411 Music Buy or Sell 07.18.13: We Hate Hooligans
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 07.18.2013
Does Justin Timberlake's new single "Take Back the Night" capture our hearts? Is Anna Kendrick's "Cups" too cute to tolerate? Do we like the new Bone Thugz-N-Harmony? 411's Robert Cooper and Jeremy Thomas listen to these tracks and more!
Greetings and salutations, Music Zone readers! Welcome to your top choice in music single opinion columns, 411 Music Buy or Sell! I'm your host Jeremy Thomas, and each week we'll look at some of the hottest new and hit singles and a couple of our esteemed writers will decide if they want to keep the song (Buy) or drop it like it's hot (Sell). Our listeners this week are our resident metal master and my compatriot on the Games Zone Podcast Robert Cooper taking on yours truly Jeremy Thomas!
All right, enough of the introductions and rules…let's hop to it!
1) Justin Timberlake - "Take Back the Night"
From The 20/20 Experience Vol. 2 (RCA)
Released July 12, 2013
Robert Cooper: BUY
I really enjoyed this song, as I expected to, Justin Timberlake goes back to what I used to listen to in my much younger (and darker) days, but I will say that no matter my musical taste, I still can't knock the man's voice, it is still really good. "Take Back the Night" is a groovy song that has touches of disco in it, and it does those touches quite well. I don't want to be making comparisons that are too far of a stretch, but I got a vibe of classic Michael Jackson in the feel of this song, which, of course, is always a compliment. The only complaint I had with this song is that it went a little long for me, but that is a minor quibble, overall a really fun and groovy song that I wouldn't mind hearing again.
Jeremy Thomas: BUY.
I love what Justin Timberlake is doing with his return to music. He's taking his music in a direction that isn't what you're hearing in pop lately; he almost actively moves against the dance-pop craze and is giving his music an R&B sound that makes it stand out. More to the point it sounds authentic and not just "I'm doing this because it will be a hit." I love the '80s-style Motown-esque feel to this and yet it doesn't feel dated either; Timberlake makes it seem current. If this is what The 20/20 Experience Vol. 2 is gonna sound like JT may have two albums in my "Best Of" list.
2) Trinidad James - "Female$ Welcomed"
From Don't Be S.A.F.E. (Gold Gang)
Released June 26, 2013
Robert Cooper: SELL.
After Justin Timberlake, I was really hoping that this week would be a pretty solid collection of mainstream music that I could stand, or even like, I know an odd idea. But then I listened to this song, damnit, just damnit, this song is so damn stupid. Almost the entire song is this dunderhead saying his side chick, and his main chick, and his main girl ain't feelin' him, no mo. That is the moral of your story, right there, that is your song, for the most part. I mean, yeah, you will have a change in sound halfway through, as it hits a dubstep sound that never really leaves (I don't like dubstep), and some woman shows up at the end and does singing that is much more preferable to the stylings of Mr. James, but that isn't saying much.
Jeremy Thomas: SELL.
Trinidad James was, admittedly, only vaguely on my radar up to this point and I see no reason to give him more attention. The lyrics are banal and while his delivery is competant, it sounds generic and this could pretty much be anyone. The bridge is stupid in the exteme and the beat sounds recycled from the already-generic Maybach beats. The mid-song breakdown is distinctive but notheing else was worth listening to.
3) Pop Evil - "Trenches"
From Onyx (eOne Music)
Released February 28, 2013
Robert Cooper: SELL.
I almost bought this, because I will give this band lots of credit from the get go, they had a semi-catchy opening riff and an okay chorus, and in modern rock music, that is all you need, and that is why a lot of those bands do nothing for me. But I felt like this song was better than most of those songs that I am stuck hearing when I am with a friend and it's the only song on the radio, but I can't quite say that this was something I'd buy. I changed my answer on this a good three or four times, because I was quite torn on what I should give it credit for. I give it credit for doing a bit more with a song than a lot of bands like them will do, but I also will penalize them for not doing anything creative, nor did I find their song to be all that good. It had moments that stuck out with me, but they weren't all that impressive, and I will leave you all with this one question. Does this band sound a lot like P.O.D, or is that just me?
Jeremy Thomas: BUY.
It's not just Robert; this has a very P.O.D. feel to it. I was willing to give it a little more love than him even though I didn't ever get into P.O.D. as much as some people. The song has a sense of fun about it that has been slowly bleeding its way back into hard rock over the last couple of years and I appreciate that. Yes, it doesn't stand out as much as it could have but it rocks sufficiently and it's certainly never abjectly bad. I would pick this up.
4) Anna Kendrick - "Cups"
From Pitch Perfect Soundtrack (Republic)
Released April 13, 2013
Robert Cooper: BUY.
I wasn't sure if I'd like this song when it started, because I at first thought that it would be just a typical song from a movie, and I'd move on. But I am a surprised man, and I like that. This song had a really nice down home charm to it, probably because it is a rendition of a folk song. It was a simple song that was a lot of fun and made me want to listen to it again. I also liked the use of the cups, which is the something I miss in music, something beyond your typical pro-tooled beat or generic sounding guitar intro, something like this that just makes you want to cheer for it is something that, like I said, I miss in music. That is funny, because I am obsessed with a genre that many say is generic and unlikeable, but it's music like this that makes me hope that maybe one day I can accept more mainstream music into my life on a more regular basis.
