sonically, the song recalls the more subdued singles from her first album—“Moment 4 Life” and “Your Love”—which could mean she’ll be going back to basics on The Pink Print. And that would be a good thing.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Ebola Story
How our minds build narratives out of disaster.
The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola
PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer
The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics
A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers
Welcome to 13th Grade!
Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.
The Actual World
“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.