Jul 24, 2014
4 notes

Drake’s Opening Lines on So Far Gone

  1. "I’m tryna do it all tonight" ("Lust For Life")
  2. "Hey there, pretty girl" ("Houstalantavegas")
  3. "Aw, yeah, Trey, I fuckin’ feel ya" (followed by "They be starin’ at the money like it’s unfamiliar") ("Successful")
  4. "Uh, when did it get like this?" ("Let’s Call it Off")
  5. "I’m so high even when I’m comin’ down" ("November 18th")
  6. "Look, I’m the property of October" ("Ignant Shit (Freestyle)")
  7. "Spendin’ every minute in the studio" ("A Night Off")
  8. "Why do I feel so alone?" ("Say What’s Real")
  9. "And basically, to see a change in me, I’d be losin’ / So I just ignore you" (first original line) ("A Little Bit")
  10. "Baby, you my everything, you all I ever wanted" ("Best I Ever Had")
  11. "My name is Drizzy, and I ain’t perfect" ("Unstoppable")
  12. "Uh, hardly home, but always reppin’" ("Uptown")
  13. "I forgot to call you on your birthday" ("Sooner Than Later")
  14. "I’m aware that we just met" ("Bria’s Interlude")
  15. "I’m just so far gone" ("The Calm")
  16. "This here is on some truthful shit" ("Brand New")
  17. "Uh, black hearts on my cardigan" ("Congratulations")

This was inspired by me thinking about how great that opening “Uptown” line is and wondering if the rest of So Far Gone started as brilliantly. Not so much.

Jul 16, 2014
1 note

The YouTube channel description for the bunch that made the currently viral “tipping fast food workers” video:

Simple Pickup is designed to prove that any guy can attract women. We’ll use pickup lines to get phone numbers, answer your questions, and interview hot girls to get their perspective on everything from dating to sex.

The revolution will be Upworthied.

Jul 1, 2014
2 notes
May 30, 2014
11 notes

I kinda wanna make a summer mix. Would you like a summer mix?

May 27, 2014
1 note
One of my new favorite things. (Well, not “favorite,” but.)

One of my new favorite things. (Well, not “favorite,” but.)

Apr 25, 2014
5 notes
I tour the whole world like a dirty pirate
To give the whole club some Miley Cyrus
will.i.am, who definitely does not realize that this makes Miley Cyrus sound like a sexually transmitted disease
Mar 17, 2014
1 note

"We Ready," Archie Eversole feat. Bubba Sparxxx (prod. by Break Bread Productions?) (Ride Wit Me Dirty South Style, MCA, 2002)

It’s the best pregame song of all time, maybe because it was made in 2002 by an 18-year-old who would wear a Michael Vick jersey and dance terribly in a junkyard for a video. It’s from a guy who basically doesn’t have an Internet profile, even though he does have a verified Twitter account. It features pre-fame Bubba Sparxxx making Eversole’s awkward dancing look like a Gregory Hines routine. It is aural adrenaline.

Feb 17, 2014
16 notes

"#SELFIE," The Chainsmokers (prod. by The Chainsmokers) (Dim Mak, 2014)

So I think this is going to be the first Hot 100 No. 1 in history to begin with a hashtag.

As music goes, it’s the sort of perfectly forgettable, semi-catchy EDM track that blends in with everything else in this particular stratum of radio-ready stuff (that serrated synth/horn is the standout component), but the music is about as far from the point here as it is with BuzzFeed pop like “We Can’t Stop” and "Feelin’ Myself" and … well, that was just going to be a series of Miley songs/features, as we both know, Reader.

