This song was a rejected cut from Katy Perry’s Prism album, which is not surprising, given that it is essentially an alternate version of “Dark Horse”. It has the same subject matter and production as “Dark Horse”, and while Iggy Azalea’s rap verses show a significant improvement over her work on “Fancy”, this chorus and beat are still pretty much unsalvageable.
Archives for August 2014
This song is built around a sample of the legendary “Baby Got Back”, which was probably the only legitimately good rap song about women’s asses ever written, primarily because it (mostly) avoided being degrading to women. As for this song, which seems to have gotten caught up in the probably laudable but still rather sudden furor currently being raised against sexism in music, it’s not as blatantly incompetent as the worst of her Roman Reloaded-era material (e.g. “Stupid Hoe”), but it’s still a sloppy and surprisingly degrading mess, and I would have trouble offering a convincing defense of it.
I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed in Taylor Swift. I suppose that as Swift’s stylistic departures go, this fairly decent retro-R&B piece is a better attempt than the repetitive inanity of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” or the bizarre invocation of dupstep on “I Knew You Were Trouble”. But Swift is at heart an old-school singer-songwriter, and her greatest strength has always been her songs’ rich emotional content. This generic ‘anti-hater’ anthem, while set to reasonably enjoyable music, just isn’t the best Swift is capable of, and lacks most of the qualities that make her best work so interesting.
This song combines doo-wop-influenced retro-pop with an ode to positive body image reminiscent of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful” or TLC’s “Unpretty”. It’s not as effective at delivering its message as those songs, but it’s a good enough piece of music for that to be forgiven.
Another excellent hit from the retro-R&B genre, this song features superb production and stunning vocals from its two singers, and Nicki Minaj’s guest verse is the best thing she’s done in years.
You know, when big-name House Music producers put their name on a track as the lead artist, it’s understood that they have the right, because they were the primary contributors to the song’s content. When a third-rate hack who writes barely-functional beats for big-name sellouts like Lil Wayne does it, it just comes across as uppity. That said, this song was destined for a pretty terrible review anyway, because it features Miley Cyrus attempting to rap. That should tell you everything you needed to know right there.
One more sign that the Glam Rap genre is dying is the fact that all the new names in the last few years have been either blatantly loathsome like 2Chainz or Big Sean or completely impossible to take seriously, like Iggy Azalea or this moron. This song would actually later form the basis for the sublime smash hit “Uptown Funk”, but it’s hard to believe when you listen to this cliche-ridden, almost self-parodistic piece of trash that anything that wonderful could possibly have been made out of it.
The Red album featured a good bit of schlocky pop-friendly material that sounded nothing like Taylor Swift’s usual stuff, but the better material, like “Begin Again” and the title track, continued the growth she had been showing on Speak Now and her Hunger Games singles. And this is easily the best track on the entire album, an incredibly moving emotional tour de force that ranks with the best songs of Swift’s career to date.