Monday, September 22, 2008
According to the Autumn Equinox, most Top 40 Music still sucks
Current Music That Sucks (by MojoSteve featuring Tiny and Tater)
Since no one these days seems able to have a top-40 hit without a guest artist “featured” on the song, I figured I’d need a feature to help me do this blog. I’m not quite famous enough to score Timbaland, Ludacris, Ne-Yo, Lil Wayne, WILL.I.AM, or Akon, so I’ll just have to get by. Maybe I’ll get the dogs to help me.
As per the norm, I took a spin through the local Top-40 radio stations for a few songs just to see what the latest round of crap being offered was. This time, however, I’ll at least have some suggestions afterwards as to what I’m listening to these days that won’t suck.
So, without further ado…
I first heard M.I.A. a couple years ago through videos on the cable channel IMF/International Music Feed. The song “Bucky Done Gun” was the most repetitively annoying track I’d heard since “My Baby Daddy” by B-Rock & The Bizz, and that’s saying something. Mathangi "Maya" Arulpragasam, better known as M.I.A, is a British songwriter, record producer, vocalist and visual artist of Sri Lankan Tamil descent. Most of her songs that I’ve heard are bhangra-flavored dance tracks that are actually pretty good. The first thing I noticed was that the song is built around a sample of “Straight to Hell” by The Clash, and that caught my attention pretty quick. This song is almost unintelligible, however, and I’m still not quite sure what it’s about. In amongst the gibberish are mentions of skulls & bones, UPS trucks, and taking your money.Your guess is as good as mine.
Estelle featuring Kanye West--American Boy
The song is almost catchy, but then again so is herpes and you don’t want anything to do with that either. Riding on the current Motown Renaissance Wannabe Movement of such acts as Duffy and Amy Winehouse sounding like classic 60’s singers with a modern groove, this is just a mess of childish lyrics coupled with some of the lamest rap I have ever heard. Then again, I think Kanye is a total asshat anyways. The Wiggles carry more street cred than this waste of four minutes.
Secondhand Serenade—Fall For You
Thanks, Chris Carabba. Thanks to you, I get to hear yet another whiny-assed Emo ballad done by a single-guy Dashboard Confessional clone. Any sweeter and I could pour it on pancakes. A bunch of nautical star tattoos, some hair gel, and some teary-eyed songs and anyone can be a star. The same formula gets repeated on the song “Vulnerable”, and the song “Your Call”, and on “Last Time” and anything else this guy (John Vesely) does. A one trick pony that will keep your teenaged daughter weepy all semester.
Kardinal Offishall featuring Akon—Dangerous
You’d swear this was an Akon song with some forgettable rapper uttering barely understandable lyrics in between Akon’s choruses and verses. In fact, a perusal of YouTube finds that pretty much everything Kardinal has done has had a “featuring”. To me that suggests mediocrity in need of assistance.
Leona Lewis—Better in Time
Another well-sung but utterly forgettable ballad that sounds like half Mariah Carey and half Alicia Keys. Play this back to back with her track “Bleeding Love” and cry into your box of white zinfandel over that person who broke your heart. boo hoo hoo
Daughtry—What About Now?
Yet another single off their album that refuses to die. Once upon a time, I thought Chris Daughtry should win American Idol. Instead, he ended up coming in third and took the world by storm and constant overplay has caused me to cringe every time I hear them. This one sounds, remarkably, just like all their others. I’m happy he got successful, but I’m just so sick of hearing him.
Well, well, well. We finally hear something from last year’s Idol runner-up. And just as I expected, it’s a trite ballady syrup-fest. I can hear it running down the collective leg of every 13 year old girl in America. Yawn...
David Cook—Time of My Life
This could just as easily be a Daughtry power ballad. Poor kid wins American Idol and is given schmaltzy crap to sing, just like every other Idol winner. It’ll be interesting to see what he’ll do when given a longer leash and quits singing cover songs turned into alt-rock. It’ll either be pretty good, or be a Daughtry clone. If he tanks, he can sit with Constantine Maroulis in the Idol audience and make funny lip gestures at the cameras.
Pussycat Dolls—When I Grow Up
What do you get when you mix an okay singer with five wannabe pole-dancers? Another video that looks like Hooters threw up at a strip club. I swear that when Nicole Scherzinger and Company sing that they wanna have groupies, it sounds like they say they wanna have boobies.
