Wale featuring Rihanna - “Bad” (Remix)
When I heard the original version a while back, I thought the bed squeaking sample was hilariously cornball. Perhaps it’s the inclusion of current “IT bad girl” RiRi blessing the remix with her trademark purrs and drugged out drawl vocals, but “Bad” does now possess a somewhat sexy vibe which is a testament to everyone involved trying oh so hard to make it happen.
The Dream featuring Beyoncé and 2 Chainz - “Turnt Up”
Mrs. Carter hops on the latest from producer/artist The Dream with a track that will continue to annoy her pop fans that couldn’t ride with “Bow Down/I Been On”. While I’m more than over the saturated usage of “turnt” in everybody’s Twitter banter, this “Turnt Up” business is a surprisingly, and with less effort, sexier affair than both versions of the bed squeaking antics found on Wale’s “Bad” single. Bey gets all saucy talking ‘bout limo boot knockin’ vintage Billy Bob ‘n’ Angelina-style while a sleazy baseline that is more suggestive than the lyrics bumps and grinds underneath her vocals. 2 Chainz’ “...cramp our style/Charley Horse…” line is worth a rewind and The Dream does his best to immortalize turnt’s just as overused slang brethren “ratchet”, but this track, as usual, is really all about Destiny’s Former Child (who also squeezes in a shoutout to Kelly and Michelle!) and her droppin’ the Ms. Perfect schtick long enough to channel her inner freakchick Rihanna.
Miley Cyrus - “We Can’t Stop”
Chop off all of your hair? Fine. Pose half naked in glossy fashion editorials in the name of “liberation”? Sure… the road to “being taken seriously” is cluttered with former child stars who have employed the same obvious tactics so have at it, Miley. However, this directional shift in her music is a bit puzzling with its “urban leanings” and lyrics giving love to Molly (ecstasy), gettin’ “turnt” (the overused trendy slang du jour), strip club a** shaking and being “‘bout that life”! Really Hannah Montana? You did one record with Snoop Dogg/Lion and now “you ‘bout that life”? Um no, Miley thinkin’ she’s got a “hood pass” is just as laughable now as when Brooke Hogan, with her “What It Do’s”, unfortunate grill and Paul Wall feature, tread the same tragic path a few years ago when her wrestler daddy thought bankrolling that mess was a cute idea. “We Can’t Stop”... are you sure, Miley?—- for our benefit maybe you could if you tried a little harder.
Snoop Lion featuring Miley Cyrus - “Ashtrays and Hearbreaks” (Video)
Since I brought up Snoop ‘n’ Miley, let’s talk about their new video, shall we? Say what you will about Snoop’s decision to eschew the “Dogg” in favor of becoming a “Lion”, but this “Ashtrays and Heartbreaks” joint is a solid single choice. It’s a dubby reggae pop affair that is perfect for the summer upon us and the don’t-pour-one-out-but-blow-some-out-for-your-dead-homies sentiment is perfect if you want the playlist for your backyard barbecue to get deep for a minute. The video is all green tints and poignant slo-mo footage and noteworthy mainly cuz you realize that the project would’ve been really dope if they’d gotten the real thing instead of having Miley pretending to be Gwen Stefani.
Daft Punk - “Doin It Right”
Hearing this song in a store while shopping on Melrose in L.A. was my wake-up call that I needed to move on from “Get Lucky” and realize that there was still a slew of new material from Daft Punk waiting to be discovered. What has unfortunately happened, though, is that I’ve simply replaced one Daft-obsession with another as “Doin’ It Right” is my new “Get Lucky”. Random Access Memories is the latest album from the French DJ duo and while “Lucky” is shaping up to be a summer soundtrack kind of song, “Doin’” is a pretty worthy, if less obvious, follow-up. The song features the robo-vocals that are familiar to D.P. fans and a guest turn by Animal Collective lead singer Panda Bear AKA Noah Lennox. However, what really struck me and demanded my attention on the fateful day in the store on Melrose is that beneath the distinct Daft-isms and solid indie dude vocals from Lennox on this track beats the heart of a solid R&B jam!
Robin Thicke featuring Pharrell and T.I. - “Blurred Lines” (Laidback Luke Remix)
While I’m still riding with the sleazy loverman groove of the original, I was curious to hear how Laidback Luke, a DJ known for his hard hitting electro tracks from a few years back, would make Robby Rob work for the clubs. It is a little jarring at first to hear the song completely stripped save for the “hey hey hey"s and a few choice samples of Robin and T.I.‘s vocals, but Luke’s take on “Blurred Lines” works if you imagine this version a part of a longer DJ set of similar sounding tracks. My only complaint is that it all gets pretty repetitive and predictable after about two minutes. Those unfamiliar with Luke’s work would be better off starting with “Hot Hot Hotter”, his own solo club joint from ‘07 that bangs a bit harder—- or if you’re tastes lean a bit more on the mainstream side, check out his take on Christina’s “Not Myself Tonight” from her ill-fated Bionic album.
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