Singles Going Steady
his week in singles: Linday Lohan demands immediate gratification, Frankie J. re-writes “Burn” for the 21st Century, Fall Out Boy sound the S.O.S., Bow Wow and Omarion get all touchy feely, and we think Rihanna speaks for all of us when they ask the DJ to turn the damn music up. All this and yet another American Idol #1, this week on Singles Going Steady!
Bow Wow f. Omarion – Let Me Hold You
Matt Chesnut: Aw, Bow Wow’s all grown up. See, he wants to hold you, probably for sexing! And he made a reference to crack addicts. No more Radio Disney for me, no sir. The beat and bass are strong and if you hadn’t told me this was Bow Wow, I likely wouldn’t have known and that alone deserves some accolades.
Erick Bieritz: A match made in heaven, because neither can really drag the other any deeper. Bow Wow keeps getting lapped by Nick Cannon, Omarion gets lapped by Mario and the two of them just limp along leaning against each other at the back of the pack. It’s mostly forgettable, although the name-game breakdown induces memorable shudders.
Ian Mathers: I actually really like the shuffling, woodblock-ish percussion and the sample, but you’d need to give this to, say, Ludacris and Usher rather than Bow Wow and Omarion to give it a real spark. The production is good enough to make it a narrowly missed opportunity rather than a total disaster.
Andrew Unterberger: The two enfants terrible of 00s hip-hop finally team up, with each hoping the other will be enough to boost their faltering careers. It’s working, and not surprisingly so—the two have just enough charm combined to put a song like this over, and a nice Kanye-lite beat doesn’t hurt.
Lindsey Lohan – First
Matt Chesnut: If Ashlee Simpson falls off the face of the earth, I don’t think it’ll make much of a difference. Lohan playing the pop-rock queen pre-occupied with her own fame fills her shoes easy. The best part is the bridge that kind of sounds like “Ray of Light.” I’m going to be a gentleman and refrain from snickering at “I wanna come first.”
Erick Bieritz: The music industry continues to reinvent the Runaways with Lohan’s best effort to date. This is her Avril song. It’s an ok Avril song. It’s also the best song this week.
Ian Mathers: In which Lindsay admits that she’s less sane than she used to be over generic “rawk” backing no. 1314. Her voice sounds not-bad, but “when I see you something inside of me bursts”? The cries for help are just piling up these days, aren’t they.
Andrew Unterberger: Can’t wait till she performs this one at next year’s Orange Bowl.
Rhianna – Pon de Replay
Matt Chesnut: Missy-sirens are all over this beat and is suitable for no other season but summer. It feels like last summer’s “Move Ya Body” with its vocal harmonies and that Rihanna probably will never another hit again.
Erick Bieritz: There was some heat to build this one up, envelopes of cash, vague threats, and I knocked it up to a 5 from an earlier, less charitable position. But it still feels hollow. Cardboard clapper beat, tired incite-the-DJ lyrics, dully whining synths, and that’s it. At best I could say I’m a dancehall tourist who only really enjoys unintelligible yelling over riddims that sound like vacuum cleaners running over their own cords, at worst this is a warmed-over substitute for last year’s “Move Your Body.”
Ian Mathers: The intro makes me think it’s going to be Will Smith’s “Switch”, but this is better, with a few amusing lines (“let the bass from the speakers run through your sneakers”) and an almost hypnotic beat. Not great, but easy on the ears.
Andrew Unterberger: The “Move Your Body” comparisons everyone is making are indeed apt, which is in absolutely every way a good thing. As breezy, hypnotic and irrepressibly enjoyable as the dancehall jam of last summer, we’d be blessed to have a song as good as this reach similar status and popularity.
Frankie J – How To Deal
Matt Chesnut: How many more Usher-lite performances is it going to take for Frankie J to lose his record deal? I’ll guess eight.
Erick Bieritz: This is actually a pretty well-constructed ballad, but the pacing is too similar to the sound of “Obsession” and it just doesn’t come together.
Ian Mathers: I will give Frankie J this: It is surprisingly insightful of him to sing “How do you cope when / The one you love is somebody else / There's nothing you can do about it” – often, unrequited love is so frustrating precisely because the other person is a person, and you can’t make them feel the way you want them to feel. What? There’s a “with” in there? Never mind, then. The rest is crap anyway.
Andrew Unterberger: What Usher Hath Wrought. Dismal.
Carrie Underwood – Inside Your Heaven
Matt Chesnut: Inside my heaven, Carrie Underwood is forbidden from the One True Jukebox. C’mon, American Idol, I thought we fixed this. No more of these kinds of ballads. Remember “Since U Been Gone?” Hell, even Fantasia had some Jermaine Dupri thing going for a minute.
Erick Bieritz: It’s essentially what every “American Idol” detractor hates: Vapid, empty balladry attempting to muscle its way into relevancy on wasted talent and contrived passion. Her voice soars like a bird, and then the bird has an aneurysm in its brain and plummets to the earth, lifeless.
Ian Mathers: Come back Fantasia, all is forgiven.
Andrew Unterberger: To think that the American Idol think tank continues to pump out these utterly lifeless and ridiculous ballads year after year—kinda makes you doubt the intelligence behind the whole process. “Take me to the place you cry from” will almost unquestionably be the worst sentence I hear spoken this summer.
Fall Out Boy – Sugar, We’re Going Down
Matt Chesnut: What’s getting labeled as “emo” these days, pedantic arguments aside, feels a lot like stadium rock of yore. I think this might be a good song on the future Monster Emo Ballads compilation.
Erick Bieritz: Well, this does what it’s supposed to do admirably. “Number one with a bullet” makes a decent chorus centerpiece. The rest of the song is passively solid.
Ian Mathers: Before I heard this song I made a bet with myself that based on what I knew about Fall Out Boy I wouldn't be able to give it any more than a five. I owe myself five dollars, because I can't - this is more poppy and less screamy than some of its peers, but still chock full of stupid lyrics and pro forma emoting. Next, please.
Andrew Unterberger: I gotta say, these guys blindsided me. I totally expected at best another Hawthorne Heights, but instead we get this--sweet, catchy as hell and not even a little bit annoying. 2005, meet your “Ocean Avenue”.
By: US Stylus Staff
Published on: 2005-07-01