Playlist Review: Xbox Music Choice Cuts February 2014

At least I think that’s the title of the playlist, but due to Xbox Music’s dismal (i.e., non-existent without a direct link) dicoverability of curated playlists, I can’t be certain what it’s called.

Anyway, I really want well-curated playlists of what’s popular at any given time. Not because I think I’m going to suddenly see the merits in what the unwashed masses are listening to, but more because (i) I’m curious, (ii) I want to be able to understand the national conversation around what’s hot in music, and (iii) I kind of want to stay plugged in before and while my kids are listening to popular music.

And, really, how bad could it be to listen to what everybody else is listening to? The crowds must have some wisdom, right? At the worst it’s got to just be inoffensive blandness.

Holy crap is that wrong. This sucks. This is brutally annoying, and I really have to force my way through it. Why are all of you listening to shit? Stop listening to shit! I know hardly anybody is making anything worth listening to right now, but there must be music that’s better than this. Or, why do you have to listen to new music? What is it with music and, as Chuck Klosterman called it, the tyranny of the now?

It’s a cliche, but everything is just so overproduced. It just sounds too, too slick. It’s hard to believe there are even people behind these songs. It’s all so alienating.

Finally, new rule. I’ll just write [loudness wars] and you can just insert my rant about the loudness wars in there, because I’m getting sick of writing about it, and you’re sick of hearing about it. Not as sick as I am about hearing it, though.

Anyway, on to the shit.

