Singles Going Steady
his week in singles—Chris Brown and Juelz Santana do the 100-Yard Dash, the Foo Fighters single doesn’t quite make it, Nickelback gets nostalgic for the days when their assholery wasn’t quite so public, and My Chemical Romance can’t stop singing about dead people. All this and more Akon, on today’s Singles Going Steady!
Pretty Ricky – Your Body
Mike Powell: A sloppy mid-tempo R&B; sleaze-jam about guys that really don’t want to have sex with you, but dammit, they will if they have to. But don’t mess around, because their lovin’ is purportedly super-addictive. Still, it can’t possibly beat the pure presence of their shout-raps over curdled mock-ups of “Regulate.”
Alfred Soto: Rick is so pretty that he can rub Nelly the right away and steal “Ride Wit Me” while Nelly lies back and enjoys it. I don’t mind the same kind of sex twice if it’s this good.
Matt Chesnut: For about a month, “Grind With Me” was inescapable on local radio. It was a grower, to be sure, and I can only hope the same for this one because it’s kind of a nonstarter. And don’t think I didn’t notice that “Big Poppa”-biting with that hook between verse and chorus.
Anthony Miccio: If Bobby Brown had recorded “Thug Lovin’” while still in New Edition. While it makes sense to have a boy band that yells about beating the pussy up, I don’t have to like it.
Ian Mathers: Pretty Ricky, you see, are gentlemen. They will only “beat it up” if you specifically request it. The vigorous “Yes Suh!”s are kind of cool, but mostly this is the kind of tinkly low-key nonsense that usually accompanies sex raps. “I lick em and freak 'em if they married I sneak 'em / If they look like wifey material, then I keep 'em” = YAWN.
Nickelback – Photograph
Mike Powell: Robust, tearful nostalgia-rock for the student crowd, or in this case, floundering dropouts that would rather wallow in one-upmanship about breaking into their high school (rad, brah) than face their hopelessly outdated brand of ultra-testicular bullshit. Like a failed attempt at an “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye (To Yesterday)” for the post-grunge set.
Alfred Soto: For a rich rock star who can get any chippie he wants, Chris Kroeger enjoys living in the past. First “How You Remind Me,” now a song in which he heaves last night’s Heineken on the photograph of the school he broke into twice. Since Kroeger’s style is to sing like a rat’s chewing on his big toenail, we never doubt that these memories mean something. The metallic glaze on the guitars isn’t nearly as alluring as the 12-string twinkle of “Summer of ’69.” The trope “going out the back door” comes up often enough (and sung with enough conviction) to wonder if Kroeger was fondly recalling the times he got anal love on the banks of Indian River Creek or something.
Matt Chesnut: Since Creed bowed out, Nickelback became the go-to guy when you needed to blame the world’s problems on a wimpy adult alternative post-grunge MOR—WHAT DO YOU CALL THIS ANYWAY? We were assigned this song for a number of reasons: to speculate anthropologically why Nickelback continue to exist; to fill our joke-making quota; so one or two dudes will get all subversive on us and explain in the most eloquent fashion why this deserves an 8.
Anthony Miccio: Chad Kroeger, wearing his colon on his sleeve, feeling every bittersweet childhood memory deep, deep in his bowels.
Ian Mathers: This is NOT “Canadian Rock”. Although to be fair, our idiots will probably like it as much as your idiots. Nickelback attempt a power ballad about... uh.. how bad-ass their criminal record is, and how not graduating from high school is awesome. Or something equally stupid. I'm not always anti-nostalgia, but this is like that asshole from high school (you know, that guy) cornering you in a bar, trying to build some sort of fake rapport.
Foo Fighters – DOA
Mike Powell: A catastrophe anthem that tries to balance un-sexy attempts at sexy verses with a fist-pump disco chorus. The burning building is obviously a relationship, which isn’t necessarily a bad metaphor; what is a little meta-disheartening is listening to Dave Grohl still trying to build this boat when it’s been sinking for the last 10 years and he’s proven himself more effective elsewhere.
Alfred Soto: Dave Grohl’s such a nice guy. What’s he doing hanging out with such ugly men? You know what “D.O.A.” stands for.
Matt Chesnut: As someone who likes “The Best of You,” this is not terribly memorable. I must’ve listened to it four times through before I was able to focus on it for longer than a minute at a time. The time spent listening closely reveals that it is a very. Decent. Song. Don’t know what else there is to say.
Anthony Miccio: AW YEAH, MY SUICIDE MISTRESS!! YOU’RE THE SWEETEST MURDER I’VE EVER TASTED!!! YOU’VE BEEN A BAD GIRL, BUT YOUR WHIPPING BOY’S GOT THE ROD NOW!!! BLOODY VIRGIN WHORE, LET’S DIE TOGETHER!!! They do it with a modicum of fox, but Kurt Cobain’s eyes are rolling in his grave.
