The Lonely Island featuring Akon—”I Just Had Sex”
Akon is funny, and his willingness to parody his persona makes me respect him a little more, but he’s not as funny as T-Pain was on “I’m On a Boat”, and the jokes, even when they’re good, are obvious. The formula is getting old, too. There are times when this sounds exactly like Flight of the Conchords, only not as good.
Brad Paisley—”This Is Country Music”
Paisley has enjoyed an aesthetic and commercial peak over the last two years, the sort of thing only the best can pull off, and you can’t blame him for engaging in some sentimental celebration. The sentiment wins out over the celebration, though, and once the cliches start piling up even Paisley’s guitar can’t dig him out from under. It all feels tossed together, and not in a good way.
3Oh!3—”Hit It Again”
Catchy enough, and less offensive than usual, which isn’t really a compliment. Record by record they become more ordinary, and this features a chorus that’s as close to old-fashioned rock and roll as they’ve ever come. The one thing the world doesn’t need.
Troop 41—”Do the John Wall”
More teenage hip-hoppers with another new dance, this one based on basketball (the jump-shot move is silly even by fly-by-night dance trend standards). They’re from North Carolina, so the sound is more Dirty South/Soulja Boy than jerkin’ or dougie—more baroque and with more fuzzy synths. The spirit and the energy are the same, though, and I can’t think of anything that would be better for pop’s future than cross-country dance-move battles. There must be room on cable for that somewhere.
B.O.B.—”I Am the Champion”
I still have my doubts about B.O.B.’s strengths as a rapper—especially when he follows up a claim to never being imitative with spoken asides that sound exactly like Will Smith—but he knows how to pick hooks and beats, and this is his best record since “Nothin’ On You”. His nonchalant self-absorption is almost charming, and he knows how to brag without being overbearing. If anything, he’s less of a goof here than on previous records, but he still sounds like he’s after nothing but a good time.
Train—”Shake Up Christmas (Coke Xmas Anthem)”
Since almost every band in the world hoped to wake up Christmas morning with a licensing or endorsement deal in their stocking, I can hardly blame these bozos for locking up this year’s official Coca-Cola Christmas song. Not that they need the money or the attention, but if they want to be The New Seekers of the two-teens that’s their privilege. Just as it’s my privilege to never listen to it again unless I’m stuck in a mall.