Thursday, September 8, 2016

Loosies Of The Week, September 2-8

Welcome to yet another Loosies Of The Week, a wrap-up of this weeks singles, throwaways, leaks, and any other loose tracks I find. Apparently I decided to go Pop this week, with singles from famous stars and upcoming mainstream Rap artists. 

Dan Deacon - Change Your Life

'Change Your Life (You Can Do It)' is a silly, stupid, simple infectious song. Now, one could state that that's essentially the crux of Dan Deacon's entire discography, but that would be ignoring the swath of creative outpouring the man relishes in. 'Change Your Life' isn't meant to be complicated, intricate, or a deep album cut. Hell, it's not even a single to a new album. The track, which comes joined with a music video of frantic fanatics at one of Deacon's infamous concerts, was primarily created for that purpose; to get people loose, motivated, and willing to do whatever the hell they want. The rapid vocal cuts, thumping percussion, and endless looping does nothing else than showcase the ease in which Deacon can make a Pop song. He's a bit too eccentric, but he could've become a hit ElectroPop producer if he wanted.

As I understand it, coming from the perspective of someone who cherishes Dan Deacon's live shows whilst watching them on Youtube but would never dare to step foot in one, 'Change Your Life' acts as a mind-numbing track to convince your inner-demons to let loose and have fun, despite the corniness of the antics around you. Seriously, if you haven't seen a live Deacon show look them up on Youtube. Perfect mix of wild catastrophes and prepubescent awkwardness. A fun little single and nothing more, 'Change Your Life,' apparently, is primarily played at these live shows, and I can see why. Just don't incorporate it into a full-length album, okay Deacon? Thanks.

Pixies - Tenement Song

I'm having a real difficult time judging 'Tenement Song.' Simply put though, it's not good, but I can't quite explain why. I guess that makes sense, because in the same vein, I have a difficult time explaining why great Pixies songs are, in fact, great. Frank Black's vocals seem too ordinary here, lacking that eccentric snarl. And while he's 20+ years removed from that, and keeping that throat properly coarse would be impossible, his aging voice doesn't translate well to the punchy Alt Rock the Pixies once stood for. Yes, 'Tenement Song' fairs better as a Black solo anthem, but it also falls eerily close to Dad Rock, and that is never a good sign. It's just too damn plain, and any occurrence of them darting left, namely the abrasive chorus, seems to lack a certain nuance.

For me, that's the strongest thing holding 'Tenement Song' back. When you envision the Pixies' best tracks they're always balanced, kooky, and abnormal. Think 'Here Comes Your Man,' 'Hey,' or 'Gigantic.' They all had that it factor, that one rhythm, or note, or Black performance that heightened replay value. And while I enjoyed Trompe Le Monde and Bossanova a great deal, their aggressiveness isn't exactly what people remember the Pixies for, but that is what 'Tenement Song,' and by the likes of it, Head Carrier as a whole, aims to replicate. Once again, it's tough to pinpoint just where 'Tenement Song' goes wrong, so I'll just make a blanket statement acknowledging the fact that not a single aspect really excels. 

Action Bronson - Descendant Of The Stars

I've never been much of a fan of Action Bronson's music, for reasons that if you follow me enough you'd know. A simple recap can be found in my review of Mr.Wonderful, which honestly I might've been a bit too lenient of initially. However, there is no denying the man is funny, with the capabilities of being a legit comedian if he pursued it. With no exaggeration, I could talk more of Bronson's talents as a comedian than as a rapper. Recently, I've begun to watch Viceland's incredible show Traveling The Stars, which stars Bronson, along with Big Body Bes, The Alchemist, and Knxledge, as they watch episodes of Ancient Aliens high while attempting to decipher all the clues. While the editing completes the show, the interactivity between the hosts is no slouch either, making for an easy-to-watch show when you want to sit back and relax.

But enough about that, we're gonna talk about its new theme song, 'Descendant Of The Stars,' which Bronson dropped late last week. Overall, it's not too bad, even if it showcases just how one-dimensional Bronson as a rapper is. He's got a legit topic, regardless of how silly, that he follows through the chorus, and yet the second both verses begin all bets are off and we're back to Bronson following trope after trope. A missed opportunity, and proof that Bronson fails to have much range as an emcee, a disappointment given his wild ideologies displayed on the show. However, 'Descendant Of The Stars' isn't a total loss. Thanks to The Alchemist, one of Hip-Hop's most consistent producers, we're treated with a janky, cartoon-esque bounce that's simple but enjoyable. Likely plucked from samples, the production is a sure-fire earworm.

