The year is drawing to a close, and once again critics are at loggerheads wondering what the album of the year will be. In a year where no one release unzips its fly and pisses all over the competition from a lofty height, everyone is in complete agreement over which record was beneath us all: Kevin Federline's Playing With Fire, an album that has been referred to in the past tense from the moment it came out, from an artist whose "rap career" was first mentioned in quotes and never made it out of there. When people talk about K-Fed's album, it's in the same hushed tones that people only seem to use when talking about Gigli or Glitter or the past five years of the Bush administration. Here is a postmortem on how America's Most Hated pumped up the venom.
"Y'all Ain't Ready"
Despite his own wife's jabs that his debut CD might sell "a hundred, maybe a thousand, copies if he was lucky," K-Fed leaked the hilarious "Y'all Ain't Ready" on Thanksgiving of 2005. On it he mispronounced "paparazzi," coined his K-Fed nickname, and promised to sell 10 million and then be a goner. The world's pessimists groaned, "Jeez, we may never get rid of him." The world's optimists wondered if we just accepted his invitation to call him Daddy, maybe K-Fed would just ignore us like he does his real-life children.
Federline chooses New Year's Eve at the stroke of midnight when the alcohol level is at its highest and people's tolerance for shit is at its lowest as the perfect time to release his new single and ignite a downloading stampede. His press release will make much mention of the one million people who downloaded this track in eight days, without taking into account that public executions are always well-attended. Just for the record, "PopoZao" means "big ass."
"America's Most Hated"
Britney Spears files for divorce, which immediately cancels out this song's main brag, "I've got 50 mil, I do whatever I want." In its first week, the sales for Playing With Fire are dismal, some 9,993,000 copies short of K-Fed's goal. After getting kicked to the curb by Ms. Spears, K-Fed turned to professional wrestling to capitalize on his poor public relations. If getting body-slammed by WWE champion John Cena doesn't stimulate sales, what's he gonna do for a rematch? How about getting in the ring with '80s pop star Thomas Dolby, whom K-Fed sampled without permission for this stinker. "If anybody's going to sing nasty lyrics over my music, it's going to be me," Dolby said. "Blinded Me With Science"? How about "Shut Him Up With Accounting"?