Music Year in Review of 2010 – Part 2
// December 31st, 2010 // Entertainment, Fashion & Design
April through July were insane, crazy, hectic months as we tried to get ready for our big move to California. Those months I was also exposed to some horrible disease called “Bieber Fever”. Luckily, for Drue it was just a passing fever and the rest of us escaped the madness unscathed. However, it would be wrong of me to have a year in review if I don’t include the most annoying song ever (just not of all time). What completely blows me away is not that this kid is Usher’s protégé but that Ludacris is featured on his debut song!!! Since I’ve said time and time again that if it has Ludacris in it, it MUST be good, and without further ado, I start off Part 2 of my 2010 Music Year in Review with “Baby” by that Bieber kid. And no, unfortunately, this is not an April Fools Joke.
With absolute pain comes absolute pleasure and B.O.B. and Hayley Williams delivered the pleasure package of my month with “Airplanes”. The cool thing to note is that the first time these two artists met up was at the rehearsal for the 2010 MTV VMA awards, a year after they recorded the song (separately) and six months after making the music video (separately). The end result, however it was achieved, is pretty fantastic and, while labeled “mopey” by the critics is a pretty accurate portrayal of loneliness that can, and often does, come with success. The dark warehouse, creative lighting, clever simplicity of featuring specific lyrics on the wall behind B.O.B., and swirling psychedelics surrounding – and sometimes overwhelming – Hayley Williams all add to the pathos found in the music. While the video below was not released until June, since I heard the song first in April (while in California road tripping down to Moss Landing), it receives its place of honor in my year in review right here.
May brought about the return of Eminem in a big way with the release of “Not Afraid”, a brutally honest, painful recounting of his drug addiction, his road to recovery and his new life point of view. As much as I loved the old Eminem, the NEW Eminem is better. As much fun as it was listening to Eminem make fun of anything and everything, it was starting to get old. The new Eminem is introspective and I like that. Sure, it’s nice to have Eminem dress up as Robin and drive around with Dr. Dre in the Batmobile and it’s sad that Eminem went through some harrowing times and addiction to get to this point, but it has definitely shaped him as an artist by musically and lyrically and I hope 2011 gives us more of the new Eminem sound.
My big disappointment this month was in Usher. Maybe this is a reflection of the bias and disbelief that Usher is a major player supporting this whole Bieber thing. But I expected a LOT from a song written and produced by will.i.am (you know, one of those Black Eyed Peas) who was prominently featured in the song as well. Maybe it is the liberal use of autotune throughout the entire song, which frankly, I don’t like. It could be all the stadium chanting in the background or maybe it’s the fact that Usher’s voice is lost in all the staccato of the back beat. A definite factor is that the song is named the most annoying and overused combination of three words in the English language… you know… O. M. G. pronounced (at least by my tween and every tween friend she has) as Ohhhhh Emmmmmm GEEEEEE (yeah kind of like Indian butter but without the H part that makes it GHEEEE and not GEEEE). Ahem, anyway. The funny part – and by funny I mean why did you encourage the use of text speak funny you stupid git not hahahaha funniest thing ever funny – is that OMG is not said, sung, autotuned or rapped ONCE in the entire song. Nope, Usher sings and will.i.am raps “oh my gosh” over and over (will.i.am – 3; Usher – 11 for those keeping scores). With over 120 uses of the word “oh” I’ve decided that I am allowed to enjoy Usher and love will.i.am and still apply the term “utter effing disappointment” to this song. Sorry dudes, next time mmk?
Summer brought about our anthem thanks to Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg. How fitting that “California Girls” was released the month before we set off cross-country to move to the Bay Area of California! Oh excuse me, I mean “California Gurls, featuring Snoop”. This song, not to mention the video, is pure confection and I love that she turned California into Candyland and that the Gummy Bears are naughty. I’ll admit I find it a little disturbing that each girl Katy finds as she is moved along the board are caught (bubblegum, jello, wrapped up like a caramel candy) but the point is that Katy frees them as she moves along and even goes off-board ignoring Pimp Master Snoop dressed in a candy chocolate suit forcing his hand, and eventually putting him on the board to bring the girls (pimps and his hos anyone?) back under his control. I could go all feminist here and talk about women’s oppression, what happens to many girls who move to this state (chewed up and spit out in worse ways you can imagine), particularly to LA and that Katy Perry’s anthem to California is a dark, twisty look at what could really happen under all the glitz and glam of that city (and San Francisco too, if I’m being totally honest). And I’d be right if that were the end of my review of this song and video. But that’s not all the song is about… it’s an homage to the state and shows that fierce, independent, self-reliant, strong women can do quite well in this state, while wearing bikinis and daisy dukes. Yeah, okay I’m reaching there. Let’s just leave it at this… I want a bra that has whip cream attachments.
