Three to Turn Up and One to Turn Off - No. 28
This week’s songs to turn up have absolutely nothing in common, except that they represent artistic and inventive highpoints for their creators. In the world of economics, these artists invested big and rightfully earned huge rewards, even if they don’t chart to the top. Conversely, my song to turn off is rapidly climbing the Hot 100, but it’s safe song at its core, filled with the same fundamental hollowness that runs through all of the group’s music.
Three to turn up:
+ Beyoncé “Countdown” – Beyoncé’s biggest obstacle with dance tracks is herself: 2003’s “Crazy In Love” was her first big solo hit, setting her own bar unreasonably high. She’s had great high-energy tunes since, namely “Beautiful Liar” and “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It),” but they’ve never reached that magnitude of the first duet with her now-husband. Taken on its own though, “Countdown” is a bouncy single with a very infectious verbal play; the writing may not be the boldest, but Beyoncé performs it with maximum style. Compared to the first two singles from 4, this isn’t as striking as “Run The World (Girls),” which many found to be “too militaristic,” but it’s far more alive than the robotic R&B of “Best I Ever Had.” The former Destiny’s Child member may have a great voice on ballads like “Halo,” but it’s always been the upbeat songs like “Countdown” that come alive with vigorous imagination
+ Coldplay “Paradise” – It may have taken over a decade, but I think I’m finally becoming a fan of Coldplay. If X&Y (2005) and Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008) were transition albums, then October 24’s Mylo Xyloto is a fine destination. Second-single “
“The wheel breaks the butterfly
Every tear, a waterfall
In the night, the stormy night
She closed her eyes
In the night, the stormy night
Away she flied
She dreamed of para- para- paradise”
With the band’s earlier singles like “Yellow,” “Clocks” and “Fix You,” I appreciated the poetic lyrics, but felt there was a wall blocking them from my emotions. “
+ Flo Rida “Good Feeling” – I could barely believe my ears, but Flo Rida, the rapper who rose to the top with silly, though admittedly entertaining, hits like “Low” and “Right Round,” is growing up. That’s not to say “Good Feeling” is adult song with depth, but it’s far less tongue-in-cheek that his earlier work, coming across more of straightforward pop-rap song. The masterstroke is the sampling of Etta James’ “Something's Got a Hold On Me,” as this unlikely choice takes Flo Rida into a new musical direction; one that reminds me of Adele’s recent singles. His summer hit “Where Dem Girls At” was very entertaining, but this is far more interesting. I enjoyed Flo Rida’s earlier work as glossy junk, but “Good Feeling” hints that he has a lot of room to continue growing, and hints that the upcoming Only One Rida (Part 2) could be an album worth anticipating.
One to turn off:
+ LFMAO “Sexy And I Know It” – Despite their massive popularity, there’s something in me that resists the music of LMFAO. As much as I admire the hyper beats and playful lyrics, there’s a cold detachment throughout all their songs, and “Sexy And I Know It,” like the summer’s top hit “Party Rock Anthem,” is no different. I know the dance genre doesn’t often lend itself to strong emotion, but I don’t sense any true passion flowing through LMFAO’s music. “Sexy and I Know It,” the second single off Sorry for Party Rocking, sounds interesting from start to finish, yet there’s nothing authentic because everything feels like an act. LMFAO is a creative group, but all the cleverness in the world can’t cover a lack of heart. “Sexy And I Know It” is not sexy, and although you may admire parts, there’s no true enjoyment.