This exists to capitalize on the trend it is named after and satirize it (GO FUCK YOUR #SELFIE shirts all over the video; the duckiest of faces on the lead in the thumbnail), for the benefit of those who will “sing” it — Did I mention the vocal is spoken word? It is, because of course it is, and it’s in a Kardashianesque inflection — with sincerity, and for those who will see this as LCD Soundsystem but, um, younger. The former cohort says lol fake models are soooo ratchet and the latter says Look! Someone has made fun of white girls calling people “ratchet” and The Chainsmokers — a “New York City based disc jockey producer duo” that is signed to 4 AM, not just Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak, has a Wikipedia page that reads like they wrote it, and has a name that sounds a lot like fellow DJ/producer duo Jump Smokers — get spins either way.

I have heard this twice on the radio in the last three days, and am sorry to report that it kind of goes in a car, so it will assuredly go in a club; it is under one million YouTube views right now, and relatively undercovered (this is about it for major write-ups when you Google “#SELFIE song,” thank goodness), but that won’t last. It’s got a video that you will send to someone and your local high schools’ students will send to their group texts, and that video has a brilliant "Didn’t see your #SELFIE? Click here to replay!" prompt that instantly restarts the video and reinforces the idea that this conversation with one’s self(ie) is a nightly thing. A video-as-conversation piece is probably the most important part of a song pitched as a hit from an unknown group in 2014, with streams tallied as spins and Mashable posts as marketing: This is one, surely.

"#SELFIE" is smart, so smart that it will be mistaken for dumb. While I respect that, I don’t have to like it.

Nov 21, 2013
2 notes

How should we react to Jameis Winston's investigation for alleged rape?

I wrote about the accusation that Jameis Winston raped someone, and how we should take it as a challenge to be better than the lowest common denominator.

Nov 5, 2013
6 notes

"Timber," Pitbull feat. Ke$ha (prod. by Dr. Luke, Cirkut, Sermstyle) (Global Warming: Meltdown and Meltdown, Mr. 305/Polo Grounds/RCA, 2013)

Man, that single art is terrible.

I don’t know how it took this long for Pit to get a) a Dr. Luke beat or b) a Ke$ha hook, given that they’re both RCA artists (think of Eminem being dragooned for B.o.B and T.I., or Rihanna for Eminem, none of whom share labels), but I’m glad it happened.

The harmonica melody is great and distinctive from the rest of the EDM clusterfuck, and it’s a very good choice to have the hook match it. Kesha Rose Sebert is doing some of what she does best as a singer here, going up and down and supplying the necessary vocal fry-ish stuff. And “It’s goin’ down / I’m yellin’ timberrrrrr” is a great lyric, full stop.

About the only problems I have with this are with how short it is (3:26 for two short verses and three hook? Why not 3:45 with a bridge? 4:00 with a Ke$ha verse?), and that brevity serves it well on the radio, where only “Royals” (3:21) and “Hold On, We’re Going Home” are well under the four-minute mark among top-five Hot 100 songs. (“Roar” and “Wake Me Up” are a little over four minutes long, “Wrecking Ball” is a little under it, and feels much longer, as it’s a ballad. ”Hold On” checks in at 3:32 but feels much longer, as does the slower-tempo “Royals,” but anything would feel fast compared to the ponderously plodding No. 6, “Holy Grail,” which goes about five minutes even if DJs cut it off early or talk over the intro.)

If this also presages Ke$ha getting a Pitbull feature in return, I’m even more happy it exists.

