Saturday, August 30, 2008

Song of the summer: A scientific analysis

Is it an unspoken rule that every blog post has to have a picture on top? I mean not to seem like I have a creative block with that or anything...

Anyway, I figure I'll have a more in-depth post about my thoughts on current music, politics, life and all that happy shit one of these days so this blog's more than straight album reviews and talking about how The Neptunes and Timbaland are better than your favorite producers, but what can I say, I've been busy, school's starting, and since summer's ending (even though it's gonna be retarded hot in LA for a month or so more...I miss Bay Area weather,) I thought I'd take some time to look at what could be considering this season's signature song. Enjoy.

The candidates...drumroll please.

Katy Perry -- "I Kissed a Girl" for being this year's obnoxious "My Humps" except worse;

Usher feat. Young Jeezy -- "Love in This Club" for being the summer's ubiquitous kinda club kinda slow jam, complete with another Timbaland for Dummies Polow da Don beat and a terrible Jeezy verse;

Estelle feat. Kanye West -- "American Boy" for its overall smooth summer vibe and Kanye having the most fun he has since "Drunk and Hot Girls;"

Lil Wayne feat. Static Major -- "Lollipop" for being the lewd club jam of the summer that every girl likes and guys act like they're too cool for;

Chris Brown -- "Forever" for playing every time I turn on the radio despite being corny as shit (can you tell I'm not a big Polow fan yet?;)

Rihanna -- "Take a Bow" for being this summer's "Irreplaceable" except more eye-rolling (no disrespect ladies of course;)

Rick Ross feat. T-Pain -- "The Boss," David Banner feat. Yung Joc and Chris Brown -- "Get Like Me" and Plies feat. Ne-Yo -- "Bust It Baby, Pt. 2" for being the shitty Southern rap singles du jour;

Lil Wayne -- "A Milli" for being completely ridiculous;

Young Jeezy feat. Kanye West -- "Put On" for being the latest requisite too-big-for-your-speakers Jeezy banger;

Mack 10 feat. Birdman and G. Malone -- "Big Baller (Remix)" for being the slightly generic gangsta jam of the summer that they probably only play in LA or something;

The Game feat. Keyshia Cole -- "Game's Pain" for Game trying to get you all nostalgic;

N.E.R.D. -- "Everyone Nose (All the Girls Standing in the Line for the Bathroom)" as Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo's bizarre choice of a lead single off Seeing Sounds;

and of course, Kidz in the Hall -- "Drivin' Down the Block" for making driving around while bumping your favorite music sound like the most boring thing ever. Was this released way earlier than summer? Ah, whatever.

Well damn. This isn't really hard considering there's only a few songs on this list that I really even like, but let's take a look anyway.

First off, we gotta get rid of "Love in This Club" and "Forever." "Love" isn't awful or anything, but the beat's too stiff for its own good, made worse by the fact that Polow apparently made it from two Apple GarageBand presets. And Jeezy really shouldn't try chick rap. "Forever" meanwhile is just plain fruity. And I've been known to enjoy my share of debatably fruity songs on occasion. See: "SexyBack," "Umbrella," songs involving the castrated singing of Pharrell Williams, etc. etc. But if I liked "Forever" I'd really have to start questioning my manliness. The fact that Polow's beat is basically an overly glossy, streamlined/Euro-ized version of "SexyBack," complete with the same drums, doesn't help matters.

Jeezy's "Put On," Wayne's "A Milli" and Mack 10's "Big Baller" remix I'm more sympathetic to. I mean they're all prime driving around in your car material while feeling badass material. However, "A Milli" blowing up aside, they don't really have that broad summer appeal. And I mean summer's supposed to be about good times, not amped the fuck up/angry shit. Though rapping along with "A Milli?" Good (potentially embarrassing) times.

"Game's Pain" and "Drivin' Down the Block" pretty much fall under the same category for me. Songs with middling beats and emcees of questionable talent that are liked based on reasons that don't seem to have a lot to do with the actual music. The former for The Game trying to give us another nostalgia trip, and the latter as Naledge's intentionally dorky (not in a good way) spin on rapping about your car. Kanye should freestyle over that beat sometime to show dude how to do goofiness right. And I wonder if Game thinks he's slick or something for grabbing Jay-Z's "Can't Knock the Hustle" producers for his album's lead single when he's been constantly dissing the guy for no reason. Damn, he showed him...

I'm not gonna say anything about the Rick Ross, Plies and David Banner singles, except that their shittiness should be self-evident. You know rap's in trouble when those are some of its biggest hits this year.

"Take a Bow" and "I Kissed a Girl." Now don't get me wrong, I can definitely tolerate Rihanna's song better, but put it like this -- when she performed it at Kanye's Glow in the Dark tour and followed up with the even more contrived "Unfaithful," it was cue for me to get more drinks. Clearly I'm some kind of chauvinist who doesn't understand women's pain. "I Kissed a Girl" meanwhile shouldn't need an explanation. Well OK -- there's guilty pleasures, and then there's songs that manage to cross that "different strokes dude" line into objectively awful territory. So I guess you can at least say "I Kissed a Girl's" helpful for better understanding the difference.

While I appreciate Pharrell's cutting analysis of cocaine-snorting girls on "Everyone Nose" and the song's grown on me, again it's not something I really associate with the whole summer vibe. I'm still not really sure why it was picked as the lead single, other than the fact that it's one of only three tracks on the album that has both Pharrell and Chad Hugo's input, or Pharrell wanting to maintain N.E.R.D.'s eccentric image. Seriously, they need to drop one of those chick tracks as a single already, those are the jams.

