This song is one of the all-time great Eminem singles, with a superb beat, a stunning chorus that features the same brilliantly creative use of sampling Eminem was known for in his heyday, a guest verse by Lil Wayne featuring probably the best work that uneven talent has ever done, and a blisteringly brilliant Eminem verse with enough blazing intensity to light up the rap world for years to come.
Archives for September 2013
This was the second-biggest hit from the album that produced “Hey, Soul Sister”, and like that song, it is a string of absurd lyrical nonsequiters set to a dull acoustic ballad sung in a wrecked, squeaky whine of a voice. Train’s done worse stuff than this, but it ranks right on up there and contains some of their most bizarre word choices ever.
There are a lot of acts in the Acoustic Soft Rock genre that I’ll actually stick up for, but I don’t really have anything good to say about Jack Johnson—he’s the embodiment of everything that’s given that genre such a bad name. Even within the genre itself, he’s not as interesting as John Mayer, he’s not as catchy as Jason Mraz, and he’s not as charming as Zac Brown, so why would anyone bother to listen to him when there are artists like those three available instead?
This version of the Leonard Cohen classic was one of a handful of actual chart hits from the Hope For Haiti Now album, and still ranks as one of the finest tracks Justin Timberlake ever laid down. He really gives suitable weight to the lyrics, rather than overemphasizing the chorus like a lot of versions do, and gives one of finest renditions of this oft-covered song in the recent memory.
This was the only original composition on the Hope For Haiti Now album, and it is one of its most distinguished tracks, a confluence of legends. Jay-Z offers one of his most honest and moving raps, the talents behind U2 provide a powerful backdrop, and Rihanna transports herself well in this exalted company, complimenting her auspicious collaborators beautifully.
This is one of Swift’s most personal songs. Some have criticized it for its supposedly myopic focus on Swift’s personal experiences, but they completely miss the point of the song. It isn’t meant to be some universal musing on the nature of adolescence; it’s _supposed_ to be autobiographical, and on those grounds it stands as one of Swift’s most honest and beautifully written singles.
It tells you something that even in ’09-’10, when Lil Wayne was the single biggest star in the rap world, his attempt at a ‘rock’ album, Rebirth, was still an unmitigated disaster. This is pretty much the only track on that album anyone has anything good to say about, mainly because of a featured verse by Eminem (and by that I mean post-“Forever” Eminem, meaning that this is after he regained his footing and reclaimed his status as the greatest rapper in the world). But Lil Wayne’s emo-esque lyrics and notoriously irritating use of autotune are too much for even Eminem to completely redeem, so while this is definitely the best thing on Rebirth, it’s still a trial to listen to.
This song was written by the male members of Lady Antebellum, and it is vintage work from them, a gorgeous, moving love song with a touchingly uncertain ending. Bryan’s delivery of the song is rather dull and lifeless (it would probably have worked better sung by Lady A themselves), but it still ranks as easily the best thing he’s ever released, and he would spend the rest of his career trying without success to manufacture a carbon copy of it.