Oct 13, 2013
46 notes


25 Reasons why “Right By My Side” is one of the best, most underrated Nicki Minaj songs: 

  1. She provides the rap interlude to her own song. For lady artists, that’s normally a role reserved for a dude but she does it herself.
  2. And better than any dude would have done if we’re being honest.
  3. It’s not even like her singing vocal is bad either. In fact, it’s really good! Nicki can do it all, I swear.
  4. The intro beat is subtlely comprised of a vocal.
  5. "You own my heart; he’s just renting" is the type of love that spans decades, y’all.
  6. The woah oh ohhhh ohs in the chorus.
  7. Chris Brown is not the worst here. 
  8. Honestly though, he’s so replaceable. The part he sings could be Ne-yo or Usher. It’s such a nice flip on the gender problem where there are often nameless or replaceable girls singing female bits.
  9. He adds some nice male vocals, but the chorus (the first time around before he comes in with his verse) doesn’t suffer without his harmonies. 
  10. And indeed, Chris Brown is replaced in the music video by Nas. He’s not even allowed to be the love interest!
  11. I wonder if this is because Nicki respects Rihanna, and that makes me happy that those two have a weird friendship? Mutual respect?
  12. Speaking of, Nas as love interest
  13. Can you imagine how that pitch meeting went? “Hey Nas, we need you to play the love interest in a Nicki Minaj video where Chris Brown is on it but we don’t want Chris Brown as the love interest.” “Uhhhh, okay?”
  14. The main beat is comprised of a raindrop pop that can be found on “Beez in the Trap”. Continuity
  15. And that raindrop pop comes to the forefront during part two of the rap interlude!
  16. "It’s not your spit game; it’s your dick game" — can always trust  Nicki to be totally honest here
  17. The parallel structure of the line “I be tripping, I be flipping, I be so belligerent”.
  18. The fact that the line ends with “belligerent” is such a pleasant curveball.
  19. Fighting only when the Lakers on sounds pretty great. Arguing about basketball sounds great. 
  20. Plus the fact that they fight means that he’s not being a condescending jag about he fact that she’s a lady who loves basketball.
  21. I hope that Nicki never backs down from the stutter effect at the beginning of lines found here in “w-w-w-wait, damn there I go again”.
  22. The fact that Nicki is still doing rap hands even while singing because Nicki Minaj is a rapper, duh.
  23. The woah oh ohhhh ohs in the outro. 
  24. The placement of this song on Roman Reloaded is between “the rap songs” and “the pop songs”, and I can’t think of any better way to think of it as bridging that divide between the two sides of Nicki.
  25. If “Super Bass” is the perfect uptempo song that navigates the space between the masculine and feminine that Nicki loves to play with, this is the downtempo one that is always overlooked.
Oct 10, 2013
8 notes

One of the reasons I believe deeply in socialism is that it would obviate the need for mothers to call their children and worry about them not having jobs.

Oct 9, 2013
12 notes

"I Luv This Shit," August Alsina feat. Trinidad Jame$ (prod. by Knucklehead) (The Product 2, Def Jam, 2013)

I’ve only heard this twice, both times in radio mixes, but hot damn is it arresting: Alsina’s vocals recall a Trey Songz worried about losing it all (or, as a friend says, “like The-Dream sipped a lot of fucking syrup”) and Mr. Jame$ raps effectively, but the Knucklehead beat is phenomenal, with synths whirling around in the back and the horns (well, “horns”) sounding like triumph and a comedown at the same time. Soft-loud-soft is and will forever be the most satisfying pattern for radio singles, and this follows that formula and zags against R&B that has been significantly brighter and lighter than this all year.

"I Luv This Shit" dropped in January and its video in February, but this was clearly a little too autumnal to impact in the summer as Def Jam might have wanted. Still, it’s good enough to have a second life: It’s No. 8 on R&B Songs and No. 66 on the Hot 100 this week, both peaks.

Oct 1, 2013
3 notes

"Hell & Back," Kid Ink (prod. by Ned Cameron) (Up & Away, The Alumni Music Group, 2012)

I like a Kid Ink song (well, I like the production, and most of the lyric on the hook, even if the delivery here is so casual that it reads as bored), and it is mostly Tavon Austin’s fault. The squished, faraway synths and the patience of everything in the production are nice. Ned Cameron is the most boring rap producer name in a minute.

