The Singles Jukebox
Singles Going Steady



this week: Teenage girls have a field day, Kanye West cashes in on the post-Passion Jesus craze, chauvinistic rap abounds and more arty weirdness rules the alternative airwaves! All this and the worst band name since Jesus Lizard, on this edition of Singles Going Steady!



Hillary Duff feat. Haylie Duff – Our Lips Are Sealed
[4.16]


Gavin Mueller: Tween pop covers are like a black hole that suck the sugar out of the sweetest songs, and this Go-Gos homage is no exception. The guitars are bigger, but everything reeks of autotuner and niche-marketing. Hire the Matrix, for fuck's sake, instead of shoving more cash up Belinda Carlisle's nose.
[2]

Ian Mathers: This is an even worse desecration, if possible, than Jessica Simpson’s hideous Berlin cover from a few weeks back. Worse than the original in every conceivable way. Sounds absurdly defensive in a way the Go-Gos never did. Let’s just hope the Go-Gos make some money off of this.
[0]

Josh Timmermann: I like Hilary Duff just fine, I adore the Go-Go's, and I don't necessarily have any problem with unadventurous ingenues covering pop standards (i.e., Mandy's "Have a Little a Faith in Me"), but this one's just plain pointless as far as I can tell. Hilary brings absolutely nothing new to the song. Which isn't to say that this song is bad per se. I mean, really, how could it be? It's too safe to really suck.
[5]

Andrew Unterberger: On paper it’s a standard obligatory kiddie cover of a girl-pop classic to prove that teenage sensation Hillary Duff “knows her roots” or whatever. But it works disarmingly well—it’s got that titanically huge pop sound that gave Avril her wings a couple years back, with near Andrew-W.K. levels of guitar and POWER PIANO. And the bridge ties it all together. Excellent.
[8]

Kareem Estefan: Where did girl punk go? Hm, best leave that question for I Love the 90s. But anyway, this explosive slice of pop is just what I need right about now, after one of the hottest days of the season. Catchy, bright, and fun, I can’t wait to play “Our Lips Are Sealed” all summer long.
[7]

Gabe Gloden: I wonder what exactly people are saying behind Hilary and Haylie Duff’s collective back that would cause them to write such an embittered rant about the struggles of celebrity. “I hear Hilary and Haylie Duff stay out way past their bedtime.” “Yeah, and they totally kiss boys.” Oh wait, my mistake. Ha, it’s just another corporate cash-in cover of an adored pop song. Well, I’ll give ‘em points for unintentional Hilary-ity!
[3]



Jojo – Leave (Get Out)
[6.33]


Gavin Mueller: In spite of the delicate plucked guitar, steady beat, and extraneous vocal treatments, this is not a track from KC's R&B-alicious other half. No, this is post-Avril tween pop, but with an urban flavor (she improperly conjugates her verbs). Otherwise, the sentiments are so well-worn Goodwill wouldn't accept them. Of course, aiming for wide crossover appeal necessitates a leveling of actual originality; I'm interested in seeing how far this goes.
[4]

Ian Mathers: All that elevates this over a million other similar songs is the much angrier backing interjections JoJo adds during the chorus (“Leave!” “Why!” and so on). Still, that’s enough of a hint of personality that, combined with the song’s natural hookiness, it’s enough to make “Leave (Get Out)” memorable. And unlike someone like Bow Wow, you wouldn’t necessarily guess that she’s 13 from the delivery.
[7]

Josh Timmermann: I said I thought she was hot. My friend said, "She's, like, thirteen!" I said, "Good song." "Yeah."
[7]

Andrew Unterberger: I know that as a critic, it’s essential that I divorce music from its context. But I simply can’t get over the fact that this song—about Jojo being royally pissed off about her boyfriend cheating on her—is by a thirteen year-old girl. Jesus, is the state of the music industry in such a dire state that they’re marketing teen-angst like this at the very outset of teenage-hood? The song’s not so great apart from that either—standard girl-pop fare without Hillary’s personality or Avril’s charming naivete—but the fact that this girl is already singing anthems of triumphing over evil boy-induced broken hearts is just too disturbing. This song makes me sick to my stomach.
[2]

Kareem Estefan: Quite a voice on this 13-year-old. Solid groove too, aside from the awkward bridge. Marketing problem, though: Jojo’s no Avril, but they’re acting like she is.
[5]