Ian Mathers: Foo Fighters now feel like a cottage industry, like I can get on with my life and whenever I bother to check back in Dave Grohl and company will have another decent-but-not-great single which is nondescript but still something I prefer to pretty much everything else on rock radio. They haven't been really interesting since The Colour And The Shape, but they're a decent singles band. It says something about radio that I'm content with that.
My Chemical Romance – The Ghost of You
Mike Powell: Okay – and this is coming from someone that absolutely loved the cosmic androgynous death-orgy of “Helena” – this song is really disappointing. It’s like you walked in on the middle of some jazzy emo ballad, and the chorus comes and goes and you’re wondering where the hook was. Though the baroque metal bridge and the ending are really nice, this is basically the sound of the Hot Topic Army diddling themselves by the pale light of the moon.
Alfred Soto: How I wished this was a cover of the Psychedelic Furs song (until I remembered its correct title). All those wounds that are never going to scar the lead singer only remind him of his own wonderfulness. Richard Butler may have spent most of the video for “The Ghost in You” admiring his reflection, but he had the good sense to acknowledge the object of his affection is prettier. Would that Gerard Way copped to such wisdom.
Matt Chesnut: My Chemical Romance is my “I don’t like emo, but I like them” band. The singles thus far have been consistently strong. Not to the point of getting me to rush to the nearest record store, but “Ghost of You” is another that merits multiple listens and re-listens.
Anthony Miccio: Ok, sniffles, sniffles, I feel your pain. But I thought you buried the body last time, guys.
Ian Mathers: My ears persist in hearing something much more entertaining and compelling here than most bands currently (and erroneously) regarded as their contemporaries. This probably should have been “Cemetery Gates”, and it's not as great as the first two singles, but the “You are never coming home” part still makes me feel like a teenager again. And if rock and roll isn't supposed to do that, what is it for?
Young Jeezy feat. Akon – Soul Survivor
Mike Powell: There’s something about Akon’s voice that definitely does not suggest “criminal.” I mean, he was acquitted and all. Still, it doesn’t really matter, because you can’t make concrete without water in the mix, and Akon’s wispy back-alley paean blends well with Jeezy’s sandpaper yawns. Sprinkle eerie filmic Christmas bell plinks, a Prince reference, and the invocation of nightmares and viola, a pretty good single.
Alfred Soto: They’re soldiers but they got no soul – yet. These boyz from the hood croon and grunt a prison-survivor story with as much feeling as Chuck D did long ago and far away on “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos.” But it’s 2004. Survivor tales often ask us to applaud the survivor’s fiscal compensation as much as their triumph over adversity. Chuck D just got off on being angry.
Matt Chesnut: If you put a picture of Jadakiss next to Young Jeezy, it’d take me a minute to tell you who’s who. Akon is in Mode 1: struggling, maybe even a bit maudlin (Mode 2: carefree, checking out the ladies). The production is, if anything, serviceable. It all very nearly works.
Anthony Miccio: Chad Kroeger, screwed & chopped!
Ian Mathers: Akon has so far always been best on the hook, so restricting him to only that part is a natural choice. And he kills it with his should-be-awful, reedy whine of a voice. Jeezy acquits himself nicely, too, but what really sticks about “Soul Survivor” is those ludicrous (although not Ludacris) “Yeeeeeah”s sprinkled through the chorus. Also the clenched teeth through which Jeezy demands that if you get caught you don't mention his name, and the best “When Doves Cry” reference ever.
Chris Brown (feat. Juelz Santana) – Run It (remix)
Mike Powell: Hopefully The Last of the “Yeah” Pass-offs, this is only potentially redeemed by Dipset’s biggest lil’ star yapping all over it. Of course, he wastes his energy quoting “I Know What Boys Like” as if Cam’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” nip wasn’t iffy enough, and then moves on to the Ying Yang Twinz with “wait’ll you see my AY!” Yeah, I’m serious. Chris Brown has one of those r&b; voices that sometimes sounds like he’s singing with a mouth full of creamed peaches, all “mmmmeah girl, eeeeah.” Give him some razorblades to gargle, please.
Alfred Soto: The Ying Yang Twins have become such a cultural force that they’re already inspiring shout-outs. Generic crunk turns meta and a little juicy when it quotes “Wait (The Whisper Song),” which unfortunately has the effect of reminding us about which act boasts the beats to match its vulgarity. The only vulgar element in “Run It”? The spelling of Juelz Santana.
Matt Chesnut: Chris Brown: battling Mike Jones for most generic name contest. “Run It”: battling a few recent 50 Cent singles for generic minimal hip-hop beat. The bridge is pretty but misplaced, landlocked by the rest of the song, which comes off trying to be menacing but being terribly dull.
Anthony Miccio: This is strictly YSI blog material.
Ian Mathers: Brown is, on this showing at least, a nonentity, so let's talk about Juelz. Anyone who compares himself to a “big boy toy”, claims the girls want to stay up and party all night and then turns “Wait” into a punchline in which sex is not actually had deserves more interesting surroundings than this. Could “Bandana” be a single now, please?
By: US Stylus Staff
Published on: 2005-09-23