What The Kids Are Listening To: Taio Cruz

It’s always interesting to take a peek at Billboard’s HOT HOT singles chart, the Hot 100, and to be mystified at what’s popular with our nation’s youth these days. I’m turning 40 this year, and I feel increasingly like an old fart. Last week at my favorite pizza joint (that’d be Jimmy & Joe’s in Chandler), some high school kid came over to borrow the cheese, and I was shown gratitude with a “Thank you sir.” I guess I should be happy that manners and civility are alive and well in some pockets of adolescent society, and some kids are respecting their elders. It’s just weird to be an elder.

So this week, a British newcomer named Taio Cruz vaulted to the #1 spot in the charts, knocking the Black Eyed Peas “Imma Be” from the roost. It features Ludacris (who seems very early 00’s to me). And after listening once, my thoughts are… Meh. Homogenized. Unoriginal. Annoyingly repetitive chorus. But I’m not a teenage girl – at least last I checked – and “Break Your Heart” is currently rockin’ their world.

What the Kids Are Listening to: Boom Boom Pow!

It’s weird. Will.i.am as a solo artist doesn’t really do it for me. And Fergie’s stuff – successful as she is – doesn’t hit me in the right place. But the Black Eyed Peas as a collective unit – the grooves that they lay down, even in their most mainstream form, always seem to appeal to me. I like the funky bloops, beeps and blips, what can I say? And I like the interaction between Will, Fergie, the tall one and the other guy (how’s that for lazy research?). Okay okay: apl.de.ap and Taboo (glad I looked!).

It goes back to their 1998 debut album, Behind the Front, for me. There is one track I loved from the start: “Be Free”. Listen to it here.

The #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 right now is “Boom Boom Pow” – from their forthcoming CD, The E.N.D., due June 9th. It’s nothing groundbreaking, of course, and is instantly identifiable as B.E.P. – but it bumps. And I like to bump.

I lean toward the Kids side on this one.

What the Kids Are Listening To: Asher Roth – “I Love College”

This week is pretty much the perfect storm for the music geek in me. Two new Prince albums on constant rotation (a familiar feeling from the good ol’ days), a Springsteen show on Friday, and Bruce Cockburn in Flagstaff on Saturday night. Yesiree, things are good in the Ickmusic universe this week!

So while I ponder my Ick’s Pick reviews of Lotusflow3r and MPLsound, I’m going to feed you a steaming pile of garbage. Sound good? Good! Blame it on my friend Trevor, who for some reason was hooked on MTV’s Spring Break special over the weekend (dirty old man! psst, did you record it?), and told me about a perfect candidate for this feature – a song called “I Love College”.

Intrigued, I returned to my lair tonight and dialed it up on YouTube. The next 4 minutes (which I will never get back) were spent watching a scrawny white frat-prone lad from Pennsylvania doing his best Eminem impression. With witty and incisive lyrics like: “Time isn’t wasted when you’re getting wasted”.

And you can sing along to the chorus if you choose:

Um, that party last night was awfully crazy I wish we taped it
I danced my ass off and had this one girl completely naked
Drink my drink and smoke my weed but my good friends is all I need
Pass out at 3, wake up at 10, go out to eat then do it again

I can’t rant too hard against young Asher. He’s only appealing to the lowest common denominator, and he has his payday as a result. But I still hate it. I hate it in a LFO “Summer Girls” kind of way.

Trevor, you owe me a drink.

[“I Love College” is currently #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and rising.]

What the Kids Are Listening to: Flo Rida’s “Right Round”

“You spin my head right round right round when you go down when you go down down.” Flo Rida, “Right Round”

Sigh.

Yeah, well, this is the #1 song in the country right now. I guess subtlety and any semblance of wit or originality have gone right out the window. This is an epidemic in popular music today (“Right Round” is only the latest example), and one reason I shy away from even listening to snippets of the Billboard Hot 100 singles.

How did Mr. Flo Rida comes across the Dead or Alive ‘80’s hit “You Spin Me ‘Round”, which quite obviously forms the backbone of this song? “[I]t was actually my A&R from Atlantic that brought the beat to my attention.” [source]

Now that’s inspiration.

I hope Pete Burns and Dead or Alive are seeing some fat royalty checks for this mess. I’m old and grumpy, and this… is what the kids are listening to.

What the Kids are Listening to: Katy Perry

Fresh from the Captain's Katy Perry.

Getting a high profile shout out from Mama Madge when you’ve not even released your first record sets some damned high expectations. From what I can tell of young Katy Perry it seems like she has the ability to deliver with some bombast of ‘shock and awe’. She’s got a hell of a voice and a wicked sense of humor. Think of her as the US answer to Lily Allen with a Cyndi Lauper grade voice. And while it’s not exactly taboo these days to admit to some same-sex tomfoolery, admitting to screwing around on your boyfriend with a chick just for kicks is, well, yeah.. not so taboo. Either way it’s got a funky beat and I can bug out to it. Enjoy the video and be sure to check the parodies that are cropping up all over…

Katy Perry – I Kissed a Girl (Video)

Bonus: Check out her truly excellent (albeit loose) cover of The Outfield’s “Your Love”. This scores instant points with me as this one of my favorite 80’s tunes:

Katy Perry – Use Your Love (Last.fm)