Gabe Gloden: Listen, I can be sultry like Brandi and Beyonce, but I’m also kinda young and pissed off. So, let’s do Babyface for the verse and then let’s slap ‘em like Avril Lavigne on the chorus with a scathing indictment of infidelity. OK. I’m pleased with this, but, then again, I’m a simple man.
[6]



Kanye West – Jesus Walks
[8.16]


Gavin Mueller: Combining religion and militarism always alarms me, but this is more "Battle Hymn of the Republic" than "Onward Christian Soldiers." As might be expected, Kanye's delivery gets old after a while, but the beat delivers—another symphony in a sampler (those "Niggas!" samples particularly tickle my fancy). Kanye's avoids sounding too preachy by actually having a good point; regardless of my own personal convictions, I do wonder at the apparent secularism of hip-hop radio in the face of a highly religious audience. Beware Kanye; soon your Jesus will just be another 24-inch rim or iced-out anklet—an accessory.
[7]

Ian Mathers: Quasi-paranoid fear of the devil + more humility than normal + that awesome snakecharmer horn + “To the victims of Welfare for we living in hell here, hell yeah” + “Je-sus walks withmewithme” + Happy Gilmore reference + West actually sounding involved = Kanye, you’re forgiven for the Brandy single.
[9]

Josh Timmermann: As an atheist, should I feel weird about singing enthusiastically along to, "God show me the way because the Devil's tryin' to break me down"? Frankly, I don't care. When a song sounds this ridiculously hot, dude can rhyme about Jesus Christ, Regis & Kathy Lee (he does that, too), or Antiques Roadshow (he fails to mention this, unfortunately). I'm vaguely curious what Mel Gibson thinks of the track. He could've totally saved (no pun intended) The Passion of the Christ had he played it over the closing credits.
[9]

Andrew Unterberger: Gusty move for Kanye to release this song as a single, given that he spends a whole verse rapping about how the song would never get played. Apparently he was wrong, as the song’s already in the top 25—bravo to the American public to allow a complex, religion-themed, uncommercial sounding single such commercial success. It’s not really one of my favorites of his—the song is poorly structured beat and has a good deal of flat rhymes. But really, even the worst song on College Dropout would still be refreshing to hear on radio.
[7]

Kareem Estefan: The urgency and near-despair in Kanye’s voice as he intones “I wanna talk to God but I’m afraid ‘cause we ain’t spoke in so long” is more affecting than anything in the mainstream this year, but the tangents, from the social commentary in the intro to the attack on hip-hop credibility near the end, almost ruin this ode to Christ. Still, boasting some of the most powerful production on this planet and a number of truly heart-rending lines, “Jesus Walks” stands as one of the best singles of the year.
[9]

Gabe Gloden: You can visualize the ominous army of Jesus followers marching in cadence to the snares as Kanye makes his case for spirituality without preaching to the choir or alienating listeners with an attempt to proselytize. I can’t wait to hear the DJ cue this one up in between Juvenile and Hilary Duff.
[8]



Muse – Time Is Running Out
[4.66]


Gavin Mueller: Bringing sexiness back to goth (whereas Evanescence has castrated it into fat-girl unrequited love), it's muse! Or is it bringing goth back to sexiness? Passable, and a far cry better than most major label alt-rock, as specious as that compliment sounds.
[6]

Ian Mathers: I’m with William Swygart on this one: Muse might be half decent if they weren’t so utterly predictable. Any particular moment of this sub-Coldplay post-Bends rock is instantly identifiable as Muse if you’ve heard them before. Barely tolerable even in a sub-four minute burst.
[3]

Josh Timmermann: If Garbage had a guy singer and were terrible, they'd probably sound something like this, I'd imagine.
[0]

Andrew Unterberger: More and more I am starting to believe that just about anything is possible on modern rock radio these days. The latest in a long line of unlikely commercial successes this year—which now includes Morrissey, Jet, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Modest Mouse, Franz Ferdinand and Bumblebeez 81, for those of you keeping score at home—Muse’s “Time is Running Out” is a catchy number that yeah, sorta sounds like Radiohead, but not so much so that it ruins the fun of the song. Enjoy the success while it lasts, my gloomy NME-sponsored friends.
[7]

Kareem Estefan: Begins surprisingly similar to Bonsai Superstar-era Brainiac, and ends unsurprisingly similar to Bends-era Radiohead. I would call this a surprise hit if rock radio weren’t already filled with emo and nu-metal. Muse has talent, though, and this is a highly addictive single, even if an album full of such wankery would be totally unbearable.
[7]

