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March Blandness Part II: More Pop Music Round Up

Okay, so even though it may seem like I hate everything this month, there are actually a couple of songs that I am excited about.  So, not all is lost.  Male Rap / Hip-Hop may be at a loss to come up with anything new or original to mic about and modern country might as well stop booking expensive studio time and go to Kinkos instead , but there is still hope for the Top 40 overall. 

And summer is coming, so a couple of fun jams should be on the way soon.  Hang in there, kittens. 

#SELFIE - The Chainsmokers
This is silly.  Harmless.  And sort of fun, but, like all novelty songs, it gets old real fast. Eh, this one is already past its shelf life date. Consume with caution.

We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow - Soko
Sung from the depths of a long-term coma, this debuted at #9 on Billboard’s Hot 100 (and immediately fell off the charts the next week).  Why?  It is barely a song.  It is, however, a video; a gross young lesbian French New Wave indie featuring a pair of nubile barely-legal things getting all cute and macking the crap out of each other. I watched it and it kind of turned my stomach. Oh, and the song?  Umm… mumbly poser bullshit, for sure.  Thanks, Lorde.

My Hitta - YG Featuring Jeezy & Rich Homie Quan
A farting synth grounds this by-the-numbers, blunt-influenced crap-rap number. YG hits all the necessary hip-hop topics (bitches, cars, clubs, thugs, drugs) and manages to say ‘My Hittas’ a billion times (in fact, it is the ‘rhyme’ part of the entire song – just tack that on the end of any phrase).  Extremely dumb, a tad boring, and nothing to waste $1.29 on, unless you want to encourage this sort of thing (you don’t want to encourage this sort of thing).

This Is How We Roll - Florida Georgia Line Feat. Luke Bryan
So… this is country hip-hop?  Ugh.  This is how my eyes roll…
I get that country needs to reach out and be more inclusive / relevant and  that it wants to appeal to those high school kids and spring breakers, but this feels calculated, unnatural, and void of any human emotion.  In fact, something tells me they have a machine in Nashville that churns this crap out like a blender at a TGIF’s; you stick shit people probably like in it, mix it all up and pour it out for consumption in the form of brightly-colored syrupy / sweet pop-sludge like this.  Rim the glass with salt and you got yourself something that will appeal to the masses who have no need to think, no desire to become self-aware, no need to develop any sense of taste, and shop at Walmart.  Yay, America?

Bottoms Up - Brantley Gilbert
This is pretty much the country equivalent of “My Hitta”.  In a relaxed, pleasant twang, Gilbert hits all the necessary modern topics (girl, pick-up truck, radio, nostalgic outlaw imagery) in this little tale of objectification.   Yep, turns out country boys like butt sex, too.  Yay, America.  This stuff must play well in stadiums and the like, but it all sounds vaguely the same.  Modern country needs to find some new formulas.

Loyal - Chris Brown Featuring Lil Wayne & French Montana Or Too $hort
This is a waste of everybody’s talents.  Oh, those damn bitches
and ho’s.  They are nothing but problems and the absolute scourge of all those rich, rich black men.  That’s the delusion that fuels 75% of all male hip-hop songs – damn bitches.  At this point, the story is more tired than use of that oddly uncomfortable term of endearment that begins with an ‘N’ they throw around as filler.  And yet the machine keeps coming up with more gruel.  Yeah, folks, this…. This is America, too; where unrepentant women beaters are celebrated and protected because ‘they so talented’.  Chris Brown is not a bad person… he, like most of hip-hop, is simply misunderstood. 

Partition - Beyonce
B-bouncy does the nasty in the back of her limo on the way to the club.  And damn, she just spent 45 minutes getting dressed.  Poor b-bouncy.  Apparently she just wants to be the kind of girl the he likes.  Hmmm.  So glad she is all done with that women running the world nonsense.  B-bouncy now has her priorities straight.  And knows her place… which is apparently on her knees.  Oh, the music?  Ummm… occasional bass, lots of finger snaps.  Yep, this is one to be proud of, gurl. Oh, well, at least she doesn’t bleat like a goat.

Doin' What She Likes - Blake Shelton
Hmmm.  Driving real fast with the radio on.  I think that’s in every single country song I have reviewed this week.  Well, in this case, I will forgive that bit of boilerplate writing and compliment Mr. Shelton.  He sings an adult country song with an adult country voice.  Yes, it’s homogenized, but there’s something genuine in the mix, too, enough so that this one gets a passing grade.  Oh, and extra points for the wah-wah guitar thing – annoying, but fresh.

Cop Car - Keith Urban
This made me laugh.  It’s a really bad fit.  Apparently 46 (wink, wink) year old Keith Urban is still dating girls where he needs to
be concerned about what their Daddy thinks.  Oh, wait, this is country music, so you can sing any old thing, whether it has anything to do with you or not.  I forgot.  Anyhoo… the song is a by-the-numbers affair; I think this is categorized as Modern Cosmopolitan Country.  At any rate, it’s a total snooze fest.  But I bet it made Taylor Swift a bit envious, wishing she’d thought of the scenario first.

