Maroon 5 featuring Christina Aguilera—”Moves Like Jagger”, #8
Javier Colon—”Fix You”, #52
Dia Frampton, “Losing My Religion”, #54
Vicci Martinez—”Dog Days Are Over”, #68
Xenia—”The Man Who Can’t Be Moved”, #92
Pitbull featuring T-Pain & Sean Paul—”Shake Senora”
This record doesn’t sound like a good fit for anyone involved—too brazen and obvious for T-Pain, but, if anything, too subtle for Pitbull, who’s better at leering and lustful growling than the lightness of touch that would be required to make this work. As for Sean Paul, only his biggest fans would notice that he’s here. It doesn’t even work as parody. All they’ve done is overemphasize what the song is already about, and not in a way that points out anything interesting. I do like Pitbull comparing booty, which reminds me of “My Gal Is Red Hot”, but the rest is a disaster.
Selena Gomez & the Scene—”Love You Like a Love Song”
One of the things I love about the production team Rockmafia is their belief in traditional pop form and structure. They’re well aware of the possibilities of emotional tension and release inherent in verse-chorus-verse form, and they do their best to take advantage of it while keeping the music itself as simple and catchy as possible. Sometimes the results sound too simple and automatic, as they do on the chorus here. But it also helps them to create classic pop moments like the first verse, as perfect a melding of music, mood, lyric, and performance as you’ll ever hear. If the rest of the song came close to it, this would be a great record. As it is, it’s only a very good one. Not that that isn’t achievement enough.
Bella Thorne & Zendaya—”Watch Me”
What’s most fascinating about this Disney-pop variation on Ke$ha is how well it works. It isn’t as brash as Ke$ha—the music is more bass heavy, and of course the “sleazy” is removed—but otherwise it would be difficult to tell the two apart. It isn’t that Ke$ha’s music is easy to imitate, but that it’s tapped into a generation’s universal mood of directionless, hyped-up energy and restlessness that, oddly enough, Disney has helped to promote and capitalize on, and maybe even helped to create. The Disney tweens of five years ago are the Ke$ha, Katy Perry, and GaGa and Glee fans of today, and it’s a sign of Disney’s marketing savvy that they’re trying to keep up with them. I don’t think they are, quite, since it’s all out of their control now, but this is a good record nonetheless, and they deserve credit for trying.
Jill Scott featuring Anthony Hamilton—”So in Love”
Reviewed in Bubbling Under, 5/14/11
Train—”Save Me, San Francisco”
The Loggins and Messina of their era, and if they’re not as irritating as, say, Rascal Flatts, it’s only because their tunes are catchier and clever self-deprecation is a part of their act. They’re just as clueless, though. They can’t even get a song about their hometown right. Except for a few obvious lyrical references, nothing about this record sounds like San Francisco. What it sounds like, instead, is an above average Rolling Stones cover band, and considering the Stone’s history in the bay area, is that really the vibe you want to go for?
Brantley Gilbert—”Country Must Be Country Wide”
True enough, but does that mean it has to be heavy metal, too?