Pre-Order One of the Boys: Amazon

Links: Official Site | on Last.fm | on MySpace

What the Kids are Listening to: Juno

Juno

I had originally entitled this one What the Kids Everyone is Listening to: Juno

Up up down down left right left right B A start
Just because we use cheats doesn’t mean we’re not smart
I don’t see what anyone can see, in anyone else but you

Anyone Else but You – The Moldy Peaches

That right there pretty much sums up the wit present in each and every one of the 19 tracks comprising the #1 record in the country (it’s #1 in Digital Sales as well). It is straightforward songwriting that is simple and to the point. I’ve given this soundtrack a couple of spins and while it’s pleasant and cute it is by in large pedestrian. That said it does serve as a great compliment to the film and my favorite track is the honest and adorable version of “Anyone Else but You” performed by the stars Michael Cera and Ellen Page. It does get kudos for resurrecting Sonic Youth’s brilliant cover of The Carpenters “Superstar” and introducing the kids to the brilliance of Bowie via Mott the Hoople’s classic “All the Young Dudes”.

The Moldy Peaches – Anyone Else but You (Quicktime)

Buy Juno (Music From The Motion Picture): Rhino Direct | iTunes

What the Kids are Listening to: Flo Rida

The # 1 song in the country, folks, is “Low” by Flo Rida.

It’s your basic club hit of the month. The same machismo / underlying misogyny, the same “baby girl” references, the same drum machine programming. Same same same. But it’s blowin’ up.

What grabbed my attention and sounded the alarm on the easily annoyed side of me was the name. Flo Rida. “Flow Rider” from Florida. Clever. As the calendar turns again to another year, these are the simple things that increasingly annoy me. The simple fact that the #1 song in our nation is performed by Flo Rida. With special guest T-Pain, of course. It’s always T-Pain or Akon.

So I’m ready to join up with a label and discover some new talent. My first acts:

  • Ari Zona – Hasidic hip-hop act, a la Matisyahu, comin’ at you straight outta the deZert.
  • Cal I. Fornia – New bubblegum mainstream Country act. Sort of looks like that country guy from the first season of the “Real World”. I see duets with Kellie Pickler. I see a 21st century Hee Haw. I see him impregnating Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Jamie Lynn Spears, and Aries Spears. I see the twilight of his career spent in a trailer with Uncle Kracker and K-Fed.
  • Minnie Sota – Dammit it’s time for a Nordic Hannah Montana from the Land of 10,000 Lakes! Hit singles: “He Grabbed My Lutefisk (and Stole My Heart)” and “Ya Darn Tootin’ (I’d Move to Bemidji with You)”.

Who am I missing?

What the Kids are Listening to: Beautiful Girls

I know it’s Thursday and not Sunday, but I’ve had this one in my hopper for a day or so…

I’m going to turn on the cantankerous old man voice now: what in the heck are these kids listening to! A couple of weeks ago I had my son in the car with me and this lovely little ditty came on. My first thought was “Hmm, Ben E. King with a beat, interesting” and I was with it until I listened to the lyrics. Here’s a snippet:

You’re way too beautiful girl
That’s why it’ll never work
You’ll have me suicidal, suicidal
When you say it’s over
Damn all these beautiful girls
They only wanna do your dirt
They’ll have you suicidal, suicidal
When they say it’s over

Did he really just say suicidal? More than that, is that my 9 year old singing along!? I’ll admit that merely typing the words “In my youth” hurts, but in my youth parent advocate groups would have had Mr. Kingston in court in a heartbeat for merely suggesting suicide is cool. And yet atop the Billboard 100 this tune has sat for three weeks and not even Fergie, Timbaland nor the mighty KanYe can seem to de-throne him.

I’m interested to hear what all the faithful readers of ickmusic think of this tune. Personally, and much to my son’s displeasure, this gets switched off at the first note anytime it comes on.

Buy: Sean Kingston

Link: Official Site | MySpace

What the Kids are Listening to: A Bay Bay!

Look out, Billboard Hot 100, Hurricane Chris is stormin’ up the charts! I’ve expanded my weekly look of the Billboard Hot 100 from the top five to the top ten (since the same five songs have been in the top 5 since I started this a couple of weeks ago).

Hurricane Chris comes in at #8 this week. Chris is from Shreveport, Louisiana. He was born in 1989 (!), and he’s got a hit single. It will make you a) bob your head, b) shake your head and ponder the current state of popular music, or c) both.

Warning: whether you care for or loathe this song, the phrase “A Bay Bay, A Bay Bay” will be ringing in your head for the foreseeable future.

http://www.myspace.com/hurricane

One more thing…
A Bay Bay.
A Bay Bay.

What the Kids are Listening To: Fergie

The five top songs on this week’s Billboard Top 100 are the same as last week. Boring, but I’ll continue on with week 2 of “What the Kids are Listening To”… this week, we look at Fergie’s “Big Girls Don’t Cry”. I can’t say the song does anything for me. Very manufactured, and very much targeted to all of the young heartsick girls out there. I gotta hand it to Fergie though, she’s risen from her roots on the TV show Kids Incorporated, through her time in the Black Eyes Peas, and emerged as a very successful solo artist. Not even a little on-stage squirt in her pants will deter her or her fans.

So here’s the video. It is me, or is she dressed like a blonde Milli Vanilli at the beginning? And I love the hard-ass punk look on her band, playing what couldn’t be any further away from hard-ass or punk.

Final verdict on this one: disinterested.