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411 Music Buy or Sell 08.08.13: Act Right, Valentine Royals
Posted by Jeremy Thomas on 08.08.2013

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 the Movie Zone editor and Ask 411 Movies man Chad Webb taking on yours truly in Jeremy Thomas!

All right, enough of the introductions and rules…let's hop to it!

1) Chris Brown (ft. Aaliyah) - "Don't Think They Know"
From X (RCA)
Released June 17, 2013
Chad Webb: SELL

The background of this track is interesting, but the actual execution of the music is bland. Brown used unreleased vocals from a duet Aaliyah recorded with Digital Black called "Don't Think They Know" and he integrated excepts from the Jon B. song "They Don't Know." In the end, I'm not sure how much of this song is actually coming from Chris Brown. A pie chart is needed. I realize Brown is involved in scandals from time to time, but other than keeping his name in the news for the wrong reasons, I can't understand why he is even popular. This is mediocre R&B to the core. I love Aaliyah and all, but she doesn't add anything here. And if a deceased singer wasn't listed on the track, would you care as much? I don't like the music video either, for what that's worth. If you're really into this number, check out the versions Brown borrowed from instead.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY.

This is the best Chris Brown song I've heard in a long, long time. However, that's not to say that it's particularly great. Aaliyah's vocals are as good as we would obviously expect and Brown's side is much improved from the lackluster work on F.A.M.E., his last studio album. I loathe Brown as a person but this is slightly above-average R&B. Is it particularly memorable? No, but the production work is solid and Aaliyah is integrated well. I think there is an argument to be made that outrage from Brown resurrecting Aaliyah's voice for this cancels out interest in posthumous work so that just leaves the music, which isn't great but perfectly listenable.


2) Lorde - "Royals"
From The Love Club (Universal Music)
Released June 18, 2013
Chad Webb: BUY.

Here is an intriguing new artist. I wonder what other music New Zealand has to offer. Upon my first listen, I really liked the vocals, but was iffy on the song itself. After a second go around, it is beginning to grow on me. I will say that I think "Tennis Court" is a better track, but this one is solid as well. Ella Yelich-O'Connor has a distinct, bold sound that is quite memorable if you ask me. I feel like this material is her finding a groove though. I am anxious to see how her career blossoms.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY.

I han't heard of Lorde before this and while the opening isn't particularly memorable, it quickly picks up well. I'm a bit of a sucker for a good indie-pop artist and Lorde has that sense; she has some shades of M.I.A. in this particular track but obviously leaning much more pop than hip-hop. Her vocal work is staller and the music is a nice understated sound. I could definitely stand to hear more form her.


3) David Bowie - "Valentine's Day"
From The Next Day (ISO/Columbia)
Released August 19, 2013
Chad Webb: BUY.

I will have to respectfully disagree with 411 colleagues Jeremy Thomas and Joseph Lee in a recent Fact or Fiction when they said "Valentine's Day" wasn't as good as Bowie's other recent singles. I love this song and consider it to be right on par with the rest of his latest album, The Next Day. We are all in agreement that the Thin White Duke's newest effort is one of the best albums of 2013 though. As for this particular song, Bowie's vocals are incredibly strong, the layout of the track is simple, and the guitar work is outstanding. Since I already own the album, this one was easy.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY.

In my defense, I did say that "Valentine's Day" is a great song; it's just not quite at the level of "The Stars (Are Out Tonight)" and "The Next Day." I wouldn't even call it a lesser Bowie effort, just not quite hitting the highs of those previous tracks. I do love Bowie's vocal work here and the lyrics are as strong as we would expect from Bowie. It's a far more accessible song (and that's not at all a bad thing); hewing more along the lines of what we hear today and that certainly works in its favor. Either way it is a great song and like Chad I already own the album, so it's an easy Buy.


4) Yo Gotti (ft. Jeezy & YG) - "Act Right"
From I Am (CMG/Epic)
Released June 25, 2013
Chad Webb: SELL.

Oh boy, I've lost count of how many times I've written a variation of the same thoughts in this column when I have to listen to moronic rap such as this. Take every cliché and worn out trend of the genre, and you have a good idea of what to expect from this terrible song. Pass.

Jeremy Thomas: SELL.

Everyone gets a little bad in their Buy or Sells, and this is our worst track this week. Gotti's track is generic and isn't actually about anything of substance at all. To make matters worse the the beat is generic and the production values completely overwhelm Gotti's flow, which isn't great to begin with. Jeezy and YG add absolutely nothing of value either. I've heard a lot of generic and forgettable rap tracks in my time, but this is possibly one of the most generic yet.


5) P!nk (ft. Lily Allen) - "True Love"
From The Truth About Love (RCA)
Released July 15, 2013
Chad Webb: SELL.

I like Pink, but this song is completely forgettable. The lyrics are sappy and lame, the vocals are bland, and it's catchy in a negative, irritating, "get out my head" way. I did enjoy that song "Just Give Me a Reason" with Nate Ruess of fun, until it was played everywhere all the time. Pink needs to get back with Linda Perry. She produced many of her best material. This is not that. And the music video is just odd, with bad graphics and vegetables of all things.

Jeremy Thomas: SELL.

I actually own this album, but not for this song. It's easily my most-skipped track on the LP because it's the kind of generic happy-dappy pop that I think P!nk is better than. It's not Lily Allen's contribution that brings it down really, and it's not P!nk's vocals either. It's just everything else. The rest of the LP is great, but this...not so much.


6) Eric Clapton - "Every Little Thing"
From Old Socks (Surfdog/Duck)
Released May 20, 2013
Chad Webb: BUY

Eric Clapton's latest album, Old Sock, is largely a mixed bag. It is filled mostly with covers, but does have two new songs. This is one of those compositions, and it just happened to be one of the four tunes I liked from that release. It's far from Clapton's best work, but it is a catchy, happy number so I'm willing to give it a pass. The chorus contains a choir and even children at the end. It strikes me as a bit of a celebration song, but it could be a lot worse.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY.

Like Chad, I wasn't big on a lot of Old Sock but I dug this. It's good, solid mellow Clapton and that's not a bad thing. I think the transition in tone from verse to chorus is a little bit jarring, but that's about the only thing that I can say bad about it. Even above-average for Clapton is great compared to most people.


So this week is a pretty solid one as Lorde, Bowie and Clapton all get buys while only Yo Gotti and P!nk get Sells! Thanks to Chad 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!


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