Oct 1, 2013
6 notes

"Love More," Chris Brown feat. Nicki Minaj (prod. by Freshm3n III) (X, Jive/Zomba/RCA, 2013)

  1. This should be called “Some More” or “Som’ Mo’” or “Love Some More” or “‘Til We Get It Right,” not “Love More,” because that is a terrible title for a song.
  2. I have given up on Chris Brown ever becoming someone I can consider respectable, but he consistently makes music I find compelling over beats I love, something I cannot say for many other active pop musicians. (Other people in this category include his compatriot here, Carly Rae Jepsen, and … well.) “Beautiful People” was a fantastic pop song and should have been a much bigger hit; “Don’t Wake Me Up” was a very good song with an average hook; “Fine China” has an incredibly satisfying bass line and a very good melody, and is probably the closest Brown will ever come to making a great Michael Jackson song; “Beat It,” despite having the worst possible title for a song Chris Brown is on to the mind of anyone but the A&R who thought “THIS WILL MAKE THEM MAD,” has about six different wonderful production elements. As long as he stays near mid-tempo and away from turgid and/or self-righteous stuff like “Don’t Judge Me,” which fits both bills Brown’s music is usually something I really enjoy.
  3. Giving up on Chris Brown ever becoming someone I could find respectable that leaves me in the uncomfortable position of very much liking music made by one of the more radioactive figures among people who critically engage with music. Brown is certainly not unique, as artists whose art’s value or quality trumps their personal appeal, but he seems to me to be one of the first to have this much cultural significance and this much well-founded reason for enmity. The ranks of those who loathe Chris Brown are deep enough for a cottage industry devoted to lambasting him to spring up and the people who are in his corner are so numerous and so easily dismissed as deluded that trolling them is considered by many a legitimate pursuit.
  4. How, then, do we reconcile many more respected people continuing to work with Chris Brown, rather than push to ostracize him from the industry? (Wikipedia gives him 27 credits as a featured artist on singles since 2010, and lists a couple dozen more features on non-singles; his guilty plea in the case of Rihanna’s domestic abuse came in June 2009.) Pitbull, who can pick virtually anyone to be his hook provider, gave him “International Love”; Nicki has put him on her album, and now she’ll be on his; Kendrick Lamar will also be on this album. Rihanna, rightfully seen by many as one of the more empowered and inspiring women in the public eye, reconciled with him both personally and professionally (Brown and Rihanna have been on two songs together since he brutalized her, neither particularly good, one intentionally trolly), to the chagrin of many who had hoped (and still hope) she would deal with the highest-profile domestic abuse case in many, many years in a fashion more … palatable to the high priestesses of American feminism? We can obviously still choose not to forgive Brown, but we do so at a remove, and more and more of the people who actually know him and can choose to collaborate or associate with him are doing that. The four artists mentioned above all seem like people who have agency that would allow them to make other choices, too, so the implicit choice made is support of Brown’s career, even if it does not necessarily translate as unconditional support of Brown.
  5. Brown’s long seemed to be wearing an ill-fitting cloak of fame and shame, but his frustration with fame and the public enmity for him has poisoned the well for those tasked with caring about him to the degree that tweets about quitting music get written up with acidic asides. (I like that “the music industry” has “faced near constant criticism” because it “promoted and booked Brown” in the wake of his arrest in that last piece; which parts of the music industry do you really mean, sir?) Another unique facet of Brown’s life is that virtually every other successful artist who has done something akin to what Brown has done has seen that mistake absolved or mitigated over time; Brown, through some fault of his own, has had it magnified. I see no circumstance that would lead to America forgiving Chris Brown, or forgetting what he did. Many other mistakes, some far graver, have long been forgotten. There are perils of this interconnected, supersaturated age for those who make grave mistakes.
  6. While I can’t really blame those who choose to remember Brown’s misdeeds, remembering them at the expense of ever paying attention to his product strikes me as a bit of a shame. I’d like to talk about the artistic merits of a song that reheats the leftover blips of “T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever,” some of them now overcaffeinated, and marries them to a skittering drumbeat, and features Brown’s ability to deftly switch from verse to hook in half a breath and another marvelous verse from Nicki, who broadsides John Salley’s irrelevance in a hashtag bar, rhymes “W” and “smother you,” and claims to be Django.
  7. But I just wrote many more words about Brown, who I do not like, than his music, which I do. So I understand the problem here.
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