This Queen-influenced power ballad was not especially well-received by critics, but the truth is that it’s one of Lady Gaga’s better moments. It’s a rare example of her writing from personal experience and emotion, and it’s actually rather touching by the standards of her usual detached material. It also shows off her so often underutilized vocal chops nicely.
Archives for June 2014
Even after “Scream and Shout” and “#Thatpower”, this is still the worst Will.i.am composition to enter the Top Forty in 2013. Britney Spears hasn’t been this vulgar and blatantly trashy since the release of “3” in 2009.
This song is a frustrating combination of a gorgeous Quiet Storm melody with lyrics as stupid as those in “The Lazy Song”. If Bruno Mars likes to write the occasional stupid novelty song, I suppose he can be forgiven, given how consistent the rest of his output is, but I wish he had made better use of this tune.
Probably the band’s second most famous original song, this is actually a much better and more interesting achievement than the overexposed “Stairway To Heaven”. Despite their reputation as the innovators of Heavy Metal, this song actually sounds nothing like Metal, or indeed like anything else you’ve ever heard. Led Zeppelin were kind of iffy as songwriters, but as a pure performing combo, they were perhaps second only to the Rolling Stones, and they display those skills gloriously on this song, which also represents the pinnacle of their attempts at songwriting.
Here we have it folks…the Beatles classic that essentially invented the raucous, brutal sounds of what would become Heavy Metal. Apparently inspired by the language of a bullshit review spewing hyperbole over the Who’s “I Can See For Miles” (McCartney took it as a challenge to write something that actually matched the critic’s description), this song has some well-known historical issues with people reading unpleasant (to say the least) meanings into it, but to be fair, if you write a song about a fairground slide that sounds like Satan having an orgasm, people are inevitably going to get a little confused. In any case, no rock song in history had come anywhere near this close to Heavy Metal before, and it remains a crucial milestone of the genre’s development and an absolutely amazing song in its own right. If by some bizarre chance you haven’t heard it, go listen to it. Right now.
This song is built around a wonderful sample of the great Otis Redding singing “Try a Little Tenderness”, and it is to Kanye’s credit as a producer that he takes full advantage of that sample and was smart enough to leave it almost completely intact rather than screw with the arrangement. As for the lyrics, they’re essentially the standard Glam-Rap materialistic boasting, but like most of Jay-Z’s work, they’re delivered with genuine class and are thus far more convincing than most of their peers.
Like a lot of fans of Sia’s early Indie music, I was concerned by her decision to immerse herself in Mainstream Pop…songs like “Wild Ones”, “Diamonds”, and “Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)”, while not by any means badly done, were ultimately a lot less interesting than her earlier stuff. However, this song and the album it came from won back her credibility with most of her original fans, and with good reason. Not only does it have one of the best melodies in all of modern pop, it also features a heartbreaking lyric about a girl hiding her inner pain with empty partying. Sia has essentially gone from avoiding the cliché trappings of pop altogether, to playing them fairly straight, to subverting them, and as subverted party songs go, this is right up there with “Royals”…in fact, it might be even better.
This is much better than Lambert’s last hit, “Somethin’ Bad”, but it’s oddly sentimental and inoffensive for the edgy, daring Country firebrand whose nickname is ‘The Pink Pistol’. I mean, when you see a Miranda Lambert song titled “Automatic”, the first place your mind goes is not a soft, nostalgic ballad about the downside of technological progress. And unlike “The House That Built Me”, it doesn’t really capture the naked emotional honesty that characterizes her work either. And while it’s certainly a very pretty song, the lyrics are a kind of neo-Luddite yearning for a return to the exact level of technological sophistication that Lambert grew up with, such as cassette tapes and stick shifts, which when you think about it is kind of arbitrary, even hypocritical. In today’s country scene of meatheaded party anthems, I suppose it’s above average, but I can’t help but feel Lambert is capable of better than this.
Verdict: All right, I guess, but still somewhat disappointing.