Jeremy Thomas: BUY.
I kind of love that this song has finally become a major hit months and months after Pitch Perfect hit DVD, much less theaters. It's a really fun song and Anna Kendrick is a far better singer than she gets credit for by some. Interestingly enough I didn't buy into this scene during the actual film and felt like it didn't work, but expanded out to a full performance it was damned good. A lot of actors try to become music stars and fail; Kendrick could easily pull it off if she wanted to. That she doesn't seem to have the desire to makes it even more endearing.
5) Bone Thugs-N-Harmony - "Everything 100"
From TBA (Harmony Howse Ent.)
Released July 14, 2013
Robert Cooper: SELL.
I can guarantee every reader that I am not the audience for this song, it's not really in my wheelhouse when I think of go-to songs. That being said, judged on its' own merits, and not my expectations or biases, this song is okay, it's got a nice vibe to it, it sounds friendly enough for the radio, and I think that is why it was put on the album, for a radio hit. I didn't find it to be all that substantial in terms of content, it really kind of sounds like a lot of what I have already heard from the radio, and that isn't a good thing. Maybe I'm just feeling a little down on hip-hop at the moment, but the song really didn't do anything for me, even with a clean slate in my mind for the song to paint on, it just wasn't much special, maybe next time, Bone Thugs.
Jeremy Thomas: SELL.
I'll admit that I'm a sucker for Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. This isn't their best effort though, and it's kind of sad to hear them turn the Auto-Tune to 11 for no discernable reason other than "That's what big hits do these days." Lyrically it is solid if not great and the chorus is all right, but I just couldn't get into this the way I wanted to. It's not horrible at all but I was certainly disappointed.
6) The Issues - "Hooligans"
From Diamond Dreams (Rise)
Released July 4, 2013
Robert Cooper: KILL IT WITH FIRE!
I thought Trinidad James was going to be the worst that we had tonight, and I can live with that, it was a bad song in my eyes, but nothing unforgivable. Then I got to this song, and it started kind of odd, I expected some generic scream and riff (because I had wikipedia'd this band as the song started), and I did not get that. No, I got something that sounded like it came off of the local hip-hop station, so you can understand my confusion, because I was expecting metalcore. Then came my expectations, and they were met faster than I expected. This is the shit that I hate, and when I say hate, I mean that five seconds of music like gets my blood boiling, it really does. I know that it shouldn't, because this isn't metal, even if it has elements of metal, but I see this as an inferior piece of shit attempt at trying to meld the genre of metalcore (which I don't like that much) with pop (like metalcore needed to be poppier), and it just makes me so angry. The starting riff is pretty mediocre, just like the rest of the song, just listen to the individual instruments for a second. Notice that the riff is the most technical thing there, after that, it is just your generic "core" beats that start and stop, and rinse, wash, and repeat, and that is unacceptable. I especially am annoyed at the turntable being used, but at least they decided to go all out with the pop influences. Speaking of pop influences, let me talk about the vocalists. The unclean vocalist, Douchey McBrootalstein (I looked up his name, it's Michael Bohn, not that it matters), and he is pretty much your typical metalcore screamer, he has zero range, just does his thing, and lets the clean vocalist, named Tyler Carter, sing. His voice is not that bad, but it pisses me off that he is there, because his chorus really doesn't fit with the breakdown verses that are manned by Bohn. I'll be done in a second, because I know I'm overreacting to this song, but it just really makes me angry. Bands and music like this is the reason that I have to explain to people that death metal bands are "screamo", because this is what people think of when they say "screamo", I hate that term by the way, it is my number one pet peeve. In summation, this band is something that my 15 year old sister would eat up, a bunch of pretty assholes in polos, flannels, and sleeve tattoos and hipster glasses. Bands like this are the lowest common denominator in terms of music, and are the reason metal is looked down upon in a lot of societies. Bands like this are immature, lacking in anything resembling a technical skill, and living off of the fact that they have 17 year olds that will eat this up because they don't have the fucking sense that God gave a fucking lemming, and I remember being 17 and thinking that stuff that was not nearly as bad as this was the be all,end all of music, and I would punch 17 year old me in the fact right now, because 17 year old me is the reason that this band exists.
Jeremy Thomas: SELL.
Okay, I don't even think I need to say anything else because Robert about said it all. This is the biggest "What the Fuck" track I've heard in a while. The metalcore is far too screamy-growl and the pop is so jarringly poppy that it sounds like fucking One Direction. Who in the name of all the gods in the cosmos thought this was a good idea, and where are they so I can deliver a hot poker to their privates? Screw this song.
So this week we give Justin Timberlake and Anna Kendrick Buys, split the difference on Pop Evil and Sell the rest! Thanks to Robert for his participation this week; that will do it us! What do you think of the singles we covered? Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!