Merry Christmas! “Coconut” Roman Coke Appraises the Hits
A brave music writer sits and listens to the “Pop Hits” cable channel for one hour.
Since the labels have seemed to stopped sending over the usual amounts of hookers and blow, it’s been awhile since I came across a great, new band. Feeling a tad out of touch, I thought I would take a step back and dip my toe into the ol’ mainstream.
Among the 1,500 cable channels we get here (some which actually aren’t Spanish-language or televangelists) we have Music Choice. Music Choice offers something like 50 or so channels in varying genres. One channel is called “Pop Hits,” and describes itself as having me “covered in non-stop pop hits, plus a mix of today and yesterday’s hits, minus the rap.” Well, this sounds just like what I need to hear: what the Great Unwashed are classifying as “pop hits” these days. Having learned that the amount of torture I can endure is limited, I will be limiting my exposure to what I can only term “recycled goat yack” to one hour.
I am music critic Roman Coke. The following takes place between 5 and 6 PM. This is the longest hour of my life.
#1: “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry. Sounds like candy country. I would imagine fans of Taylor Swift are enthralled by these guys. Not horrible at all, but not my thing really. Points for violin solo. Young singer mentions she will put on her pearls, and I think she has no idea what that means.
#2: “Forget You” by Cee Lo Green. Didn’t this have another title? Am I wrong here? OK, I am familiar with this song. This stuff isn’t my thing either, but it is a damn catchy song. Points for anyone trying to make a hit song with “fuck” in the title. Green has a set of pipes. Nice twists in the melody and vocal deliveries. This song deserves to be the hit it is.
#3: “Say It Again” by Marie Digby. I guess this counts as yesterday’s hits, as it’s from 2008. I never heard it then, either. Goddamn it, this is not a bad song. Catchy chorus, as she begs her guy to tell her again he is in love with her. What is it with these damn uppity broads that wanna hear that shit over and over? “I am the only one that blows your mind,” she sings. Hopefully, the mind isn’t the only thing she’s blowing on her dude. That’s probably what’s going on here. Guy wants a BJ and will tell her anything she wants to hear. Guys can be such cads.
#4: “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera. Finally, a horrible song that blows chunks. So these douchebags want to “move like Jagger.” I am willing to bet they probably don’t even know who Jagger is. Their producer probably wrote the song, and no one in Maroon 5 can name more than five songs by the Stones. Singer sounds slightly autotuned as Aguilera finally comes in. Generic club beats. So the bubble heads who dance to this probably thinks it’s the local DJ named Jagger (every market has one) they’re trying to move like. Maroon 5 sucks.
#5: “99 Times” by Kate Voegele. More of a pop band vibe going on here, not the generic shit of Moron 5 (no, I didn’t spell that wrong). Another “guy done me wrong song.” “For every 99 times you look me in the eyes,” the dude was lying. This sounds like she was hooking up with the guy from “Say It Again.” Guys can be such cads.
#6: “Airplanes” by B.O.B and Haley Williams. Ugh, isn’t the whole rapper with a female singer on the hook combo kinda played out by now? Typical rapper rapping about rapping. I can almost hear that Eminem/Dido song playing in the studio as they were laying this down. Yea, I could use a wish right now; a wish to hear a better fucking song.
#7: “The Cave” by Mumford and Sons. Every few years, a really “offbeat” band has a huge album. That’s that category in which I put Mumford and Sons. It just sounds very out-of-place in America; I think it’s better suited to the beer halls of Ireland or Germany (that Donnybrook refuses to expense for me.). I don’t quite get this. It’s OK, and stands out from the rest of the pop stuff. It just doesn’t do anything for me. But it’s way better than “Airplanes.”
#8: “All The Right Moves” by One Republic. Bombastic pop. Sounds remarkably poppy for a band trying to “look indie.” “All the right friends in all the right places,” the song goes on. Like, I guess, programmers of shitty radio stations? A blurb comes up saying the drummer is deaf in one ear. So he’s the lucky one that hears only half of a shitty song. Pass.
#9: “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. Anyone remember when RHCP were an “alternative” band that wore socks on their dongs? They were grimy and grungy. ‘Cause what I’m hearing now isn’t how I remember them. Are those high hats I hear punctuating the beat in the chorus? RHCP have become one of those bands that rock/alt stations play every 3-4 hours now. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to see them here. Not a horrible song, but not my thing. And I don’t care what anyone tells me, “Under the Bridge” is one of the most embarrassing songs of the 90s.
#10: “Your Surrender” by Neon Trees. Permeating, cold, electronic beats pace [wc?] the opening. It sounds like something I’ve heard a few times this last hour. Very slick, produced, soulless pop tripe. I assure you, anyone who buys this shit will hear this song in their iPod 5 years from now and miss their crack years.
#11: “Love Story” by Taylor Swift. Someone spread a rumor that she wrote this song about me. I can’t confirm or deny. I’ve said this before, but Swift knows how to write songs that appeal to her fanbase. And since “perverts who are over 22” are not her demo, this stuff doesn’t do much for me. But it’s catchy and fine, for what it is.
#12: “Not Over You” by Gavin DeGraw. I hated his fucking “Chariot” song. This guy had another song? He probably hangs out with Howie Day talking about “the good year.”
#13: “Hold It Against Me” by Britney Spears. Another electronic beat starts another song. Autotuned vocals come in, successfully following the ‘pop tart hit song’ blueprint. Damn, the beat is to the point of overbearing, which I guess gets all the kids on the floor and their ecstasy-riddled minds off the rest of this trainwreck. Britney singing stuff like this 12 years ago = hot. These days, not so much.
#14: “Holiday” by Green Day. Yea, we’ve all heard this one. Another band corporate stations play every three hours.
#15: “Loud Music” by Michelle Branch. Damn, when I first heard the vocal, I thought it sounded like Michelle Branch. Chorus is a bit catchy, and there is a quick vocal allusion to Led Zep’s “Immigrant Song.” While she sings about making loud music, it sounds way too over-produced, compared to her earlier pop stuff. Not guitar driven, and no real band feel. Kind of disappointing from her.
All right, my hour’s done, and so am I.