Singles Going Steady
his week on Singles Going Steady—The Black Eyed Peas get it both started and retarded, Fantasia Barrino wastes about ten of her fifteen minutes with her #1 single, modern rock gets sexy again, and for the third time in almost as many weeks, the deadly coolide riddim rears its ass-shaking head. Watch and learn.
Pitbull feat. Lil’ Jon
Josh Timmermann: This is pretty goddamn hot. It reminds me of that part in Monsoon Wedding where the hot cousin is dancing crossed with, I don't know, every other song Lil’ Jon has ever appeared on.
Ian Mathers: Cue the law of diminishing returns; that Coolie riddim and Lil’ Jon’s presence are both getting more tiresome each time I hear them. This is okay, but not a patch on Nina Sky’s use of the riddim, or even Elephant Man’s. And except for the riddim, there’s not much to distinguish the track.
Akiva Gottlieb: Okay, so I’m sorta starting to understand. All these dudes decided—hey, we’re going to record a bunch of hit songs over the same riddim (ne: rhythm) and get worshipped like gods. Well, I’m not that stupid. I see what game they’re playing. Regardless, the riddim wasn’t that mindblowing the first time around, so why should Pitbull reap any of my belated semi-appreciation of Nina Sky’s coolie-buoyed “Move Ya Body” single?
Andrew Unterberger: This song cheats. It uses the coolie riddim and has lots of random interjections from Lil’ Jon—two factors that automatically make it at least a five, even though several other recent songs have used each of these factors, and better. I’ll give it another couple points for that awesome shout-along foreign language chorus. Can’t wait till I have it totally memorized.
Gavin Mueller: What the Diwali riddim was for 2003, this riddim (what's its name?) is poised to be for '04. Unfortunately, this track needs more than Lil Jon's increasingly self-parodic grunts to make it stand out from its catchier brethren. Maybe some Eastside synth sirens? Or lyrics that sound like Pitbull spent more than 20 weed-steeped minutes on them? At least practice that fake Jamaican brogue a little bit before you get in the booth, guys! Lil’ Jon, you have my number. We need to talk.
The Von Bondies
Josh Timmermann: "Something about 'these deep wounds' and 'a million lies that speak no truth,' blah blah blah, come on, come on, Jack White kicked my ass, come on, come on!" (3)
Ian Mathers: I was lead to believe that the Von Bondies were garage rock or whatever, but listen to Jason Stollsteimer’s voice: The delivery is very early Bono. I don’t think it’s deliberate, but the tension between his arena-sized voice and the skuzzy thrash of the rest of the song is pretty great.
Akiva Gottlieb: One of the better singles spawned by garage rock part deux, “C’mon C’mon” is a raw, impassioned blast of concentrated rock energy. The call-and-response is infectious, the primitive simplicity is charming, and the song’s main flaw is that it ends too soon.
Andrew Unterberger: Another modern garage rock classic—this song won’t get that big or ever really be remembered by anyone, but maybe 10 years from now it’ll pop up on some genre collaboration next to Ima Robot and The Hives and—as it does now—it’ll sound pretty damn good.
Gavin Mueller: Remember that Hives song a couple years back that you thought was pretty good? Of course you don't! Here's something that's almost as good in the meantime. Coming to an iPod commercial near you!
Somebody Told Me
Josh Timmermann: Well, shit. I thought this was going to be that band from last year, the Kills. I liked them. I just figured the "er" part was a typo, or perhaps an attempt for that duo to sound a bit more intimidating. This Killers group isn't nearly as good, and, frankly, they’re not capable of killing anything larger than a very small puppy.
Ian Mathers: This is the most overblown thing I’ve heard in months, from the vocal delivery and lyrics to the cheesy techno whooshes to pretty much everything else. Which is awesome. The fact that the chorus puts me in mind of “Girls And Boys” ain’t half bad, either. I hear the album is half shit, and it’s easy to see how this walks a thin line between foolish genius and sheer awfulness.
Akiva Gottlieb: The chorus loses its novelty after about half a listen, but The Killers’ impeccably produced discopunk smash is a bouncy, booty-shakin’ ode to urban androgyny. Their name doesn’t scare me. Their groove kinda does.
Andrew Unterberger: Yeah, this is actually pretty great. Synths in rock are vastly under-used these days, and this band’s got that Interpol guitar sound to anchor it as well. Chorus is kind of disappointing, but this song is still a total winner.
