Sunday, October 25, 2009
"I can't find nothin' on the radio..."
"Hey...I can't find nothin' on the radio..."---"Radio Song" by REM, 1989
As I am wont to do every couple of months or so, I have taken another foray into that putrid dumpster of so-called entertainment known as Top-40 Music. At times I wonder why I do this to myself, why I torture myself with this audio misery. I think I do it on occasion, this self-flagellation, to remind myself of why I don’t listen to Top 40 radio and instead still cleave to what few new alternative bands I can stand and to my trusty stable of standby bands that I grew up on.
We kinda got a mixed bag this time around, kids.
Crap Song Of The Week
Jay-Z featuring Rihanna and Kanye West—"Run This Town"
Kill me now. First Jay guests on Rihanna’s “Umbrella” a couple years ago, and now Rihanna returns the favor, except she’s guesting everywhere these days and is in danger of overexposure. And Kanye, that giant ass, is the Media Whore King of Overexposure and adds really lame cheese-rap to every third song played on the radio these days, like it’s Step 4 of the Formula For A Hit or something. A couple years ago it was Akon and T-Pain, and before that it was Ludacris. Today if it isn’t Lil’ Wayne it’s Kanye, who I think just shows up at random studios and forces his way into the vocal booth like he expects everyone to want his vocals. And the rhymes he lays down as of late truly are craptastic, including these. Then again, Jay-Z’s own rap in this song is so stilted and weak that it makes me wonder how he got huge in the first place.
Flo-Rida, featuring NeYo—"Be On You"
I’ve come to the determination that Flo-Rida can’t do a song without someone else, as every single he’s released thus far has had featured vocals from some guest or other. I can’t take this song seriously, because the sugary chorus sounds to me like he’s singing, “I wanna pee on you…I wanna pee on you.” Otherwise, utterly forgettable.
3OH!3 with Katy Perry—"Starstrukk"
I like the verses of the song, but the semi-falsetto chorus grates on my nerves. These guys are almost trying too hard to be snarky bad boys and come off like a boy-band version of The Bloodhound Gang. I guess having Katy Perry on board for the radio remix adds some street-cred or something.
Priscilla Renea –"Dollhouse"
Acoustic video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEVHtR6mUKw
Y’know, at first listen I thought this was throwaway bubblegum, but it’s really catchy and clever pop. I enclosed the video links because the official video is just well done with the effects, without the usual overdone tawdry crap associated with today’s vapid vids. The acoustic clip is there to prove that this young lady can actually sing, and sounds remarkably the same live as she does on CD.
And then there’s Ke$ha…suburban white girl sugarcoated Bambi-rap from a Taylor Swift lookalike. She’s so white she makes me look thugnificent. Sadly, it’s kinda catchy, like H1N1, and affects kids at about the same rate. And if she sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because she guested on a recent Flo-Rida song, “You Spin My Head Right Round”.
I was wondering when Emo music was gonna meet synthpop and create Electropussy. It reminds me a little of “Pure” by the Lightning Seeds back in 1990, without the stolen riff from New Order in it. There isn’t a single ounce of testosterone to be found anywhere in the entire 4 minutes and 8 seconds of this syrupy eunuch-fest. I checked a couple other Owl City songs (Sunburn and Ocean Eyes) just to see if they were all basically emasculating, and yes, it’s all pretty much an empty scrotum and enough glucose overload to induce Type 2 diabetes. Sample lyrics: “I get a thousand hugs from ten thousand lightning bugs…” I’m serious.
Black Eyed Peas—"Meet Me Halfway"
Another winner from the Peas. I am really quite impressed by this new album of theirs. Sadly, though, I’ll be thoroughly sick of this song in about 2 or three weeks, the same way I got sick of “Boom Boom Pow” and “I Gotta Feeling” after hearing them every 23 minutes on 6 stations at once.
Miley Cyrus--"Party In The USA"
Isn’t this the song that Little Miss Thing pole-danced to on the Disney Channel? And is it me, or does she sound even more nasal than usual here?
Lady GaGa—"Bad Romance"
Interesting that GaGa should release a new single before I managed to get 100% sick of the previous single, Paparazzi, notable unto itself for showing that she can actually sing melodically and not just emit forth dance tracks with gibberish lyrics. This newest song goes back to the original format & formula though of borderline nonsensical words laid over really fat groves. Two weeks from now I’ll want to stab myself in the eye with a shrimp fork every time I hear it.
Jason DeRula—"Whatcha’ Say"
Step One: Sample a fifteen-second clip of “Hide and Seek” by Imogen Heap.
Step Two: Get a kid who sounds like a knock-off of R. Kelly meets Usher.
Step Three: Have kid sing a couple verses through a box fan, add back beats/samples.
Step Four: Play on radio until vomiting is induced.
Another inescapable track that’s on 6 stations simultaneously 400 times a day. It was catchy enough the first couple times, and then it quickly became unlistenable. Some of that could be due to the warbly vocoder effects in the chorus, kinda like singing…through….a…box…fan…Hey, I detect a pattern here. But hey, we’ve got guest vocals from Lil’ Wayne. Holla!
Sadly, I really don’t have much that I can give you guys this time around as an alternative to the SuckFest on the radio. One of my current favorite bands, Shiny Toy Guns, has covered a couple of 80’s classics for the latest round of Lincoln commercials. They’re the band behind the new versions of “Major Tom (Coming Home)”, originally done by Peter Schilling, and “Burning For You”, originally from Blue Oyster Cult. Both are available out there as downloads.
And a re-issue is coming this week, at least in Europe (the USA has to wait awhile longer) with the 21st Anniversary Edition of Erasure’s 1988 album “The Innocents”. This was a great album, spawning the two megahits “Chains of Love” and “A Little Respect”. They put out a revamped version of the track “Phantom Bride” as a single to coincide with the release, as many fans had always wondered why that track wasn’t a single back in 1988. There just wasn’t enough time, though, to release it back then, as there’d already been “Ship of Fools” in addition to the other two singles already, and at the end of 1988 they had the “Crackers International” EP ready for Christmas release with the epic single “Stop!”, and within a few months the next single & album were out.
As an aside, Erasure just started working on yet another new album of material to come out either in late 2010 or early 2011. I can’t wait!
Erasure are Vince Clarke and Andy Bell