Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cool really has nothing to do with it

I listen to a lot more popular radio lately than I ever did. Working 9-5 means I'm always waiting for the traffic report when I first leave work and as I also love the Hamish & Andy show, I have to unfortunately subject myself to it. Unsurprisingly, I take issue with a couple of songs for various reasons and I feel this needs to be addressed.

Let's start with Usher. One of his recent singles start with "now we're back in the club" - now, Usher this implies that you actually left the club. I think for you to start a song like that, you should at least have had a song that actually takes place outside of a club. Which will clearly never happen.

Then there's this song by...oh I think it's Taio Cruz, I don't know they all sound the same. Yes google says it's Taio Cruz, and it's apparently called 'Dynamite'. This song starts with the absolute pinnacle of lyrical genius -

I came to
Dance, dance, dance, dance
I hit the floor cause that’s my,
Plans, plans, plans, plans
I’m wearing all my favorite
Brands, brands, brands, brands
Give me space for both my
Hands, hands, hands, hands
The first time I heard this song, I just cracked up laughing. The whole brands thing greatly amused me as it was, but when we got to the 'space for both my hands' I just went to a whole other camp place I don't think Taio Cruz ever wanted anyone to go to. Now the damage is done and all I can ever imagine is a flamboyant Carson Kressley type on a dance floor waving their hands about energetically. I hope I'm not the only one. Don't misinterpret my scorn as indie kid superiority, I can totally enjoy a catchy song even if it does have ridiculous lyrics (frankly they mostly do) but this one can't get past me - the repeating nonsense just pulls me up every time.

Next up is, from what I understand, the newest whiz kid on the scene, Bruno Mars! No, it's not his real name (why anyone would choose the stage name Bruno, I don't know.) His number 1 single currently doing the rounds is entitled 'Just the way you are'. It is supposed to be oh so very romantic -

Oh her eyes, her eyes
Make the stars look like they're not shining
Her hair, her hair
Falls perfectly without her trying
She's so beautiful
And I tell her every day
Yeah I know, I know
When I compliment her
She won't believe me
And its so, its so
Sad to think she don't see what I see
But every time she asks me do I look okay
I say
When I see your face
There's not a thing that I would change
Cause you're amazing
Just the way you are
And when you smile,
The whole world stops and stares for awhile
Cause girl you're amazing
Just the way you are

My response, if I was in this girl's position? "Uh, I just asked a simple question, a yes or no would've sufficed." But I freely admit that I'm cynical, maybe other girls like that sort of thing. But "every time" she asks? Seriously, come on. Everyone loves a compliment, but draw the line somewhere (and hey, if you regularly carry on like this it's no wonder she doesn't believe you.) I ask people if I look ok all the time, and I'd get pretty damn sick of it if I was subjected to a sonnet or something on every occasion. All I'm saying is, it'd get annoying. Sometimes a girl just wants a simple answer.

Finally, there is the Billboard 100 Top 10 single 'Cooler than me' by Mike Posner. This song does my head in, mainly because I have listened to it too many times sitting in traffic, have read way too much into it and have come to the conclusion that the 'protagonist' (I don't know if this applies to songs, but I'm using it anyway) is an idiot.

If I could write you a song
And make you fall in love,
I would already have you up under my arm.
I used up all of my tricks,
I hope that you like this.
But you probably won't,
You think you're cooler than me.

This is the entire set-up of the song. So one would assume boy likes girl, girl's not interested, boy writes song to woo said girl...if in this case by woo you mean insult everything about her. The song systematically goes through everything about this girl, everything that makes her think she's cooler than the 'protagonist' apparently, and proceeds to knock it. Which to me just begs the question why he's trying to get this girl to fall in love with him anyway, seeing as he dislikes so many things. Maybe it's meant to be ironic, and maybe it is in fact a call-out song that I've misinterpreted - but that's idiot-jerk behaviour too.

Besides the fact that I clearly don't get the principle, I also think he's being insanely petty (knocking the noise high heels make, um, what?) and maybe if he pulled his head out and stopped making assumptions, he'd totally be able to win over said girl.
You got designer shades,
Just to hide your face and
You wear them around like,
You're cooler than me.
And you never say hey,
Or remember my name.
It's probably cause,
You think you're cooler than me.
Or I don't know, maybe she's just shy? Maybe the 'protagonist' is so wrapped up in his own little world that he completely misses his opportunity. He acknowledges she seems to have a mask on, that "behind your make-up nobody knows who you are", and yet he doesn't consider that this may mean she has her own insecurities that is preventing her from connecting with him. So, bit of an idiot then. Then how does he deal with not being shown the attention he feels he is due? By insulting her of course.
She probably is,
Was acting shallow until
She find out how deep that my pockets is.
Ms. prima donna,
This is your reminder,
That I think you're fine.
But I'm finer.
Or hey, maybe you're just a jackass? Just assume you're so damn wonderful that every girl wants you and then if one doesn't, it's got nothing to do with your arrogance and/or narcissim. Ergo, I have come to the conclusion that the reason the girl doesn't want to be with the 'protagonist' is not because she thinks she's cooler than him, but indeed because he is a jerk. Long may this stupidity live on in song form.

That's all for today's lecture on 'Over-analysing popular songs on FM radio'. For the next class, please unpack a popular song of your own choice in a similar manner so we can discuss it, and identify trends.

Class dismissed.

Music: Wheezing rattle of a broken air-conditioner
Mood: Feeling less than well


  1. The lyrics of that Bruno song remind me of a Pablo Neruda poem Tonight I Can Write and the song First Time Ever I Saw Your Face:
    The first time ever I saw your face, I thought the sun rose in your eyes.
    And the moon and stars were the gifts you gave,
    To the dark and the endless sky, my love.

    They play that song in the Dr Who Confidential for The Girl in the Fireplace.

  2. I would have you up under my arm? Is she supposed to have an armpit fetish or something???

  3. Hahaha! That would explain a lot actually.