  1. Can’t Remember To Forget You (feat. Rihanna) – Shakira – Have they successfully bleached Shakira now? This song features another new hot thing that everybody’s doing, this style of singing where you barely get out the syllable so it’s a bit more punchy, more rhythmic. I don’t really like it and then when everybody does it, ugh.
  2. Same Girl – Jennifer Lopez – [loudness wars]. I don’t want to like this, but I really do. Not the whole thing, but parts of it are very nice. Verses are great. Lyrics, spesh around the chorus, are dumb. And it goes too long and gets too repetitive.
  3. Drunk In Love – Beyoncé – What is the all the hype for re: this song? It’s pretty stupid. It’s got some good features…the way the song builds in the beginning is growing on me and it’s quite an energetic vocal workout and is impressively all over the place. But the “how the hell did this shit happen” and “beautiful bodies” lines are pandering and anything with Jay-Z on it is awful. Also [loudness wars]. Like the surfboard line. Hate the sampled laugh. Not sure how but I’m giving it open.
  4. Radioactive – Imagine Dragons – [loudness wars]. Okay, the music industry has successfully made the shitty sound of overdriven digital clipping the sound of new and fresh and oh my god you can’t even fight it anymore because a whole generation understands this sound as the sound of what they like. I am old. Fuck me.
  5. Party Girls – Ludacris – Is this supposed to be one of the most misogynistic things of all time? Or is this just like the music version of porn, where it is not even supposed to represent what sex really is to adults but fills some weird fantasy about a fantasy world that responsible music consumers know doesn’t really exist? “I beat the pussy to pieces”. “Titties plastic/That’s fantastic.” “I don’t say shit, they be gettin’ naked.” That “I beat the pussy to pieces” line is so just so sexy. << sarcasm. In the end, this sets a mood and I can go with it.
  6. Animals – Martin Garrix – Oh god I hate this. Doesn’t need to be half as long as it is. Dancey DJ stuff, but too simplisitic.
  7. I Want It All – Karmin – Well, she’s hot, but this is way too much. So right in your ears with the insipid music. Straight out of 1985.
  8. Ten Feet Tall – Afrojack – meh. Sappy treacle. Awful. Hate it from the opening notes. Then there’s that weird bwip sound in the chorus…so overproduced. Maybe he feels ten feet tall because he’s so much louder and better produced than his backup singer.
  9. Find You – Zedd – god this is a horrible stretch.
  10. You Make Me (Diplo & Ookay Remix) – Avicii – stupid raps and stupid melodies mixed stupidly. One of the worst. Probably not as bad as “Mmm Yeah,” but this is awful and stupid and so stupid stupid.
  11. Into The Blue – Kylie Minogue – Terrible drum (machine) sound. What was she thinking? Pretty bland. Stupid four on the floor with a stupid sappy bridge. Stupid inspirational.
  12. Air Balloon – Lily Allen – Aren’t pretty much all balloons air balloons? I think most kids’ songs are more advanced than this.
  13. I’m A Freak – Enrique Iglesias – ugh. “Fucks like an animal.”
  14. Happy (Gru’s Theme From Despicable Me 2) – Pharrell Williams – surprised I like this, but it’s kinda ok. Not loudness wars, which is so nice, so now I have a positive image of Pharrell Williams beyond just being a hanger-on in that Robin Thicke video.
  15. Say Something – A Great Big World – slow.  Male vox sounds like Ben Folds. Female is Christina Aguilera.
  16. Once Upon A Dream – Lana Del Rey – Keeping it slow. So boring. I guess the thing here is just her voice. I mean, this is about what I would expect out of a Disney song.
  17. Na Na – Trey Songz – It’s like that Na Hey song? I can get into this groove if I’m in the right mood. One of my favorites in the playlist. Making full b/c hell I need more of this genre full in my collection, but really it’s a high open.
  18. Make It Home – August Alsina – At first I was all, boy, this glorifies drugs and violence and all that then I realized he’s just telling the tale of a character (maybe) and I’m cool when white people sing about characters with flaws, so I was kind of being a hypocrite. My main complaint with this is takes that Boyz II Men layered quivering vocals thing to new heights of ridiculousness. Also auto tune used for a lot of that. But I do dig it. I feel like I can listen to this down at Leschi park with my car running and a huge cloud of pot smoke enveloping the car.
  19. We Alright – Young Money – wealth porn. ridiculous boasting at start but then takes a pretty quick turn into still boasting but awesomeness. I mean, not my favorite type of hip-hop, but in this group it’s not painful to listen to. “That ho betta know how to deep throat like a serpent.” << Gawd.
  20. Mmm Yeah (feat. Pitbull) – Austin Mahone – return of Hanson? Kind of. This kid wears a MN Wild hat in his promo pic because ? They’ve never been very good. Oh jesus a Kris Kross “Jump Jump” name drop. Because of course. What precociously successful artist pushing a song with an idiotic name wouldn’t want to be associated with that act? Also referencing “Jordan and Pippen.” Way to be modern. Good god. Plus horribly suck songage.
  21. Show Me – Kid Ink – “Let me put your panties to the side/Ima make you feel all right/Cuz Ima give you what you need, yeah”. Good grief. The second (if not third) song on this playlist that talks about moving panties to the side. Again, out of my comfort zone here, but I like this tune. Like “Na Na” it’s really probably a high open heart, but I’m moving to full b/c I’m diversifying, like in a financial sense, not in a race sense but that too I mean I’m just saying I’m not naive about how whitebread I still am.
  22. The Devil Is A Lie (feat. Jay-Z) – Rick Ross – Commits that horrible hip-hop sin where it’s just a two-bar sample, this time a three-note ascending horn riff, played over and over ad nauseum. Give it up. Plus Jay-Z, I just don’t like anything he does.
  23. Paranoid (feat. B.o.B.) – Ty Dolla $ign – This is about how both of his bitches are in the club. But it’s not even about that, it’s completely self-centered, about him. They’re setting him up. He’s paranoid. He’s high and drunk. Just can’t get over these lyrics to make it full even though it’s pretty a-ite.
  24. Talk Dirty (feat. 2 Chainz) – Jason Derülo – Sings part of this in a Jamiacan patois. Shockingly, about sexy times. Annoying repetitive horn riff ruins any chance the cool vocal rhythms had of saving it. And this is not the way to use handclaps (too much).
  25. Team – Lorde – crap. what is the appeal? So so boring.
  26. Come Alive (feat. Tory Y Moi) – Chromeo – appeatilng retro sounds. reminiscent of early Prince. Really I have this as at least open? Cuz I hate it now. Yeah, this is like for people who think it should be 1985 forever. Verses must have given it ‘at least open’, because the chorus is ass. So fine, open because maybe, maybe if I’m in the right mood.
  27. Love Me Again – John Newman – I think this is the leave britney alone guy. Poor man’s bad-years Elton John
  28. After The Disco – Broken Bells – Meh. Harmless. If a little too precious. No, this is annoying.
  29. Just Another Night – Icona Pop – boring 80’s shlock

– “Happy (Gru’s Theme From Despicable Me 2)” (Pharrell Williams), “Na Na” (Trey Songz), “Show Me” (Kid Ink)
– “Can’t Remember To Forget You (ft. Rihanna)” (Shakira), “Same Girl” (Jennifer Lopez), “Drunk In Love” (Beyoncé), “Party Girls” (Ludacris), “Make It Home” (August Alsina), “We Alright” (Young Money), “Paranoid (feat. B.o.B.)” (Ty Dolla $ign), “Come Alive (feat. Toro Y Moi)” (Chromeo)
– “Radioactive” (Imagine Dragons), “Animals” (Martin Garrix), “I Want It All” (Karmin), “Ten Feet Tall” (Afrojack), “Find You” (Zedd), “You Make Me (Diplo & Ookay Remix)” (Avicii), “Into The Blue” (Kylie Minogue), “Air Balloon” (Lily Allen), “I’m A Freak” (Enrique Iglesias), “Say Something” (A Great Big World), “Once Upon A Dream” (Lana Del Rey), “Mmm Yeah (feat. Pitbull)” (Austin Mahone), “Talk Dirty (feat. 2 Chainz)” (Jason Derülo), “Team” (Lorde), “Love Me Again” (John Newman), “After The Disco” (Broken Bells), “Just Another Night” (Icona Pop)