Can I Keep This Pen? is Northern States third full-length album and it proves that any and all naysayers dismissing the group as a novelty act can just get in that boat and float right to Camden.
I admit, I was once one of those aforementioned naysayers. I mean . what can you say about three chicks from suburban Long Island that put out rap albums? Like it or not - you hear about the band, youre going to have preconceived notions. Then you hear the band and guess what? It sounds like three chicks from suburban Long Island that put out a rap album. One notion that you probably didnt have, however - is that it would be good. And that, my friends is why you will feel foolish. Sheepish, in fact. Northern State write good songs. They write fun songs. They write fun songs that could easily be featured in an opening montage of an episode of Greys Anatomy interspersed with shots of all those cute doctors dancing around in that house they live in before they go to work and bone each other.
Reviewers Note: The preceding portion of the review was written soon after the albums release. In an unheralded and most impressive display of Criswell-like foretelling, songs from this album have been featured not once but twice so far on this season of Greys Anatomy, confirmed by both the band website and my incessant watching of the show which makes me not at all gay, but somehow more masculine in a new Renaissance kind of way.
Northern State dont front. They dont pretend to have any cache of street credibility, which manages to make them all the more credible. Theyre cute as buttons and sassy as hell* but that doesnt mean they wont kick your ass on the mic.
I'm at the ice cream social and I'm having a ball / I'm giving pounds to y'all / I'll rhyme in Espanol / O te lo digo in italiano tambian / Cuz I'm a guinea hen just like Sofia Loren
Lets see Sister Souljah pull that one off.
Northern State continues the spirit of hip-hop without fear of prejudice. Back in the day, you couldnt be white and be taken seriously in the field. You couldnt be female. And you sure as shit couldnt rep the parkway as they so proudly do.
Can I Keep This Pen marks a slight left turn with songs like Better Already and Away Away, two bubbly pop songs that showcase the true vocal talents of Spero, Hesta, and Sprout that bring to mind at times both Le Tigre and The Breeders.
Northern State is not a novelty act. They are not a guilty pleasure. There is no shame in the proclamation that Northern State is cool-as-shit. They are a frothy crab bisque for your jaded soul. They will make you feel better when you are ill. Give you energy when you are listless. They are musical geritol for your tired, tired blood.
*Two never-before used adjectives in all my years of writing and heretofore retired so that they may never be used again.
8.1 / 10
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