K'naan, having enlisted the help of several big shot names like Lupe Fiasco did on his latest record, has come up with his own version of Lupe's ill-received Lasers. Despite a promising title, Country, God or the Girl feels both too shallow and too showy. K'naan's not lacking in creativity here—it sprouts throughout in tracks like "Hurt Me Tomorrow" and "Bulletproof Pride"—but it gets stifled by over-production while the push to sound commercial leaves potentially good tracks sounding rather bland. "Is Anybody Out There?" would have been a fine song if it weren't for Nelly Furtado's overly poppy and nasal vocal delivery, while "The Sound of My Breaking Heart" (produced by RedOne) sounds the same from beginning to end. The anthemic and Coldplay-tinged "Better"—natural follow-up to "Wavin' Flag"—was clearly made for the radio, but, fortunately, it manages to retain K'naan's lyricism and ability to self-reflect. K'naan shines best on tracks where he is completely solo, such as the quirky, rapid-fire poetry of "Waiting is a Drug" and "Simple," in which raps against sparse African instruments and layered vocal harmony takes us back to the rapper's roots.
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