The Worst  - Jhene Aiko
Wow.  Hallelujah, there is reason to hope.  This one is haunting and lovely.  Sung in a gentle voice that cracks and pops, ‘The Worst’ would seem to be the best, as in possibly one of the
best of year.  Yes, I could do without the spoken word middle which goes on a bit long, but other than that, this is a stellar track, one where vocal performance and song combine to create a true moment.  In regards to this woman, I’m all ears. 

La La La  - Naughty Boy Feat. Sam Smith
Okay, yeah, the ‘la la la la la la na na na na’ part is annoying as hell (and the reason everyone will give this one at least one listen), but the rest of it is pretty damn good.  I love the lyrics and find the chorus compelling.  No, I don’t really understand the need to block things out, though I think this might be a break-up song.  If it is, it’s an awful fine one.  It has a drive to it, an inertia
that feels fun and exciting.  I so wanted to not like it, but I do, I do.  Though I have a feeling I, too, will be eventually looking for a way to block it out.

Ain't It Fun  - Paramore
I have no idea what this song is about.  Are we happy to be independent?  Is the singer being sardonic?  The lyrics make no sense.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a jangly, beat-driven, poppy delight of a song; one that I think might be aimed at college freshmen enjoying those first few years of heady, horribly wobbly independence. At this point I also have no idea what Hayley Williams wants this supposed ‘group’ to be, for, like the lyrics of
the song, she’s all over the road these days and it’s confusing as hell.  Oh, I got it… she’s the female Adam Levine and Paramore is now Maroon 5.  Yeah.  Nailed it.

Latch - Disclosure Feat. Sam Smith
Oh, here’s that Sam Smith dude again, the same one featured on Naughty Boy’s ‘La La La’.  He’s quite the singer. Makes me think of Haddaway and, even more so, Roland Gift of Fine Young Cannibals, for some reason.  Is that a fair comparison?  Disclosure got a lot of critic buzz with its most recent release and it’s nice to see they have a shot at hit.  This is likable and
percolating with a 1990 kind of soul vibe that I find intriguing.

Stoner  - Young Thug
As lazy and uninspiring as you expect it to be.  Women be bitches!  For sure!  Is this a joke?  Like a novelty record, or something?  You know, like a parody of modern day hip-hop or is this for reals?  You know like a black Ray Stevens thing?  Is Young Thug the new Ray Stevens?  Is that it?  Huh?  Oh, man… you had me going, you really did. 

Classic  - MKTO
Oh, boy is this some ‘classic’ boy band bullshit.  Bright, punchy,
upbeat, and void of substance.  Switch out the R&B references for country artists and this could have easily been a country single.  So, that said, this is an absolute piece of shit that will overstay its welcome on the airwaves. Those tweeners raised on Nickelodeon are going to insist on it.  Sigh.

Who Do You Love?  - YG Featuring Drake
Another YG song?  Real title: Bitch, Who Do You Love?  Puts in perspective, huh?  There’s a whole lotta that self-identifying term of endearment that starts with an ‘N’He doesn’t trust the police, is richer than y’all, and has an issue with bitches when they think they run this game. In other words, he has the same problems as 75% of all hip-hop males.  Damn.  Can’t a man get a break?  Oh… and he actually says ‘Wassup’ at the end of one of the verses.  Seriously.  Seriously bankrupt.  What Drake is doing on here I have no idea.  Thought he was smarter than this shit.  Wake me up when these dudes figure out something else to mic about.

Headlights  - Eminem Feat. Nate Ruess
John Doe – B.o.B feat. Priscilla
God save us from psychobabble tripe like this.  Okay, Eminem, we get it – you have ISSUES.  But, hey, how old are you dude?  Don’t you think it’s time to let go of it?  Now, not only does he have Mommy issues, he’s got Daddy ones, too.  And shouldn’t we feel sorry for poor Eminem – it is SO HARD being him.  It just makes me want to take away all his money and fame and soothe the man’s pain. Everytime I hear this one I laugh my ass off.  Dude can’t go but a few lines into the damn thing without GETTING REALLY ANGRY.  In other words, it sounds exactly like everything else Eminem has ever done.  If you get an invitation to this pity
party, do yourself a favor and decline.

The only thing more laughable?  B.o.B.’s rather simplistic approach to alcoholism.  This song makes Dr. Phil seem like Dr. Freud.  Truly cringe worthy; I had to check the calendar to see what year it was, for this kind of weeper hasn’t been popular since the days of Charlene’s ‘I’ve Never Been To Me’.

The Walker - Fitz And The Tantrums
Oh, what’s not to like?  Cheerful whistling, pseudo Mersey beat soul sound, upbeat self-empowerment lyrics, pseudo Hammond organ solo, bright harmonies, chants and shout outs? So simple.  So fun.  How is this not a bigger hit?  And they’re snappy dressers to boot! 

Damn, now I can’t get that whistling out of my head.  Thanks, Sean.

1 comment:

whkattk said...

Fitz and the Tantrums has been playing around town for a more than a year. I'd been wondering when folks would begin to pay attention. Then I heard them played on radio. Now they're getting booked into real concert venues.