I liked Imagine Dragons’ first album, but their second release makes it clear they are not a versatile band and should probably stick with the style that made them famous, because their attempts at experimentation are usually horrifying. With its obnoxious beat, annoying whistling hook and embarrassing faux-gypsy sound, this is even more of a disaster than the notorious “I Bet My Life”.
Archives for April 2015
For his brief period of relevance, this producer relied on the gimmick of hiding his name, his identity and even his gender, supposedly on the grounds that it would let his music be judged purely on its own merits. In reality, I have to assume that the mysterious image was the only thing that got him or his music noticed at all, because this is some of the dullest, stiffest, least interesting House Music I’ve ever heard on the Dance Charts, and given that those charts routinely make dance hits out of Yoko Ono songs, that’s saying something.
Verdict: Let’s just say there’s a reason this guy needed a contrived gimmick to make anyone care about his music.
This song is apparently attempting to compromise between the Calvin Harris dance-ballad style of House Music and the funky Disclosure style, and succeeds at neither. It alternates noisy, chaotic verses full of overbearing, pounding keyboards with a flat, grating chorus that makes the singer sound like she’s being forced to dance.
The frustrating thing about Big Sean is that, like many of the most notorious acts in modern hip-hop (Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Rick Ross, Iggy Azalea, etc.), he is perfectly capable of doing good work as a rapper when he’s actually trying. This song takes the same grateful-for-the-good-things tone as Flo Rida’s “I Cry” and Pitbull’s “International Love”, but features vastly better lyrics than either of those songs, combining its meaningful subject matter with the best wordplay I’ve heard in a hit rap song since Eminem’s last single. It’s songs like this that make “Dance (Ass)”, “Marvin and Chardonnay”, and “I Don’t Fuck With You” even more disgusting, because they show he’s talented enough to do better.
It seems that after her hiatus, Rihanna intends to resume her pattern of mixing classics like “Love the Way You Lie”, “We Found Love”, and the recent “FourFiveSeconds”, with disposable pop crap like this song. Believe it or not, Trap Music used to be a genuinely legit genre associated with gritty underground music, but this song, while nowhere near as bad as “Dark Horse” or “7/11”, continues the process of homogenizing it into the lowest common denominator of lazy pop beats.
After two of the greatest Indie Rock albums of the current decade, Mumford and Sons have finally, if not sold out, then at least made a very misguided change to their template. I’m not opposed to auto-tune in principle…I’ve seen it used very effectively under the right circumstances…but I think we can all agree that Mumford and Sons were never meant to use it. And between the auto-tune, the electric guitars and synthesizers, and the overall feel of heavy studio polish, this new sound is just not remotely as interesting as the one that made them famous in the first place.
Verdict: Definitely a severe mistake.
As boring and worthless as all of Cole Swindell’s songs are, I don’t think I quite comprehended why he was considered the worst of all the Bro-Country singers until now. This ugly, whiny, mean-spirited rant of a song illustrates, much like “Drunk On a Plane” before it, the one stumbling block of Bro-Country’s attempts to deepen its content into an actual legitimate genre…namely, that the only thing worse than idiot songwriters is idiot songwriters trying to be serious, so all the effort and ambition in the world aren’t really going to help the bottom-of-the-barrel acts like Swindell.
This song follows the same basic model as Blake Shelton’s “Sure Be Cool If You Did”. Because Sam Hunt is a much more talented musician than Shelton, this song is far more vivid and intense than the boring “Sure Be Cool If You Did”, but given how inherently sleazy both songs’ concepts are, the fact that this song actually captures the intended mood only makes things worse. With its threatening tone and quiet spoken-word verses, this song is incredibly creepy and disturbing, which would be fine if it were intentional, but it’s pretty clear this was meant to be a romantic love song, not a stalker song, so the creepy vibe of the song just comes off as extremely unpleasant.