Review: Train – Drive By

Nothing at all weird about appropriating a term for a shooting someone with a gun – potentially killing them – to your weird, vineyard-centric romantic conquest. Nothing weird about that at all. Oh, Train. There are so many things heinously wrong about you I don’t know where to start. So let’s start at the beginning.

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Review: Madonna – Give Me All Your Luvin’ (feat. M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj)

Madonna is back, everyone! This is a good thing. The pop music landscape needs a (stalwart other than Kylie Minogue) to whip these uppity little bitches into shape, and who better to do so than The Queen of Pop? Okay, well, who is more likely to do so? No one, really. As much as I would love for Bonnie Tyler to collaborate with Kanye and break back into the mainstream, I don’t see that happening any time soon (but seriously, has no rapper sampled Total Eclipse of the Heart yet?!).

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Review: Bruno Mars – It Will Rain

Are we nearing the end of Bruno Mars’ whining spree yet? Between this new single It Will Rain and Grenade, the title of the World Biggest Pussy is pretty well and truly secured by Mars. This song is basically a soap opera break up distilled into song form. This guy’s popularity is really puzzling to me. He’s so vanilla. He’s basically if Jason Mraz were a bit ethnic and filled with sadness.

I mean, yes, he had those upbeat songs (The Lazy Song) but it’s clear that, now that this is a big hit and Grenade was before it, Mars’ signature style will be that of the heartbroken balladeer. But this is kitchen sink heartbreak. This isn’t the quiet, lovelorn subtlety of Bon Iver’s first album. It’s not the brooding intensity of The National. It’s not the slightly angsty, heartbreaking beauty of The Rural Alberta Advantage. I mean, you just have to look at the lyrics:

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Review: One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful

So it’s come to this: boy band revivalism.

Pretty much everything nowadays is about revivalism. Countless 80s films being remade, this mid-90s-esque obsession with club-oriented pop songs, everything Madonna did being copied by every pop star ad infinitum…the list goes on. Now, admittedly, the strength of this particular wave is not yet known. It’s been about 15 years since boy bands peaked, and 10 since they subsequently flamed out (obviously I’m speaking about the iteration of boy bands most relevant to pop music now, and therefore not including the early ‘boy bands’ such as The Beatles, The Monkees, The Jackson 5, etc.). Collectively, there are some fantastic pop songs between the likes of The Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC, New Kids On The Block, Boyz II Men, and so on. But do we really need the trend to roll around again?

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Review: Hot Chelle Rae – Tonight Tonight

You know, I’m all for nostalgia, but songs that remind me of 2007 are just a bit much. All the pop stars sound of the same ilk, because they’re all making the same kind of music that’s the ‘in’ thing right now. These kinds of pop rock bands are different, however. Where that Maroon 5 song has succeeded, Hot Chelle Rae fails. In fact, they pretty much set themselves up to fail when they chose that heinous name.

The song, Tonight Tonight, peaked at 7 on the Billboard charts, and currently sits at 11 in Australia after peaking at 7 here too. The band’s Wikipedia page informs me that their long, illustrious career has spanned from 2005 to now, which is remarkable, because they all look like they’re 17 years old. It also informs me that they have such creative talent that they came up with their horrid name like thus:

Hot Chelle Rae began in 2005, with a meeting between singer-songwriter Ryan (RK) and guitarist Nash. The band is named for the first “dedicated” fan, Chelle Rae, a MySpace stalker who provided the band with quite an entertaining era of online activity until her false identity was discovered and brought to light.

Frankly, I would never have fallen for such a ruse because I flatly refuse to believe anyone on this planet is named Chelle Rae, or at least, that anyone named that is even remotely attractive.

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Review: Rihanna – Cheers (Drink to That)

I’ve never made it a secret that I’m no fan of Rihanna’s. She’s just Caribbean Katy Perry, except with more abuse and probably less role-modelling, somehow. ‘Cheers (Drink to That)’ is her seventh (!) single from her last album, Loud, proving that the album is not dead, it has simply been reborn as a collection of songs that will all eventually be released as singles for the sake of shameless money-grabbing.

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