Pop Scene 

Hey, it's Pop Scene! Our monthly feature in which Mike Conklin and Mike Dougherty climb out from under their indie-rockist, um, rock, to find out what regular people all over the country are listening to. This installment features selections from the iTunes music store.

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Title: I Gotta Feeling
Artist: Black Eyed Peas

Conklin: First of all, it would be nice if just once I could take part in a Pop Scene that does not include a song by Fergie or the Black Eyed Peas. Second, the only people who could possibly enjoy this song are the ones who rent houses in, like, Southhampton or whatever — not the rich ones, but the sorta trashy, barely post-college kids who go to all those gross bars where the women with fake boobs hang out. I'm now unable to erase this image of douchebags and their girlfriends drinking Coors Light while shaving or popping their collars, getting ready for a long night of date-rape and vomiting. Omigod, so catchy, though, right??? Also, I think they mean "I've Gotta Feeling," or maybe just "I've Got a Feeling," since the colloquial "gotta" doesn't really serve any purpose here.

Dougherty: At first I thought will.I.Am meant jumping off the sofa to be a party activity, since jumping off of furniture is way fun, as I'm sure all four members of the Black Eyed Peas are aware. But then I realized he's actually imploring you to get off the sofa to go out, meaning there's zero partying actually going down in this song, just lots of talking about it. And talking endlessly about how awesome your night is going to be means, of course, that your night will never live up to your expectations, you will spend all of your money getting way too drunk, and it will take you at least an hour and a half to get home on the subway, tired, sad and poor. Unless you live in another city and own a car, or are will.I.Am and own a hologram machine.

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Title: Best I Ever Had
Artist: Drake

Conklin: I don't know who this person is, but I believe I heard something on the BET Awards about him being on Degrassi or, like, Hannah Montana or something? I'm sure Dougherty will clear it up for us below, 'cause he's all into that shit. But anyway, what we have here is pretty much the standard "I really like you, woman, and because I'm so nice, I even like you in your sweatpants" song. It's stupid, basically. But I'm really into this one part where Drake repeatedly mutters, in this super creepy voice, "You the fucking best, you the fucking best, you the fucking best." Then there's a line about how he's going to make a woman's vagina whistle the Andy Griffith theme song, and while I'm less into that part, I think it would be really cool if that could really happen. Or if that had happened on Degrassi, I should say.

Dougherty: Drake's stint on Degrassi might just seem like a hilarious bit of backstory, and it totally is, but it actually sort of launched his career, too. See, Drake, or Aubrey Graham, played Jimmy Brooks, a basketball star who got framed by his best friend Spinner in a prank where Spinner and Jay, the school's resident bad seed, dumped paint and feathers on crazypants Rick during a trivia contest, and Rick came back to school with a gun and shot Jimmy, paralyzing him for life. He still maintained an on-again-off-again romance with Ashley, his bandmate in Downtown Sasquatch, which lead singer Craig once compared to Death Cab and Neutral Milk Hotel even though they sounded exactly like Maroon 5. (He also had a short fling with Hazel, the other token black character, and then almost with Ellie, who discovered his hidden talent as a comic book artist. She was still totally into Craig, though. It was super obvious.) Eventually he rapped at a talent show over one of Ashley's songs, thus beginning his music career; but on CTV he never said anything quite so creepy and weird as "get it from the back and make your fuckin' bra strap pop." Fingers crossed Leighton Meester's dance-pop debut gets similar treatment when Gossip Girl comes back.

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Title: Love Game
Artist: Lady Gaga

Conklin: By keeping up this act wherein, just like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga swears up and down that she's in on the joke, that her music and her celebrity status in general is more commentary on the current state of celebrity in America than anything else, she's made it so that even if one were inclined to enjoy her songs on a purely visceral, "hey, that song just made my hips move!" level, there's so much alleged winking that the whole thing is just completely unbearable. Not that this song is enjoyable, mind you, not with a refrain of "I want to take a ride on your disco stick," and certainly not with that one terrible line where she pronounces "stupid" like Kate Winslet so that it will better rhyme with cupid.

Dougherty: Based on what I've heard, intelligent people are supposed to like Lady Gaga because her songs are mostly about sex, and not just the calm, innocuous sort of sex that other pop singers have boringly covered for the past half-century, but cool, weird sex that involves gender-bending and bondage and other pop star taboos. The specific appeal isn't exactly clear, and I thought that people who had more seasoned views of human sexuality were less, not more, likely to use such horribly awkward come-ons as "I'm educated in sex" and "I want to ride on your disco stick." Then again, maybe all the cool kids are out there posting missed connections about each other's disco sticks while the rest of us are just buying each other drinks like a bunch of asexual jerks. I hope not, though.

Title: Second Chance
Artist: Shinedown

Conklin: How fucking old are these people? And why are they still so concerned with what their parents think about them deciding to be in an idiotic alt-rock band instead of doing something more respectable, like becoming accountants or veterinarians or armed robbers? Oh, I know: they're not, actually — they already got rich and bought houses for their parents, so that's probably been squared away. Now they're just preying on teenagers who want their parents to accept them for who they are, which we should all hope they do not. At least not until their kids develop better taste in things.

Dougherty: The dude from Shinedown looks a lot like Criss Angel, and it sounds like he has a pretty similar grasp of science. First, Halley's Comet waves, which causes the man on the moon to disappear. But he doesn't just disappear — he disappears into the stratosphere. Which is part of the earth's atmosphere. So this comet that's really far from the earth for most of a century causes the surface of the moon to rub off onto the planet that it orbits. And what does all of this mean? That our narrator is not resentful of his parents, but needs them to know that he is an independent person. His parents, we are to assume, are both astronomers.

Title: Every Girl
Artist: Young Money

Conklin: The point of this song is simple: Lil Wayne and Young Money want to have sex with every girl in the world. They want to have sex with strippers, with the cast of Desperate Housewives, with Hillary Clinton, with Angelina Jolie, with Miley Cyrus when she turns 18, and with lots of other women too. Probably you, even, because as they say, "It don't matter who you is, Miss, you can get the business." Word to the wise, though — if you've got Wayne doing a verse on a song, you should consider putting it at the end, so that the last three minutes isn't an inevitable letdown.

Dougherty: Jesus, more Drake? Is the label really pushing this kid so hard, they're willing to send a track with Mack Maine saying "I exchange V-cards with the retards" to radio stations just to get their rising star more airtime? I guess this song is meant to showcase Lil Wayne's Young Money subsidiary of Cash Money Records. And it's actually kind of sad how much of a missed opportunity it is — Wayne does fine rapping the thoughts of a 12-year-old, then rolls out each member of the Young Money crew in descending order of talent: the stiff and postured Drake, so-so Jae Millz, newcomer Gudda Gudda, then the always terrible Mack Maine. Supposedly, this is the first single from a forthcoming Young Money full-length, which is sure to become Wayne's D-12. •


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