1. Crazy in Love - Beyonce
I KNEW IT WAS OVER when I was in France and Crazy in Love was playing in a shoe store, and the horn hook totally sucked me right in. That horn hook is an instant party. So why are we expected to put up with a verse that is weak, flavorless, and not really even in the same rhythm afterwards?
You can do a couple of different things in the same song but only when they come from the same source of musical inspiration. The verses in this song sound like a mistake and if you don’t feel that way now, you will. It’s a classic case of starting with an intense crazy hook and then not having the musical muscle to build something around it that isn’t just an intermission until the song starts again. Also, the hook has a leading tone in it that the rest of the instruments and song act like isn’t there. Don’t ignore those leading tones if you put them in there. People notice, and people talk.
2. Single Ladies - Beyonce
Single Ladies is a piece of shit. I know, you love the energy, the video — which I hate — is like a real feminist masterpiece, etc., etc. But this song… is such a piece of shit! I wonder what Lou Reed thinks of the state of his beloved American music now. The lyrics are luckily okay, but musically this is like an assignment written while the teacher was taking attendance.
Once again, the bangin’ hook takes center stage and then a flimsy bunch of musical movie set flats, but in this case it’s like an aspect ratio fail. The sampled sounds, that 8-bit dog barking, tin foil guiro, and shitty distorted guitar, and the hilarious ‘waves’… good grief. The bridge really doesn’t do anything to the source material, it’s just a different thought and follows a long tradition of iffy Motown bridges. If your song rocks, you don’t need a bridge. This song has no bass line, except the really shit phony strings the laid over the chorus which don’t emphasize the hooky harmonies but instead make them trite. If George Lucas could afford an insanely bangin’ score for Star Wars, why can’t Beyonce’s team come up with something thats not tenth-rate?
3. ANYTHING by Lady Gaga
I don’t know what some people think they’re doing making music. Even my mom likes Lady Gaga so I’m not sure I have much of a leg to stand on with this one. When I first saw a photo of her, I thought her music would sound like she looks, and I was excited.
It reminds me of the story that Tom Smith from To Live and Shave in L.A. started his band after seeing a picture of the Sex Pistols and imagining what they sounded like. I wish Gaga had half the talent organizing sounds that she has organizing outfits but really, all of her hits, and I just listened to them all, they just make me want want to kill myself. Someone please give this person a music lesson. Maybe she should hire these dorks. The bass line they added to this tune is light years beyond what Gaga seems to be capable of. Bass lines, people. They totally matter.
4. You’re Beautiful - James Blunt
Talk about wasting a really great name. This guy could have been the most righteously baptized hiphop wizard but decided to make soft adult contemp. Something was sure to go wrong. Witness this song, You’re Beautiful. The lyrics are some of the most illiterate I’ve ever seen. I think you have to be blunted to get it. He sees the girl who he describes as an ‘angel’ on the subway, he talks about having a plan, but uh, the plan never materializes. No further references to any plan.
Later the ‘angel’ is someone else. “There must be an angel with a smile on her face, when she thought up that I should be with you.” I’m not making this up. He introduces the object of his love as an angel right at the start, and then only other time he says angel it’s not her. He switches tenses in a chorus that’s four lines long, “I saw your face, in a crowded place, and I don’t know what to do.” He goes from referring to her in the third person to the first and back a couple times.
It’s a train wreck musically, too. When I listen to the chord progression all I can think of is the opening music to The Office, which is not exactly a good association for a heartfelt love song. He chooses to go to the sad minor chord for “I don’t know what to do,” and then resolves to the happy major chord on the line “’cause I’ll never be with you” like he’s some stalker who doesn’t want to actually deal with her humanity. So in the end his name suits him, since this tune is basically an incoherent stoner-stalker anthem.