“Hell no — I went so far to the other side that there’s only one place to go from there. You can either continue doing costumes or you can just say, ‘Hey guess what? This will shock them even more. Doing nothing will shock them even more.'” – Nicki Minaj, when asked if she’d be releasing another “Starships” on her new record.

And so, “doing nothing” it is.

After releasing the unbelievably fierce, spitfire condemnation “Lookin’ Ass” on the latest Young Money compilation in February, as well as the damning bitch-is-back anthem “Yasss Bish!!” two weeks ago — Nicki’s come through with the lead single from her upcoming album The Pink Print, “Pills N Potions” — a reflective, Dr. Luke-produced ballad.

“Pills and potions, we’re overdosin’/I’m angry, but I still love you,” Nicki tenderly croons above a tripping drum beat, solemn piano and mournful strings. “I still love, I still love, I still luh-uh-uve!

Rather than providing the mile-a-minute rhymes and theatrical flow, Nicki’s gone subdued: “People will love you and support you when it’s beneficial/I’mma forgive, I won’t forget, but I’mma dead the issue/Soon as you out a ni–a’s life is when they start to miss you/They see you doin’ good now, it’s kinda hard to diss you,” she quietly reflects, “No New Friends” style.

Evidently, Nicki’s been going through it, and this tender ballad is the product of that frustration. But…blergh. A Dr. Luke ballad? It might not be as deliriously pop as “Starships” (which is good and fine!), but this is still some self-empowerment “Moment 4 Life”/”Freedom” commercial pop fluff. Now paging Mixtape Minaj…

That’s not to say that the song is bad, per se. It’s not. It’s just not a very compelling comeback, and not nearly as impressive as the buzz tracks that came before. (How does that always seem to happen with Nicki?)

“I’m angry, but I still love you.” That’s about right, Nicki.

nicki-sang