This song is essentially Eminem’s equivalent to Lil Wayne declaring himself the ‘Best Rapper Alive”, with the important difference that Eminem can actually back his claim up. This is arguably the most impressive single from The Marshall Mathers LP 2 in terms of technical skill, and you could even make the case that it’s the album’s best single, but it has one issue: it is far more politically incorrect than anything else on that album, with trash talk about a stereotypical ‘gay boy’ and jokes about battering women, and the results are kind of awkward at this point. Still, being inflammatory is what Eminem built his reputation on, and I haven’t heard him get this angry on a song or care this little about who he offended in over a decade. And Lord knows he offended plenty of people with this one, but his dazzling high-speed wordplay here makes this song hard to dismiss.
Archives for October 2013
This is, without hyperbole, one of the stupidest songs I’ve ever heard. Now, for the record, I do get what’s entertaining about this song’s stupidity…it’s the first of the Youtube meme songs to actually be funny since “Miracles”, and I don’t have a problem with it in its proper context as a silly Youtube video. That said, it has absolutely no place on the pop charts, and its presence there is a perfect illustration of why Billboard’s new policy of drawing on Youtube views for its rankings is such a mistake. “Harlem Shake” was a dance craze in the “Gangnam Style” vein, and “Wrecking Ball” was at least created by a professional musician, but this song is another camp disaster-spectacle like “Friday” and its ilk, and what is moderately amusing on the internet is just embarrassing and sad on the Billboard charts.
Miley Cyrus has a Number One hit. I don’t really know what to say, except perhaps “Oh, God, somebody kill me”. I can, however, take comfort in the fact that this is not a legitimate Number One: it’s just another example of HSS (Harlem Shake Syndrome), where a song tops the charts purely because of a viral video. Granted, the song itself is not as bad as her last hit, “We Can’t Stop”, but its overblown power-ballad style is really not suited to a notoriously poor vocalist like Cyrus.
This song kind of sounds like “Thrift Shop” as written by early-career Sia. The New Zealand singer-songwriter behind it really does sound quite similar in style to Sia’s early, Indie-pop stuff, with is hardly surprising given that she’s another downtempo Indie-pop singer from the same part of the world. As for the song, it’s another cynical, mocking reaction to the opulence described in most mainstream rap songs (amazing, isn’t, how already that kind of deconstructive song is almost a cliché in itself). Still, this is a genuinely excellent song, haunting and heartfelt, and despite the inevitable comparisons the singer and the subject bring up, I have to say is one of the finest Indie-music crossover items of the last few years, and it fully deserves its success.
Lana Del Rey is yet another of the many fascinating acts to cross over from the Indie Music realm in the past couple of years (as well as probably the single best musician ever to get her start on Youtube). She has already earned a significant following with songs like “Video Games”, “Born To Die”, and “Young and Beautiful” from the Great Gatsby soundtrack, and this is another deeply haunting ballad in the same vein. A pop act like her would have been a revelation a few years ago, but I’m amazed and grateful to see that today, she’s merely business as usual for the pop charts.
Of all the Progressive House-Music DJs on the pop charts right now (David Guetta, Calvin Harris, etc.), Avicii is certainly the quirkiest. Who else would have thought to mix Indie Folk, of all things, into a House-Music track, let alone then have the audacity to release it as a lead single. Still, I have to admit that this song has a substance and power that goes beyond mere novelty, and it ranks as one of the most interesting and ambitious dance tracks of the year.