So that leaves us with "American Boy" and "Lollipop." Both songs that I happen to be a big fan of, and no not just because they both involve two of my favorite rappers, although yeah that helps. Now before anyone starts to roll their eyes at my inevitable choice here, let me just say that "American Boy" definitely has more of a summer and beach vibe. "Lollipop" meanwhile makes me think more of people drunk at a party looking stupid mimicking Weezy's autotuned singing. That said, the song was ubiquitous this summer, and I think anyone who even parties just occasionally was eventually won over at least somewhat by just how bizarre the whole thing is. Am I right? I mean c'mon, us bloggers are all around the 20-something range right, let's not act too cool for this stuff just yet.

Which means our winner is...N.E.R.D.'s "Windows." OK, so "Lollipop." Predictable yes, but hey sometimes the masses are right. "Windows" really should've been a single though, that song automatically gives me images of hot SoCal girls on the beach. Alright, I'll stop talking about that album.

I realize I included some songs here that probably shouldn't've qualified in the first place, and maybe left out a couple as well. But what can I say, Rihanna's "Disturbia" is no "Umbrella" or even "Don't Stop the Music," Ne-Yo's "Closer" is no "Because of You," and "Whatever You Like" = worst T.I. single ever? Then again I guess he did do that one single with Jazze Pha a few years back... As for Madonna's "4 Minutes," it's not bad but a) it's Madonna and b) Timbaland needs to come with something fresh on the pop front before Polow tricks people into thinking he's better than him. Not sure if being slightly involved with the new Pussycat Dolls album's gonna cut it.

As for songs of the fall and winter? Hopefully nothing involving T-Pain or Chris Brown. Or both.


DocZeus said...

Man, you really listen to the radio too much, son.

And the fact that you can't get behind "Driving Down The Block" is unforgivable.

Although, both the El-P and the West Coast Remixes are far superior to the original.

Timbaland and the Neptunes wish they could be as good as El-P.

Trey Stone said...

there're times when i'll be listening to rap or Top 40 radio a good amount when the hits out are good, but this isn't one of those times. right now i find myself flipping it on and usually going back to a CD because "Forever" or one of those new Akon songs is on. but yeah i try to stay familiar.

the El-P that i've heard is, how do i put it...a little too discordant (being generous) for my tastes? yeah. i mean you mentioned Young Jeezy's "3 A.M." and the last Clipse album recently, that's bleak material too, but it helps that they don't sound like they're suffocating the beats to death.

Jesus Shuttlesworth said...

the remix with pusha t, the cool kids, and bun b was a hell of a lot more interesting than the original. what about wale's "back in the go-go?" or does that not count as the summer? i rarely keep track anymore.

tray said...

I'm going to say Metro Station's "Shake It" was the best song of the summer. After that, maybe Soulja Boy's More Talented Weedcarrier's "Get Silly." And then Lil Wayne's "Get Money." No. 4, "Out Here Grindin." No. 5, "Girls All Around The World"/"I'll Be Lovin You Long Time." None of which you even mentioned.

Trey Stone said...

i did forget "Girls Around the World," that's the jam. not quite song of the summer status, but still the jam

i don't really like "Back in the Go-Go" to be honest. it's one of those songs that has potential, but the energy could've been kicked up one or two notches.

Anonymous said...

Whatever You Like is like a great and morally safer version of Lollipop. Worst TI single is probably You Know What It Is or Big Things Poppin'. Both still go hard though (no homo)

tray said...

Whatever You Like, morally safe... yeah, if you think prostitution is ethical. I mean, the whole song's basically an offer of consumer goods for sex. Can't he think of something better and cheaper to say than, hey, I'll buy you a ton of shit if you fuck me? Plus, it makes for a boring song because the whole thing is just a list of the various things he can afford to get her. In addition, every line is borrowed from some other retarded Southern hit, and the whole thing's one big hook. Horrible song.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't strike me as prostitution. More like love at first sight, even though its more in the beat and TI's singing. Lollipop and Whatever U Like are basically the same song, but Lollipop sounds more like Wayne bragging like "Yeah, I fucked this bitch last night" and Whatever U Like is more like "Man, I met this girl the other day. She was beautiful"

Renato Pagnani said...

"She So Fly (I'm So High)" by Grind Mode.

Jesus Shuttlesworth said...

"Lollipop and Whatever U Like are basically the same song, but Lollipop sounds more like Wayne bragging like 'Yeah, I fucked this bitch last night' and Whatever U Like is more like 'Man, I met this girl the other day. She was beautiful'"

and i will spend whatever i can to make sure that ass is mine. i'm with tray, t.i.'s just trying to play catch up with this number, which he didn't really need to do

Jordan said...

If you're gonna diss Love in this Club for being a garageband composition, you should also diss American Boy for lifting its beat wholesale from a Will.i.Am song. Anyway I feel like despite being released last year, Paper Planes was really the song of this summer, at least judging from how wild random girls at parties got when people put it on. Although actually by that standard I Kissed A Girl is probably song of the summer, but fuck that piece of garbage. Lollipop is a decent choice though. It's definitely grown on me after my initial reaction of "fuck this."

Trey Stone said...

well i mean,'s album bombed hardcore, and he produced "American Boy" so it's not a case of some random producer jacking a beat. i don't really have a problem with him re-using it so it gets some shine, 'specially since it was just a random interlude.

agreed on "Whatever You Like," T.I. didn't cop to trends on his last two albums' singles and he doesn't need to make his own bad version of "Lollipop"

tray said...

Maybe he's just run out of ideas. What else can you think when the whole song is a conglomerate-bite of Wayne, Soulja Boy, and T-Pain? I mean, did he really have to recycle Wayne's good brain/undergraduate education line? I didn't even believe it was T.I. the first time I heard it.

Renato Pagnani said...


Trey Stone said...

^ damn man. i guess i should use that as motivation