Saturday, July 25, 2009

Rose-coloured Reviews the summer dance hits

Once upon a time, I was sort of the the target demographic for the New Kids on the Block v. 1.0, when the first step was "have lots of fun" and no one cared that there weren't really any other steps--because it was silly spun-sugar fun, that's why. Those were decidedly *not* the days--I was peer-pressured into spending my limited funds on magazines that had centrefolds and almost no text (it was tween porn!)--but, well, c'mon, "Hangin' Tough" may not have been a good song but it was a *fun* song, especially if you were 11.

And then the New Kids on the Block v 2.0 released the worst song ever written. Seriously, "Dirty Dancing"? That's a movie--any chance of those words meaning anything else to the target demographic v 2.0 of young nostalgia-lovin' females is limited at best. And the homage-lines in the song don't really make the connection clear to me:

Ooo, it's so crazy
She's like, "Baby!"
I'm like Swayze.

Even if you were like Swayze, and I'm not entering that fray (I didn't like that movie very much and only saw it once; go ahead and excommunicate me from the sisterhood of young nostalgia-lovin' females), that's a pretty weak allusion.

Ok, nevermind about the purity of Baby and the gang--this song still sucks. There's barely any build to the purely electronic, extremely repetitious music (can you still it an ostinado if it's an electronic loop?). You can totally see that this was designed for the late nights in the club; it basically sounds like a slow grind for closing time. And the lyrics really play to that "desperate drunk female" demographic, who could possibly construe

with her pretty lips
"and her big old hips
and her pretty eyes
and her big old thighs"

as romantic sweettalk. Damn straight, "forget about romancin'."

Oh, and did I mention that this song about a guy getting with someone at a club while his

girl is at home
she's been blowing me up on my phone
but I can shower when I get home
because tonight I'm dirty dancing.

I hate this song more with every rotation of the earth. And who in NKOTB has a Hispanic accent, anyway?

FloRiDa (and Kesha) have adapted Dead or Alive's decidedly Eighties dance-club who's-zoomin'-who love story, Right Round into a decidedly Aughts strip-club who's-for-sale love storyby the same title. Yep, the narrative here is the tale of a young gentleman trying to seduce (I think) a pole-dancer by giving her lots of money (which isn't exactly seduction, but...)

And yet...I sorta like this song. Ok, no *major* points for respecting women, but Kesha gets to sing the chorus too, which is, to me, a slightly witty update on the Dead or Live lyric, "You spin me right round baby right round like a record baby right." I think DoL's metaphor was pretty straightforward, and people (ok, people like me) are so familiar with those words that it takes a minute to get the wrinkle in FloRiDa's update: "You spin my head right round (right round) when you go down (when you go down down)." You have to think about that one--not hard, I admit, but this a second when you don't see it, and then you do and that's good for a smile.

So, the fact that Kesha gets equal opportunities to sing the wink-nudge chorus is not really this the best argument for this song. But it is catchy (thank you yet again, 1980s), and the catchy semi-clever chorus is contrast with the fast, rat-a-tat rhymes (though said rhymes are not especially clever, they sound good when rapped fast:
She's amazin'
her fire blazin'
hotter than Cajun
Girl, why don't you move a lil closer?
It's time to get paid
it's maximum wage
that body belongs on a poster"

And it's totally dancable, in an upbeat, only slightly sexy way.... I've come to the conclusion, writing this review, that it's embarrassing that I like this song, but I do. I'll probably have forgotten it by September, which is likely best for us all.

I Gotta Feeling by the Black-Eyed Peas suceeds on all the necessary fun-club-tune metrics: extremely simple concept, hummable chorus, solid thumping beat, sense of—if not humour—at least fun.

"I got a feeling that tonight's gonna be a good night" is the nicest thing in the world to hear when someone grabs your hand and pulls you out the door. And though I lost count of how many times that line is repeated in this song, it never (really) loses its charm. Maybe because it starts out being sung by just one guy, but eventually all the Peas (I have no idea how many there are) start singing in unision, with one or another occasionally breaking away, culminating in this charming call-and-response in the bridge:

Tonight's the night (hey!)
Let's live it up (let's live it up!)
I got my money (paid!)
Let's spend it up (let's spend it up!)
Go out and smash it (smash it!)
Like oh my god (like oh my god!)
Jump off that sofa (c'mon!)
Let's kick it
Fill up my cup (drank!)
Mazel-tov (l'chaim!)
Look at her dancing (move it move it!)
Just take it off!
Let's paint the town (paint the town!)
We'll shut it down (shut it down!)
We'll burn the roof (whooo!)
And then we'll do it again...

Ok, it's no Emily Dickinson, but I find it witty (ahaha, "l'chaim" for drank--at last!) and so friendly with all the voices weaving in and out. Ok, "take it off"--not totally PC, but considering how buried the line is, I'm willing to ignore it.

But really, that's not how one should evaluate a dance hit! This song is fun because it's *simple*--easy-cute devices like listing the days of the week with Saturday twice, suddenly accelerating the tempo, and making the whole thing seem like an invitation to the listener--"Let's paint the town!" "I Gotta Feeling" is my favourite dance hit of the summer so far, and even the fact that Fergie goes to a club in a bikini in the video can't make me feel back about this one.

Rose-coloured reviews will not be addressing the "shorty fire on the dancefloor," and we are very disappointed in you, Sean Kingston.

And then we'll do it again

PS--I really like transcribing song-lyrics (I think it makes me more sensitive to vocal nuance, blah blah blah) and did all these myself instead of looking them up. Feel free to call me on it if I got anything wrong.


DonnieStalker said...

It sounds like you just hate NKOTB just to hate. They're back after 15 years for a reason right?

AMT said...

er, no, it sounds like you just hate this song of NKOTB because it is hate-worthy.

saleema said...

Okay, I'm going to go look up that Black-Eyed Peas song! Not least because I've suddenly had Umbrella by Rihanna (hello, summer 2007) in my head for the past two days...

Rebecca Rosenblum said...

Oh, "'ella, 'ella, 'ella"--now that's a classic! Hope you enjoy the Peas, Saleema!