Pop Pap - August 10, 2006

If you are a frequent visitor here (Hi there, all 6-9 of you), you’ve noticed I’ve been posting a lot of music reviews on this blog lately so I decided to break them down into several regular columns. This one -“Pop Pap”- will feature reviews of current chart singles and things could get ugly. Although my music tastes traditionally lean toward the underground/obscure/alternative side of things, I’ve always had a love-hate thing going on for shameless pop. This column will give me a chance to exorcise these demons. I’d love to see your thoughts and bitchy comments. (“Soft Earwax” will be comprised of new release indie/electronic albums, and “The Throwback” will consist of reviews of old favorites and rediscovered classics.)

Fergie – London Bridge – single (A&M, 2006)

I really wanted to hate it, and in the not-to-distant future when I’ve heard it a zillion times, I’m sure I will. But for now, my booty is bouncing uncontrollably, and I like it. I'd never paid much attention to Black Eyed Peas until Stacy Ferguson showed up out of the blue with her brazen sassiness, her Godzilla botox lips, and her onstage pants-pissing antics. “My Humps” is truly a trash classic even though the ass jokes wear a little thin after a few hundred listens. So here we are with the inevitable solo record, and as Ms. Stefani would say – This shit is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s. In fact if I were Gwen, I’d be seeking legal council, so fully does “London Bridge” swipe its schtick from “Hollaback Girl.” It’s a plodding and maddeningly catchy marching band beat complete with a blaring horn loop. Her rhymes come off like a poor girl’s Missy Elliott, and the faux sexy bridge section is pure Pussycat Dolls (whose producer also helped make this record.) I don’t really get the innuendo here when she says “How come every time you come around my London London Bridge wanna go down.” – Can she really be referring to her vagina as her “London Bridge?” Or maybe she's talking about giving oral pleasure while wearing some English dentures. Either way this is irritatingly brainless, yet intensely brilliant pop music. Rating 8/10.

Beyonce – Déjà Vu feat. Jay-Z– single (Columbia, 2006)

For someone who supposedly retired from making records, Jay-Z sure seems to show up on a lot of them. Here, he puts in some words for his fiancée Beyonce (yeah, it rhymes) and basically, he needs to stop. He pretty much ruins a perfectly fine Beyonce single with his pointless grunts and rants. The song itself packs a big, jazzy whallop. There seems to be a recent trend in pop music back toward huge production and away from minimalist beats and bass, and “Déjà Vu” is gigantically produced with layers of funk bass, horn sections, multiple layers of vocals. It’s a fast one - it races by your ears like a blazing bullet train, all silver and hi-gloss. Unfortunately, all the glitzy trimmings can’t really hide the fact that underneath lies a sadly unmemorable tune. Beyonce, to her credit, sings the hell out of it – we haven’t heard her get this riled up in quite a while. Overall, it’s not bad, but it doesn’t quite measure up to her best work. Let's hope at least the club mixes are Jay-Z free. Rating 6.5/10

Jessica Simpson – A Public Affair – single (Epic, 2006) Jessica wears her new freedom from Nick Lachey like a maxi-pad and this is the music playing in the background of the commercial. At first listen, it almost feels right, catchy and breezy, light and fluffy, a good summer tune. After three listens I wanted to die – I just couldn’t listen to it anymore. Incapable of coming up with anything original, Jessica and her people pluck melodic bits and pieces from “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”, and steals the bulk from Madonna’s “Holiday” (a great song which has already been borrowed from too much.) A tribute is fine, but here Daisy Duke comes on all oh-faced like she doesn’t even know how derivative it all is, and maybe she really doesn’t. Part of me really always wants to give Jessica a chance, a pity thing maybe, but her voice is truly weak and her songs are jaw-droppingly unoriginal. Unlike Ms. Simpson herself, I have a feeling her music career won’t have much legs. Her brainless bimbo act comes off much better on TV than on record. Idea: maybe MTV could get her, Carmen, and Shanna together for a reality show called “The Ex-Wives Club.” Rating 3.5/10

Oh my gawd, I love this new section. If only we were in the same place to listen to the songs together like years gone by... Fergie will performing "London Bridge" on So You Think You Can Dance's finale next Wednesday (I know I'm obsessed with the show) as for Jessica, I wish she'd just give up... Please, please just give up
Not a fan of Fergie, but I love (can't believe I'm saying this) the new Christina Aguilera CD.
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