East Bay View (a blog about several things)

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hit count: Processed cheese

Arashi, "Step and Go" (#1 Japan): Rickroll'd! Except these guys, for all their talents (hey, it's the guy from Letters from Iwo Jima), don't sing as well as Mr Astley. Well, at least Sakurai Sho is a decent rapper.

Duffy, "Mercy" (#1 UK): She's not the new Dusty Springfield, who was convincing singing soul, and besides, was a great singer. She's more like the new Peggy Lee. Except Peggy Lee was a very good singer.

Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown, "No Air" (#3 US): It would be funny that Chris Freaking Brown outsung an Idol winner, except Sparks has talent, so it's tragic. She can interpret, as on the Stargate-produced "Tattoo", but here there isn't anything worth interpreting. The overprocessing asphyxiates her vocal. The vet Brown knows how to sound cute after overprocessing -- and his cuteness is fine in small doses.

OneRepublic, "Stop and Stare" (#10 US, #4 UK): So your debut single was one of the three or four biggest hits of the decade ("Hips Don't Lie", "You're Beautiful", maybe "Hung Up") -- how do you follow that up? With a trite kiddie-rhythmed chorus melody that can only have been conceived to show off your singer's upper register -- only Chris Martin, let alone Jeff Buckley, would laugh off the competition. They'd also guffaw at the overwrought video: Empty grave! Burning TV! Ryan drowning in bath! Well, Buckley wouldn't laugh at that last part.

Usher, "Love in This Club" (#1 US, #6 UK): Though substandard Polow is still better than anything else on this list, there's still a feeling of "We waited four years for this?". Still, it's admirable as cultural exchange: ecstasy-flavoured lyrics over a trance synth riff, slowed down to reflect the different drug choices of the target demographic.



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