The “wow I wish I could get back those four minutes of my life in June” are dedicated to Nicki Minaj. This poor girl does not know who she is so rather than grow a little, learn to write a decent song and develop her own style, she borrows shamelessly from Lady Gaga’s wardrobe, Eminem’s lyrically way of rapping and samples shamelessly from Annie Lennox’s “No More I Love Yous”. I wanted to like Nicki Minaj. She received a ton of great press before this single even made it over to US radio airplay. But I don’t. Sorry, Nicki.
The new, better than old, Eminem is back and he brought the new and improved, better than before Chris Brown, Rihanna with him! “Love the Way You Lie” became an immediate summer song for me. It resonates with anyone who’s suffered through a bad relationship – and by bad I mean the kind you know is really, really bad for both of you mentally, emotionally and physically but just cannot manage to leave until something horrible and devastating happens – and the video is amazing. The lyrics are chilling, Rihanna provides the right amount of balance to Eminem’s introspective, self-loathing. Musically, Rihanna was an amazing choice to feature on this song; however, image-wise, this song does more to reclaim her stance as a strong, not taking any crap, female than her gun tattoos and her last album Rated R ever did. Huge props to Dominic Monaghan. Dude, this is the first thing you’ve been in where I haven’t remembered you as my favorite hobbit. Way to get ripped (and love the tatts). And Megan Fox… good for you for doing what you do so well.
I should love Mike Posner if only because he recently graduated from Duke. But after being subjected to this song over and over and over on every top 40 radio station AND from my own child’s iPod, “Cooler Than Me” makes me want to strangle this 20-something year old until he screams “UNCLE” and promises to never, ever, EVER sing this song ever, ever again. The video where he’s taking people’s glasses and seeing the world as they see it is pretty clever, admittedly. But it’s still going to take me a long time to get over the 93 times I heard this song stuck in a small car driving from Virginia to California.
Rather than gush some more about Linkin Park’s release A Thousand Suns, I’ll just point you to my music review and give you the video to their first release, “The Catalyst”. Love em.
I cannot believe I’m admitting this to you but I enjoy Enrique Inglesias’ “I Like It” way more than I should. And I really cannot believe I am admitting this to you but Drue and I listened to it on permaloop while unpacking the kitchen. It got so bad, even the dog would leave the room when it would come on. I thought about blaming Drue… I mean she’s eleven and therefore has questionable music taste, right? I thought about lying and saying that the snappy beat would motivate us to unpack more glasses, plates and random kitchen devises of meat torture. The truth is that Drue and I would stop unpacking, move to the middle of the floor where we had space and bounce around like loons (do loons actually bounce?) and sing the song at the top of our lungs. And thanks to Pitbull, I now have two more sentences of Spanish to add to the five other sentences I know like:
¿Dónde está el baño? (Where’s the bathroom?)
¡Necesito tequilla ahora! (I need tequilla, pronto!)
¡Espera! De hecho, me hizo comer el gusano? (Wait! Did I actually eat the worm?)
¿Cuál es el norte? ¿Sabes a Estados Unidos … (Which way is north… You know… to America?)
María, si orinar en la calle, aquí vamos a ir a la cárcel. A la cárcel! (Maria, if you pee on the streets here we will go to jail… TO JAIL!)
Of course Google Translator won’t tell me exactly what Pitbull said so I think he’s messing with all of us… but that’s okay. It sounds good, right?
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith have two of the most talented kids every created. Seriously. And while I do not like her song (granted I am NOT the demographic she’s aiming for), I admire her for putting herself out there like that. Sure, I use that catchy little phrase “I whip mah hair back n forth” often to mess around with Drue. But the reality is Willow Smith has a great voice, an amazing sense of self and style and some smooth dance moves. The song has a great message for the tween and teen set. Oh yes, AND SHE’S NINE YEARS OLD (by now I think she’s 10). You go girl.
And finally, the fall introduced me to a new band who sent me straight to iTunes to download every single of theirs I could find. Neon Trees, “Animal” – along with every song off their album Habits including bonus tracks, and their single “Wish Tree”. Supposedly they have older music out there circa 2006 but I haven’t gone through non-iTunes avenues yet to see if I can find them. Here are a few fun facts about Neon Trees that you might not have known:
1. The band’s name originates from the lighted trees on the In-N-Out Burger signs
2. “Animal” has also been featured on a commercial for Las Vegas (in case you’re sitting around thinking, “I’ve heard this song before but from where….”)
3. In 2010 the band covered Justin Bieber’s song “Baby,” mashing it up with “Stand By Me” (see it below). So far, it’s the only palatable thing to come from Justin Bieber that, in the end, did not actually come out of Justin Bieber’s mouth. Just sayin’.
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