iTunes Top 10: July 2012

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Every two to four weeks, I’ll share my thoughts on that day’s iTunes Top 10. This is the first installment! Welcome.

Song titles link to the associated (usually) official music videos.
Songs marked “this one!” are songs I really liked.

#1 Whistle (Flo Rida) –

Seems cute at first, with its whistling hook, but it turns out the ‘whistling’ going on here is, um…well, hear for yourself:

“Can you blow my whistle, baby, whistle, baby? Let me know;
Girl, I’m gonna show you how to do it, and we start real slow:
You just put your lips together, and you come real close,
Can you blow my whistle, baby, whistle, baby? — Here we go”

One verse begins, “It’s like, everywhere I go, my whistle’s ready to blow”. Right.

#2 Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen)

As essentially summer 2012 as the red jeans it mentions, and will probably age as well — but let’s enjoy it while we can.

Confession: every now and then, it really bothers me that there’s no comma in this song title. It reminds me of that old joke:

“Call me a taxi!”
“Okay, you’re a taxi!”

#3 Wide Awake (Katy Perry)

It’s hard to believe, but there’s no question any more: Katy Perry is trying to make ‘serious’ music. And so far the results are a disaster — hookless, bloated, and moany. It almost makes me nostalgic for “Hot + Cold”…

(Check out the video for more insight into this. It looks like she’s trying to show the “real person behind the mask”, but it’s unconvincing…and weird as hell.)

#4 Some Nights (Fun.) <– this one!

For a change — talk about convincing.

You can see from the compelling Civil War-themed video that singer Nate Ruess really does give a damn, and the rest of the group sounds firmly on board. I’m not 100% sure what he’s singing about — hard to know what’s metaphorical and what’s not — but for once I’m not fussed. They care, they care!

#5 Want U Back (Cher Lloyd) –

“Please,” Cher Loyd sings, “this ain’t even jealousy:
she ain’t got a thing on me,
tryin’-a rock them ugly jeans, jeans, jeans.”

Beautiful.

On a different note — the song is so compressed it sounds like it’s hissing out of my speakers. A good example of the “if we make it sound shitty enough, it’ll sound normal through iPod headphones” philosophy of production.

#6 Good Time (Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen)

It’s okay, but “We don’t even need to try/it’s always a good time” is only a click or two less banal than “FUN FUN FUN FUN”.

Also, “Hands up if you’re down to get down tonight”? Is this supposed to be clever?

#7 Blow Me (One Last Kiss) (P!nk)

Unlike “Whistle”, this song actually isn’t about oral sex, which makes those parentheses a little childish, but oh well…

P!nk is characteristically confrontational, if not terribly coherent (“No more sick whisky dick, no more battles for me/ You’ll be calling a trick, ’cause you no longer sleep”. huh?). Still, I like one line in the chorus: “You think I’m just too serious/ I think you’re full of shit.”  And for one exciting moment halfway through the chorus where the harmonies rise above the mush and she screams, “Just when it can’t get worse…”, it’s affecting.

#8 Lights (Ellie Goulding) <– this one!

I really like the arrangement on the verses here — there’s a lot of space, which is rare these days. The lyrics are obscure but compelling (“You show the lights that stop me turn to stone/ You shine it when I’m alone”), and Ellie’s voice has has a subtle and very appealing touch of Björk-y coy weirdness. Nice.

#9 Take A Little Ride (Jason Aldean)

Eugh…I feel like we’ve been recording versions of this for at least the last fifteen years. I never expected country-rock to be the most progressive genre in the world, but I could swear I heard this exact song on CMT in middle school. “Well, I’m just ready to ride this Chevy, ride this Chevy down a little back road” and do you in the back seat. Woo!

#10 Titanium (David Guetta & Sia)

Wikipedia tells me the vocal spot was originally offered to Katy Perry, and I can see why — ‘Titanium’ is this week’s third entry in the top-heavy moan/scream sweepstakes. In retrospect I think Perry’s ‘Firework’ was the beginning of all this, though (as often happens) it was more colorful than what it inspired.

On this track, Sia switches out fireworks for titanium, with…mostly unembarrassing results:

“I’m bulletproof; nothing to lose: fire away, fire away.
Ricochet; you take your aim: fire away, fire away.
You shoot me down, but I won’t fall —
I am TITANIUM!!!”

Meh. For a dance track, it’s not that bad. And the synth pattern in the verse sounds like a Police guitar part. You could do a lot worse.

——————–

Think ‘Want U Back’ is really the Beatles’ second coming? Hate Fun. and everything they stand for? Let me know — love to see your thoughts in the comments.

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4 thoughts on “iTunes Top 10: July 2012

  1. Erica Miceli

    Hey Arden! I was in Germany at the end of April and the song “Titanium” was everywhere! I probably heard it every day while I was there. But, if I’m remembering correctly, it didn’t really break here in North America until a couple months later. I’m not exactly up on my “dance” music, but for some reason this song sounds more European to me. Is that just because I associate it with being in Europe or do you think “Titanium” is more stylistically similar to European dance music than it is North American dance music? (P.S if I never hear “Want U Back” again it’ll be too soon!)

    Reply
    1. ardenrb Post author

      Hey Erica! I think you’re right that ‘Titanium’ sounds more European than North American. The whole track has a floaty, almost hazy feel, and that’s very characteristic of Eurodisco. David Guetta is French, so it makes sense that he’d draw on those sounds.

      As for why it broke first in Europe – maybe it was released there earlier? Or maybe it’s just more in line with European dance sensibilities?

      Reply
  2. haycockm

    My mother’s listened to “Call Me Maybe” as a background “peppy” song enough for me to know that it never mentions *red* jeans, but instead *ripped* jeans. Also, the music video is veritably hilarious.

    Reply
    1. ardenrb Post author

      Oh, man! You’re totally right! And “Ripped jeans, skin was showing” makes much more sense too. Thanks for pointing that out.

      The video is delightful 🙂 I love her vision of them in a fantasy romance novel. And the twist at the end is very cute.
      ZOMG it has 175 million hits!

      Reply

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