Singles Going Steady
his week in singles: The All-American Rejects dish out the dirt, Akon goes bonanza, b-o-n-a-n-z-a, Kelly Clarkson goes for the hat trick (plus one!), Charlie Wilson fills out his ID forms, and The White Stripes prefer their ringtones old school. All this and more info about Fergie’s tits, on this edition of Singles Going Steady!
Black Eyed Peas - My Humps
Ian Mathers: "Get you love drunk off my hump.” “You love my lady lumps.” “Tryin’ a feel my hump, hump / Lookin’ at my lump, lump.” YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS SHIT UP, FOLKS.
John M. Cunningham: This song is silly, juvenile, and like most BEP singles, mildly irritating. It's also just strange enough to work, with Fergie bragging about her goodies in a cutely hoarse voice and a combination of rhythmic breaths and liquid synths that pleasingly recalls Salt N Pepa's "Push It."
Matt Chesnut: There’s a fine line between minimalist jams and hooklessly boring. Let’s ponder mightily as to where this falls! Fergie continues to have the personality of a sock full of oranges and she pummels you as if she was one. Beat’s nice (clappy and bouncy!) so you can tune out vocals if you are so inclined and able.
Andrew Unterberger: So that’s a ten for production and a 0 for content, then. The production here is razor-sharp, a nifty minimal electro-funk number that’s half Neptunes and half “Lose Control,” and all class. Too bad the Peas couldn’t follow the lead, here—Fergie continues to find new and more humiliating ways to utterly squander her somewhat limited sex appeal, and Will.I.Am turns out to be an idiot after all. Fuck these guys.
Charlie Wilson - Charlie, Last Name: Wilson
Ian Mathers: “Haven’t I seen you somewhere before / and I know you’ve heard this somewhere”. Definitely; and Charlie, all that goodwill you accumulated with “Signs” is swiftly dissipating.
John M. Cunningham: Of course R. Kelly produced this: there's that same lack of self-awareness that allows the song to border on parody, from Wilson's inability to get through a single line without echoing himself at the end to the faintly ridiculous cries of "girl I got a big ol' house!" and "you can e-mail me!" Nice velvety voice, though.
Matt Chesnut: The lyrics are so straightforward (it’s like a direct transcript of some things he’s saying!) and it’s awfully fun. And it’s got some of that psychedelic soul feel (because of the sitar in the chorus, y’see.) “Being in love is good for your health.” Maybe I will use this line to attract human females!
Andrew Unterberger: Aside from the facts that this is the dude from “Signs” and “Beautiful” and that the only thing odder than the use of the “Charlie, last name Wilson” hook in the song is that they actually put it in the song’s title, there is absolutely nothing to lend this song to anything but the most swift of dismissals. You let us down, Unkie Chas.
The White Stripes - My Doorbell
Ian Mathers: Everything bad they said about the new BRMC single over at the UK Jukebox applies here. The first White Stripes single I genuinely have trouble remembering after it’s over.
John M. Cunningham: I don't mind the ditching of guitar for piano on principle, but when the piano is a rumbly old piece of furniture in the corner, and Jack just hammers a couple of simple chords away from the mic, I have to say, I miss the frenzy of the Fender.
Matt Chesnut: Get back to the guitar, you eccentric ponce.
Andrew Unterberger: So I was right, then—there is no need to listen to Get Behind Me Satan past “Blue Orchid”. The drums sound pretty cool, though—work that hi-hat, Meg!
All-American Rejects - Dirty Little Secret
Ian Mathers: I feel a sudden surge of fondness for “Swing Swing”. This is about as generic as pop punk gets these days. One wonders why he’s threatening to dump her if she tells anyone, and it certainly makes this creepier, but ultimately you just don’t care.
John M. Cunningham: There's something vaguely creepy about this track (why the sudden need for secrecy, dude?) that's belied by its sunny pop-punk disposition. Still, it's a solid, better-than-average crunch-rock number, so I can't complain.
Matt Chesnut: “Baby, you can be my girl, but only under the condition that none of my friends know about you and that you pretend we don’t know each other in public.”
Andrew Unterberger: Sort of a lesser Sugarcult single (anyone remember “She’s the Blade”? That one got shortchanged), but it’ll be better remembered for that fairly interesting video with all those anonymous dudes revealing their, uh, dirty little secrets. Except that one guy whose secret was that he could eat twelve donuts in one sitting. The fuck? I could probably do that.
Akon - Bonanza (Belly Dancer)
Ian Mathers: In retrospect: “Locked Up” was good, “Ghetto” was great, “Lonely” was decent and this is just tolerable. The most interesting thing about Akon is still his vocals, the relative strangeness of which isn’t exploited here as keenly as on “Ghetto”. If only he’d sampled the TV theme, or maybe a little Lorne Greene, this would be classic.
John M. Cunningham: Light and catchy, and probably fun to sing along to once it's all over the radio, but also nothing all that special.
Matt Chesnut: Oh ho, bet Radio Disney won’t be jumping on THIS one, even if some Ewoks are guest spotting. He’s no longer lonely; he’s on the prowl for some lewd conduct!
Andrew Unterberger: One toke over the line. Get the hell out of here, dude.
Kelly Clarkson - Because of You
Ian Mathers: We’ve all known (or been) people like this, people so crippled by a bad break that they don’t quite respond to others anymore. The backing is fairly standard piano ballad, but this is a case where content and delivery really do elevate the song. It’s good to hear this sort of thing done well, I especially like the lines “My heart can't possibly break / When it wasn't even whole to start with”, and it’s good to hear her bluntly pointing out his inadequacies as well as her own.
John M. Cunningham: I was ready to write this off as a well-meaning, competent ballad until I listened more closely and had an epiphany: Clarkson's four singles from Breakaway tell a narrative of her path to freedom, but in reverse order of release. "Because of You" is about the psychological effects of a torturous, controlling relationship and sounds suitably cramped; in "Behind These Hazel Eyes," she still wallows in the pain but is on the verge of escape; "Since U Been Gone" is the joyous release; and in "Breakaway," she barely addresses her ex at all, able now to imagine a life outside the confines of her immediate world. Maybe this is sub-Klosterman bullshit theorizing, but right now, I'm convinced she's the most brilliant pop star around.
Matt Chesnut: Every time I think American Idol gets this problem solved, they go and make dreary piano ballads and hoist them on their biggest star. Lessons learned: they can’t all be winners and never assume anyone’s changed.
Andrew Unterberger: Uh-oh. Riding on a streak of three shockingly well all-audience accepted singles (yeah, even “Breakaway”), Kelly sets herself up here to squander her good will with this regressive American Idol-type ballad. It’s true that there’s more to the lyrics here than most of its kind, and would pack quite a fair bit of sting if the music wasn’t only about a hundredth as committed to the song as Kelly is. Instead, it’s more like a mosquito bite.
By: US Stylus Staff
Published on: 2005-08-26