Gabe Gloden: There is a very good reason people listen to Muse. After Radiohead abandoned those jangly guitars and histrionic vocalizations, Muse picked up what was left of that devoted sub-sect of fans who still hold The Bends up as their finest achievement. Now into their third rewrite of that classic album, Muse obviously don’t mind if they spend the remainder of their career as Radiohead knockoffs. Which would be excusable if this song matched the quality of a “Just” or a “Sulk”, but, sadly, it does not.
[5]



Juvenile feat. Soulja Slim – Slow Motion
[4.6]


Gavin Mueller: Nothing beats vintage Cash Money Juve (circa 1999), certainly not this flagrant appeal for the slow jam market. Juvenile doesn't just sound uninspired, he sounds unconscious—none of the marble-mouthed cleverness that made his previous hits instant classics. Did he lose the flats? I've never heard him enunciate so well, and that's not a good thing with lyrics like "No one can do you better than I can do." Juve himself admitted that this album is a response to copious overspending, and it sounds like it. Check out "Nolia Cap," the single off his "street" album with the UTP Playas, for something that reminds you of why Juvenile had money in the first place.
[3]

Ian Mathers: Is it possible to feel revulsion for a song and yet not stop playing it?
[6]

Josh Timmermann: The loop on this is effortlessly lovely. It's bounce-able, but not quite bump-able, and that's kind of a problem. As with so many of his contemporaries, Ass is Juveniles's great muse. (Marlon Wayans, regrettably, beat him to describing a woman's rear as "literary" in the Coen brothers' Ladykillers remake.) Slow jamz are fine and good, sure, but they don't make too many butts shake.
[6]

Andrew Unterberger: This song has worked its laconic charms on me. Dumb fucking chorus and mediocre verses, but the beat rolls down the street like a Cadillac at 20 MPH on a Sunday morning. Chill.
[6]

Kareem Estefan: The music’s not bad, so if you can get past the lyrics, this song is all right. I can’t, though, especially when Juvenile claims you must have heard about them hoes that I beat up in my home / They wasn’t telling the truth baby you know they was wrong and decides his denial is convincing enough to ask the girl to make it official and drink some of that Dom.
[2]

Gabe Gloden: I don’t know if I really feel like hearing another song where the guy tries to sound like he’s coming throughout its entirety. Maybe I’m not feeling sexy, but “Ugh! I like it like that! Slow motion for me, slow motion for me” is just not doing it for me. I am looking forward, however, to seeing some drunk guy at the club contort his face, singing along to this as he grinds his package into the backside of an indifferent partner. That’s always funny.
[5]





Los Lonely Boys – Heaven
[4]


Gavin Mueller: It's like more authentic Sublime. No thanks.
[4]

Ian Mathers: It’s not actually bad, just terribly unexciting. The refrain bugs the shit out of me (something about the delivery) but I can see how it might sound good to some played on a porch or in a car during the summer. But there is no room in my heart for this kind of MOR quasi-balladry, so don’t look for it on my porch.
[3]

Josh Timmermann: How I feel about this song depends entirely on the song that precedes it on the radio. If it comes on after, say, Hoobastank or Switchfoot, then I'm, like, 'Gee, this is nice enough'; after, I don't know, that Christina Milian song or "Dirt off Your Shoulder," it sounds pretty dull.
[4]

Andrew Unterberger: Ooooh, that opening riff. It’s like the sound of tequila hitting ice on the bottom of a crystal-clear glass. The rest of the song is OK too—adult-contemporary pleasantness with exotic flavor—but it’s that guitar line that gives the song any sort of crossover potential. I never guessed the only song to rival “Take Me Out”’s blessed guitar hook for riff of the year would come from a song like this.
[7]

Kareem Estefan: From the hilariously cheesy guitar riffing to the struggling-but-still-optimistic tone, Los Lonely Boys exude a hackneyed sincerity that is just as easy to mock as it is difficult to reprehend. Sure, they call this a “crazy world”, but it’s from the heart, so it doesn’t matter that it’s cliched, right? I don’t know, but I’m betting that my high school principal is listening to this right now.
[1]

Gabe Gloden: Vamanos! To the land of the latino Eric Clapton fans!
[5]



By: US Stylus Staff
Published on: 2004-06-10
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