Gavin Mueller: This is all a bit too serious for a band named (metal voice) THE KILLERS, but I award an extra point for a fashionable retro synth.
Josh Timmermann: Oh my god, this is unbelievably awful! I can't even keep listening this. That's quite enough. I'm turning "Culo" back on.
Ian Mathers: No. I’m sorry, I love lots of pop music and may tastes have broadened an awful lot since I was 17, but songs like this still activate my inner rockist. Trite lyrics, pointless vocal showboatery, Velveeta arrangements… there is no space for this in my life.
Akiva Gottlieb: Doesn’t this sound a little bit like Joe Cocker’s warbly, anthemic take on “With A Little Help From My Friends”…you know, the theme song from “The Wonder Years”? That’s a really good thing. This song is also reminiscent of every Celine/Whitney/Mariah ballad from the ‘90s. That’s a quasi-good thing.
Andrew Unterberger: Ehhh, close enough.
Gavin Mueller: I most certainly rooted for Fantasia throughout the American Idol contest. Now that she's won, she's free to release bland music I will never listen to. You go girl!
Black Eyed Peas
Let's Get it Started
Josh Timmermann: This is alright, I guess, and certainly light-years better than the insipid "Where Is the Love?", but it just tends to rub me the wrong way when I'm instructed to "get stupid." Thanks, but no.
Ian Mathers: Let’s see, this was originally called “Let’s Get Retarded” and contains the line “bop your head like epilepsy”. Black Eyed Peas sure are positive and uplifting, aren’t they? No, they’re just annoying. What seems like a good 70% of this song is the brainless refrain, which does not make me want to get it started at all. Bland pop-rap that wouldn’t even sound that good in the club.
Akiva Gottlieb: Am I the only one who finds the idea of “get[ting] retarded” misguided and completely offensive? Coming from so-called “conscious” rappers, the insensitivity is maddening. That said, the infuriatingly juvenile, completely retarded single mix, with its newly PC (and comparably uninspiring) mantra, is destined for Bar Mitzvah party ubiquity. Conscious rap is for squares. Conscious rap radio hits are for squares and the families that begot them.
Andrew Unterberger: It’s slightly sad that the most noteworthy thing about this song is how funny it is that they had to change the title from “Let’s Get Retarded” to “Let’s Get It Started”. Besides that, it’s just like their last two singles, one catchy step forward, two obnoxious and annoying steps backwards.
Gavin Mueller: The Black Eyed Peas make good on the promise of the Roots, taking the live band aesthetic and imbuing it with something ?uestlove et al usually lack—energy. While they will never be forgiven for "Where Is The Love" or their incredibly obnoxious female vocalist, BEP has consistently offered startlingly ambitious productions—they're putting their label advance to work for them.
Lloyd f/ Ashanti
Josh Timmermann: Though, on “South Side Story”, it’s hard not to spot him as the Robin to Phiddy's Batman, I wouldn't be particularly surprised to see Lloyd Banks, with time, ascend to the noir-rap A-list himself. At the very least, he's proof that G-Unit has more to offer outside of its "lead singer" than D-12 ever will. Oh. So. There’s another Lloyd, eh?
Ian Mathers: This is the least annoying Ashanti has ever been. The rapping is just a distraction, neither good nor bad (sorry, Lloyd) but the rest of the song is just one long, slow, lovely sigh. I have no idea what it’s about, because each time I try to focus on the lyrics I feel sleepy, but this might as well have been genetically designed for playing on hot summer nights.
Akiva Gottlieb: A quietly pretty, sub-Usher slow jam. Unless, of course, the “south side” is some kind of enigmatic sexual reference, in which case, this song is indecent.
Andrew Unterberger: I was all prepared for this to be this week’s smooth R&B equivalent of last week’s “Flap Your Wings,” but without the ridiculously melodramatic video to accompany it, this song just isn’t quite so enjoyably bad. Instead it’s just kind of OK. Sort of.
Gavin Mueller: As a denizen of a substantial urban South Side (Chicago), I love songs that rep my cardinal direction of choice. Let "Southside" stand as a notable exception Hey man, there's already a hip-hop star named Lloyd, and he's more famous than you. And Irv Gotti's spending too much time on his legal woes to turn in a beat that approaches his distinct flavor of mediocrity. And to top it all off, Ashanti isn't even from the South Side. She's from Long Island. Bitch. Go White Sox.
By: US Stylus Staff
Published on: 2004-07-09