Friday, August 31, 2012

Hit Song Review: "Good Time" by Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen

            In “Good Time,” Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen declare “we don’t even have to try,” and then proceed to prove it. Owl City are probably best-known for their hit single “Fireflies” from 2009, which was a decent (or at least pleasantly mellow) song. As for Carly Rae Jepsen, she is responsible for “Call Me Maybe,” an inoffensive puff of cotton candy mediocrity that the nation has apparently clutched to its easily-impressed bosom.

            But at least Carly Rae has the virtue of consistency. Like “Call Me Maybe,” “Good Time” is bright and catchy but indistinguishable from the legions of other bright and catchy songs on the market right now. Lyrically, the song is more or less “Glad You Came” but without the advantage of being buoyed up by an interesting arrangement. Into this mix Carly Rae intermittently injects a wailing “Whaoaoh.” Is it just me, or does it sound eerily familiar?

           Oh dear god, a second-rate pop act has ripped off Katy Perry—we have hit the unoriginality singularity.

            Let’s talk about plagiarism. In music, it is a necessity, the only question being who best to steal from. Say what you like of Andrew Lloyd Weber (and who doesn’t) but at least when he steals, he steals from great composers. Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen, on the other hand, decided to steal from Katy Perry’s least tolerable hit until “Part Of Me” hit the charts, but that’s for another day.

            So congratulations, Owl City, you’ve won first place in the great generic sweepstakes. Your prize is to get punched in the face so hard you’ll have to change your name to Ow City.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Great Songs in Okay Shows: "Grandma's Song" from Billy Elliot

            It was said of Gary Cooper that you could never catch him acting on set, that only on film did his performances spring to life. Billy Elliot is a show in a similar vein. On record, it isn’t a particularly special score. Between disappointingly conventional melodies and frequently clumsy lyrics, the songs depend entirely on powerful staging and choreography to bring them to life. The result is a show that is a good bit of fun to watch, but not much fun to listen to, with one exception; “Grandma’s Song” is the number I keep returning to even after all the other songs have worn out their charm.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Pop Song Limericks 8/17/2012

Some poetry this week, a series of limericks about the current top ten songs on the Billboard Hot 100. Why? Who knows...

1. Whistle by Flo Rida

As subtle as sci-fi Jane Fonda,
Flo’s song has still proved a golconda.
And although it’s not earned,
It’s still nice that he’s learned
The art of the single entendre.

2. Lights by Ellie Goulding

A song without deafening drumming,
But that still leaves the listener humming?
Oh, never before
Has this yank been more
Glad to say, “the British are coming!”

3. Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen

It’s had more than its share of success,
And yet stays in the charts nonetheless.
But you’ll find nothing’s there
But a wisp of hot air,
It seems we’re not hard to impress.

4. Wide Awake by Katy Perry

Though once she had hits in her hat,
These days it just tends to fall flat.
You could bear the buffoon
With a hummable tune,
Now she doesn’t even have that.

5. Payphone by Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa

Now, “Payphone,” inept as it is,
Has more whining than all of Les Mis,
And it all goes to pot
When we reach the guest spot,
An incongruous rap verse from Wiz.

6. Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye ft. Kimbra

In springtime it won all our hearts
With its mix of emotion and smarts.
It got played too much,
But it’s still great, as such
I’m happy it stays in the charts

7. Titanium by David Guetta ft. Sia

With music so thoroughly canned,
No surprise that it’s by Guetta’s hand.
But I’ll say this for it:
It’s been months since a hit
Has been quite so terribly bland.

8. Some Nights by fun.

Some thought fun.’s first hit was a gem,
But it was less flower than stem.
“Some Nights” is well-sung,
But unlike “We Are Young,”
This one sounds much more like them.

9. Home by Phillip Phillips

Now it’s been used as a theme
For the U.S.A. gymnastics team.
So the song’s won the day,
But the huge overplay
May dash Phillips’ Olympic dream.

10. Where Have You Been by Rihanna

Though in the past she’s been admired,
This hit leaves much to be desired.
Thing is, it’s no fun,
And you ask what they’ve done
To make her sound so uninspired.