"Ft. Kendrick Lamar." No, no, no, no, no. You can not slap a famous name on your track as a credited artist just to gain notoriety. Okay, I know you can, but it's not right. It's an insult to both Lamar, who has no right being relegated to backup vocalist duty, and to all those actual backup vocalists who never get credited for their work. And why exactly is Sia cashing in on this? Because Hip-Hop listeners, like myself, decided to check it out expecting a thunderous Lamar verse. And thus, she gets a view on Youtube, maybe a few new fans here and there. I'm not speaking entirely of Lamar's presence here, despite how pointless it is, but more so the hypocrisy for not giving the same credit to thousands of other aspiring artists doing the same thing. Lamar doesn't get a pass either, unless this, and his work with Taylor Swift, was done to subconsciously lure oblivious listeners to his deep, meaningful solo work. Although I doubt that.

As for 'The Greatest' itself, it's about what you'd expect from post-fame Sia. Taking a lot of cues from Lady Gaga, who's soon to release her first single in two and a half years, Sia and 'The Greatest' is a sure fire hit. Why? Because it features her classic boosted emotional punch, without actual saying anything or constructing any interesting production to back it. Like Adele, Charlie Puth, or any one-off wonder who utilizes empty emotion, Sia succeeds thanks to Pop-goers' simple-minded views on ongoing struggles. While the music video, which once again features Maddie Ziegler and the same aesthetics as her previous works, falls in line with these obtuse sentiments, it's actually likely the best aspect of 'The Greatest,' as the choreography is entrancing, the effort that went into it clear.

Usher - Rivals

I don't know why I listened to this, and boy do I regret doing so. Usher's latest work has seen him pairing up with Young Thug on 'No Limit' and De La Soul on their 'Greyhounds.' Those two, and this track 'Rivals,' which features Future, posits Usher as a tasteless trend-hopper. De La, old heads by their own admission, used Usher for what he's been known, making sultry Contemporary R&B. Yet seeing him work with hot for the moment Trap artists looks bad in the face of his somewhat respectable past. Never had I truly enjoyed his work, but whenever artists so obviously jump ship and join a movement they've no right entering, it always rubs me the wrong way.

Considering he can't ditch his old fan base and jump wholeheartedly into Trap, 'Rivals' features an uncomfortably split between his old sound and new. Even Future, an artist known for his easy to distinguish vocals, sounds so out of place here. He honestly doesn't sound that different from Usher, and that's worrisome for both. Usher, like a few early 2000's R&B artists before him, namely Justin Timberlake and Sean Paul, have entered a new age where their worth can rely solely on their name; the quality of the music entirely pointless. I won't go so far as to say this is worse than Timberlake's shoe-in 'Can't Stop The Feeling,' but 'Rivals' clearly exists for constructed purposes to keep relevancy thanks to his name, the sound, and the man he's working with here.

Desiigner - Tiimmy Turner Remix

Many have a serious problem with Desiigner, and I totally get it. I do. Hell, New English was mostly garbage, and if it wasn't for the gem attached to the backend, also known as 'Panda,' it would likely be entirely forgotten. But it's that song where he achieved his fame, and the mysterious follow-up single, 'Tiimmy Turner,' that allows me to see his appeal. The primary reason many throw shade is due to Desiigner's use of the English language, or lack thereof. From an outsider's perspective, this can be seen as prevailing Hip-Hop traditionalists failing to understand why the songs still work. In other words, lyrics aren't everything, and in all honesty, they're likely the least important factor of any song. Its become redundant to state, but Desiigner uses his voice as an instrument.

Anyways, I'm rambling and ranting. Let's focus on this mishandled remix, which features the man who put Desiigner on the spot, Kanye West. For once, Kanye doesn't actually make a song worse with his verse. Lately, his feature work has been sporadic and, at times, appalling, but on 'Tiimmy Turner (Remix)' he raps with passion, and more importantly, a distinct flow that doesn't end with him going off the rails. The remix changes the foundation to account for Yeezy, leaving both of Desiigner's verses out of it, circling Ye with the infamous hook. This decision, and the inclusion of half a dozen terrible editing, sequencing, and mixing mistakes, causes 'Tiimmy Turner (Remix)' to falter before it could even gain any ground. Seriously, replace a single Desiigner verse with Ye's, doing nothing else to alter the state of the track, and you have another gem on your hands. This is just sloppy.

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