Monday, March 26, 2007

Ten Songs Fuse Thinks You Should Know

When you're sick, you do weird things. When it's your fifth day being sick, and no sign of any of the conditions letting up, you do even weirder things. Today, I spent Monday morning watching Fuse. For all those that don't know, Fuse is the music channel that used to be called MuchMusic, but was taken over by some other Canadian music like network and turned into Fuse. They pride themselves on being a different music channel than the likes of MTV or VH1, and claim that they actually show good music videos. I guess they mean in between reruns of "Pants-Off Dance-Off." Anyway, since graduating and leaving the Chronicle, I've kind of lost track of a lot of the new music scene, so I figured I'd tune in a see what the mainstream is ingesting these days. Here are my findings, ten songs Fuse thinks you should know:

Avril Lavigne- "Girlfriend":

Well, her lyrics haven't gotten any better since the last time I actually bothered to listen to them. She's still doing easy rhymes that remind me of a pre-school sing-a-long, or even worse like "Life's Been Good."

Anyway, I can't deny that this song is full of energy. Since she's finally embraced her bubblegum pop status, instead of the "Punk Rocker" image that she was given initially by her record label, she seems to be having a lot more fun doing the music. In the video, she's jumping around, strutting about, and basically, acting like a teenage girl going wild. And even though I'm pretty sure she's 22 and not a teenager anymore, that teenage girl energy is exactly what her music needed. It helps this song greatly.

And I might regret saying this, but the song's hook of "Hey (hey) You (you) I don't like your girlfriend" is decently catchy. I can't honestly recommend the song for people who want good pop music, but if she keeps this energy up, maybe in the future Avril will doing something that I won't be able to find fault in.

Mims- "This Is Why I'm Hot":

Now this is just complete trash. It's every rap cliché from the 90s thrown into one song, and it sounds like what happens when Pharrell falls asleep on his synthesizer. The pointless sample of "Jesus Walks" just made me hate this song even more, because how I interpret it, it implies that he's calling himself the savior of New York hip-hop. Either that, or he's trying to ride Kanye's coat tails. That's all this song does really: ride every past New York rapper's coat tails. ( I know Kanye's from Georgia). This song is what happens when someone thinks they understand a genre, and tries to imitate it by just grabbing the surface images, and forgets what was truly behind them.

Christina Aguilera- "Candyman":

Maybe I held her to too high a standard after the aural pleasure of "Ain't No Other Man", cause as much as I wanna like "Candyman", I just don't think it's that great. Yes, she does the Andrews Sisters vocal jazz style perfectly, but when I hear it, I can't help but think it's just filler. I mean, it's not bad, not by any means, and her "Back To Basics" albums (at least what I've heard from it) I've enjoyed more than I can say I've ever enjoyed anything she's done previously. I don't know, maybe I'm just being too hard on her. I should be giving her credit for holding out that note at the end of the song and NOT bouncing it annoyingly like she always does. I should also give her credit for the video. It's just a perfect counterpiece to the song, style, imagery and everything. I think she may have her eras mixed up though…that scene where she's in that pink dress dancing the jitterbug with those G.I.s and looking the happiest she is in the whole video? That's more fifties than forties, but minor error.

Diddy featuring Keyshia Cole- "Last Night":

No real surprise here. Nothing that amazing by any means…in all honesty, it was just a boring piece of music. Diddy's vocals in the chorus are kinda interesting, but past that, the song lags for too long just reiterating the same boring structure. It's like he dragged the length of the song out just so he could finish the plot in the video. Not recommended.

Pink- "U + UR Hand":

I've never liked Pink, but I've been waiting for her to make a musical resurgence, open to see if her songs have gone up in quality. Unfortunately, this is exactly the same Pink of old, and just like exactly the same Pink of old, the song is completely harmless, but also completely forgettable. There's nothing memorable about anything in this song at all. It's Pink by-the-numbers. Even right after the song ended, I had already forgotten how the melody went or what the song was even about. Not recommended.

Gym Class Heroes- "Cupid's Chokehold":

The use of Supertramp's "Breakfast In America" gave me the impression that I wasn't going to like the song initially. Thankfully, I was wrong there. The sample is used well, the tune (a variation of "Breakfast") is also done well. Add to that some pretty good lyrics, and a really funny video. My favorite lyric here: "If I had to choose between her or the sun, I'd be one nocturnal son-of-a-gun." The a capella stuck in the middle of the song for about three seconds (I don't mean the free style), was a nice little addition that pushed this song onto my favorite songs of the year so far list. Definitely recommended.

Beyonce- "Irreplaceable":

This is a case where the video adds another layer to the song. No, not in plot, the lyrics match up with the plot of the video quite fine, it's more like the meaning. In the first half of the video, Beyonce acts all smug, and holier-than-thou, kicking her boyfriend out of the house, straddling the car she just told him was hers and evilly seducing him again, all just to get the shirt off his back. If you just watch the first half of the video, you can't help but think "Beyonce is a huge bitch!" The diva dress-up scenes that follow it immediately don't help that image, as they just complete the theory that her old boyfriend is probably better off without having to deal with someone that diabolical. He's gone for 10 minutes and already she's getting all pretty for his replacement. Now this is all fine and good, it's a simple "you did something wrong, I'm kicking you out, you're not irreplaceable" meaning…but then Beyonce takes it a step in a different direction.

The second half of the video forms around what might at first seem like a big lesbian jam, but turns into instead a powerful statement about feminism. Beyonce is seen smiling, bouncing around, dancing and of course singing with her all female back-up band. The diva dress-up we just saw wasn't to go meet another guy, it was to look good for her all-girls jam session. In other words, women don't need guys to be happy, all they need is a bunch of other women playing instruments.

Of course the final scene in the video, which shows Beyonce opening her door to a new man, negates all this but I guess it can't all be perfect. Highly recommended.

Akon- "Don't Matter":

This is a nice smooth reggae song, that, yes maybe a little indebted to the past maste—hey! Wait a minute! That verse…I've heard that melody before. It sounds so familiar….Oh My God, it's R. Kelly! It's "Ignition (Remix)." Instead of the "nobody wanna see us together/nobody thought we'd last forever" at the 1:13 mark sing "It's the remix to Ignition/Hot and Fresh Out the Kitchen…" It's the same song!

Well, that took me out of the song, but I guess I can look past it. What made me enjoy the song though was the complete breakdown into the driving drumbeat around 3:12 and the instrumentation that followed it. I'll recommend the song, but beware of it's sampling.

Justin Timberlake- "What Goes Around…Comes Around":

Very nice song. Not the best Justin Timberlake's ever done, but a nice song still. The video is epic, at 9 minutes in length it tells a story of love, and deceit and jealously and insanity. Plus, Scarlett Johansson gives a much better performance here than she did in "The Island".

Daughtry- "It's Not Over":

I had heard this song before, and I thought it was Nickelback. The fact that it sounds this bad and isn't Nickelback, but instead one of their neo-grunge copycat cohorts makes it even worse. We didn't need another radio-rock Xeroxed band again, and we especially didn't need another "Psuedo-Political/Social Commentary" video where there's a happy ending amidst all the problems, showing that through the bad times the good always pulls through. This is why I hate watching channels like this.

Alright, so I guess that was a mixed group. True, a bunch of these songs I had heard previous to this (I have the Beyonce and Timberlake songs on my itunes), but watching the video with them gives in a completely difference feel. Maybe I'll do this again soon. It feels good to analyze music again. Hope you enjoyed this.

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