Schwayze—Corona & Lime
“You can be my Corona and lime, and I can be your Main Squeeze. And if your brother don’t like my style, we can take it to the street. Take it to the street”. What utterly ridiculous crap. From the trailer parks of Malibu comes Shwayze (Aaron Smith) with his buddy Cisco Adler, son of movie director Lou Adler, combining rap and acoustic rock into something that isn’t quite as cool as “The Bartender Song” by Rehab, but really wishes it were. That song is clever & funny, whereas I would never ask a chick to be my watered-down overpriced Mexican beer with a fruit chunk in it. Dude, pick a real beer. "You can be my Sam Adams Scotch Ale, and I can be your MojoSteve"…there. That works. Much cooler.
Okay. Now that I’ve told you what NOT to listen to, how about I make a few suggestions as to what you maybe SHOULD listen to.
Carolina Liar—I’m Not Over
What do you get when you take a guy from Moncks Corner, South Carolina and team him up with five guys from Sweden? You get a really good band called Carolina Liar. Their breakthrough single, “I’m Not Over” is gaining airplay everywhere and deservedly so. Chad Wolf’s voice reminds me ever so slightly of the best of Better Than Ezra’s songs, only better. Also check out the song “Show Me What I’m Looking For”, or better yet, just go get the whole album. Do not miss this band.
O.A.R.—Shattered (Turn This Car Around)
The best thing to come out of Rockville, Maryland in a long time, I first heard OAR (Of A Revolution) a couple years ago from their track "Love and Memories". This new song reminded me why I liked them. At first I thought it was David Gray, whose single “Babylon” was one of the best songs to come out of late 2000/early 2001. Vocally, singer Marc Roberge sounds a bit like Gray, and musically the song has that soaring buildup that I loved so much from Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars”.
The Ting Tings—Shut Up and Let Me Go
Made popular by being featured in an iPod ad, this track is a cute and catchy blend of precociousness and sass. A bratty British chick pouting over a track that sounds a lot like a 1987 song by The Cure called "Hot Hot Hot". The best breakup song since Katy Perry’s “UR So Gay”. And speaking of Katy Perry…
Katy Perry--Hot & Cold
Hot on the heels of her seriously overplayed yet pretty brilliant single “I Kissed a Girl” comes another excellently-produced and dancey track. Both tracks were produced by Dr. Luke, who has also worked with Kelly Clarkson, Pin, Avril Lavigne, Leona Lewis, Daughtry, and a host of others. About two more weeks and I’ll be sick of it, though.
Shiny Toy Guns--Ricochet!/Frozen Oceans
Two new tracks from the soon to be released second album “Season of Poison”. Featuring the vocals of new singer Sisely Treasure, the songs are as close to polar opposites as you can get. “Ricochet” is all sass and noise, reminding me of a hybrid blend of KMFDM and Lords of Acid. It took several listens to grow on me, but grow it did. At the opposite end of the spectrum is “Frozen Oceans” is an ethereal lush ballad with a soaring soundscape amidst the chorus: “10,000 miles apart, a frozen ocean joins our heart. I can’t wait to meet you when the frozen waves meet ocean floors. You’ll be standing on the shore; I can’t wait to meet you then…”
I should probably hate this song just on principal, but I can’t. This song will be a huge mega-hit for twin sisters Jess and Lisa Origliasso, which means it will become so overplayed that I will no longer be able to stand it, but it’s fast, catchy, really well-produced and full of this angsty nervous energy. I’m really digging the beat and the synth-sampled strings.
I know that I've talked smack about those Motown-soundalikes that are pervading the airwaves these days, but there's something about this song that I realy like. It's not over-produced like most of the tracks out there, and even though I don't even really like the style of music on the whole, Adele has a really nice voice and the video for the song kinda compels you to listen and watch and enjoy.
Gavin Rossdale--Love Remains The Same
Who would have guessed that Gavin Rossdale, former frontman of the Brit rock band Bush, could actually sing a very pleasant ballad? I hate you, Gavin. You're painfully good-looking, you have a painfully hot wife (he's married to Gwen Stefani), even your kids are good-looking, and now you have to rub it in that you can carry off a power ballad? This is a far cry from Bush songs like "Machinehead" and "Everything Zen", but it's a huge step in a new direction and it's realy quite good.