Bubbling Under—2/28/11

DJ Khaled featuring Rick Ross, Plies, Lil Wayne & T-Pain—”Welcome To My Hood”

You don’t tamper with the formula, even if your hooks are getting a little worn and the minor changes you make to the beats don’t fool anybody. This is more of the same, only less; the urgency of Khaled’s first couple of singles is long gone, and now it’s just a bunch of rappers doing the guy a favor. T-Pain’s hook goes nowhere; Rick Ross is slightly above average; Lil Wayne, as usual, gets off the best line (“I talk a lot of shit and I practice what I preach”); and Plies is, much to my surprise, bearable. But what’s the point?

The Avett Brothers—”Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise”

A Grammy approved, elegiac waltz with intensely sincere vocals and lyrics that suggest major trouble but never explain what kind; if this is the best (or only) thing alt-country has to offer, I think I’ll stick to the mainstream.

Mike Posner featuring Lil Wayne—”Bow Chicka Wow Wow”

Posner is a problem. He’s a good producer—this is an interesting mix of hip-hop suggestiveness and rock-based electric-guitar balladry—but what he produces is schmaltz. Even when he’s trying his best to sound like Lil Wayne if Lil Wayne could sing, nothing comes through but the fact that he’s a generally nice guy who’s a complete failure at trying to sound tough. Meanwhile, Lil Wayne talks shit again, and practices what he preaches. As does the guitar solo.

Selena Gomez—”Shake It Up”

Gomez is always better the further away from Disney she gets, and though this theme song for a new series is closer to what she’s done on her own, it’s still a Disney series theme song, which means it’s corny in ways that are definite yet difficult to pin down. Let’s just say that’s it’s totally non-threatening; it doesn’t promise anything but a good time. One that doesn’t involve sex, alcohol, or drugs, that is. It does contain sugar, though—lots and lots of sugar.