Friday, June 19, 2009

A Darkhorse Contender for Song of the Summer

A semi-analogous Euro-American collabo.

As you may have noticed, the pickings for song of the summer this summer are insanely slim. Pickings were fairly slim last year too, but 'Lollipop,' I think, ended up growing on all of us, and there was 'Forever,' 'American Boy,' my personal favorite, 'Shake It,' and of course 'A Milli.' This year, not so good. 'Boom Boom Pow' is an abomination. 'Calle Ocho' is, like, the pared-down Platonic essence of every crappy single Pitbull's ever made, which is to say it really sucks. (I know back in the day it was cool among a certain set to say that Pitbull was actually a good and politically interesting rapper; I've never listened to his albums so I guess I shouldn't be assuming that Synth Gurgles Breihan and them were full of shit, but is there a worse singles artist in the last 5 years than Pit? Besides Beyonce? He always sounds like he's smirking to himself about the unspeakably naughty things he's going to do with some third-rate stripper after he gets out of the studio.) I've already spoken on 'Knock You Down.' 'Love Game' isn't totally awful, but for the most part comes off like it was made by a horny robot with a less than optimal knack for writing hooks. (When you have that great part with the disco stick, what do you need the "let's play a love game x 300" part for?) 'Fire Burning' is okay in a corny way, but it never really jumps all the way into the blissfully bad summery pop pool the way 'Me Love' did. It just kinda stands there on the edge. Very unsastisfying. I don't see 'Birthday Sex' as a summer song, per se, and same for 'Best I Ever Had,' which is just an okay cute relationship song anyway, who cares. And the nation, happily, seems to be rejecting Beyonce's Broadway musical ditty about how she loves the fact that her significant other has a really huge, wide ego that's too strong and won't fit, and how she, strangely, also has a huge, wide ego that's too strong and won't fit. I thought Ciara was the transvestite. Seriously, give Gaga credit for honesty, if nothing else; at least she's open about her desire to take a ride on dude's disco stick. Beyonce here has written a song about the length and girth of her husband's apparatus, masked as an innocent tribute to his and her healthy sense of self. And the sad thing is that the illiterate masses, for the most part, don't get it. Or they think it's clever. So wrong on so many levels.

Which brings me to Kelly Rowland. Kelly Rowland, of the sweet disposition, absurdly unnecessary implants, unremarkable but often endearing voice, and that platinum-selling dilemma that's entirely overshadowed the rest of her solo career. If it weren't bad enough playing the Mo Williams to Beyonce's LeBron, she was a supporting player to another superstar on her own biggest hit. On her second album, Ms. Kelly (the title alone says all you need to know about how derivative and uninspired and wannabe sassy the thing was), she came out upbraiding us for not believing she could make it bump like this... and then proceeded to totally fail to make it bump like this. Then came those absurdly unnecessary implants. It seemed like Kelly had really lost her way, doomed to a career of half-assed mimicry of whatever trend was hot at the moment (Polow beats, miserable collabos with washed-up celebrity rappers, plastic surgery). Until now. Out of the blue, Kelly decided to work with a funny-looking forty-something Parisian house DJ by the name of David Guetta, and together they've put out a lovely song, 'When Love Takes Over.' As far as the vocal goes, melodically and even lyrically it sounds like the songwriters thought they'd just repackage Jordin Sparks's "No Air" and hope no one would notice. That's cool though, "No Air" was a great song. What's interesting is the production. People have made a fuss over mildly houseish r&b in the past few years; this is actually a straight house record (though all the piano softens it a bit). At the same time, though, Kelly's still singing a fairly straight r&b vocal, and yet it all hangs together. The result is pretty great pop. Or it could be absolute crap, I love anything vaguely reminiscent of the shit I used to dance to in my Bar Mitzvah days (Real McCoy, La Bouche, Quad City DJ's, Mase, Mariah).

WLTO - with Popbytes Introduction! from Michael Knudsen on Vimeo.

Kelly Rowland f. David Guetta - When Love Takes Over.


Badmon3333 said...

I just had a flashback to seventh grade. Jesus.

tray said...

Yeah, this song isn't actually good but it's very reminiscent of 7th grade.

Badmon3333 said...

There are precious few songs that can integrate "dance" elements and not sound overly corny. I'm a big dancehall fan, and that's one genre where SOME of those sounds can work... that Enur song ("Calabria 2008") is one that sort of toes the line, but most times it just makes you feel like you should have a neon pacifier and a whistle.

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