Hey, it’s Popscene! Our monthly feature in which Mike Conklin and our new editor, Sharon Steel, climb out from under their indie-rockist, um, rock, to find out what regular people all over the country are listening to. This week’s installment features selections from the iTunes music store.
Title: All Summer Long Artist: Kid Rock Mike: In the L Magazine office, we talk constantly about artists who prey on their audience’s urge to congratulate one another on having the same set of cultural reference points, á la Girl Talk or, to some extent, the Hold Steady — and ol’ Bob Ritchie is getting in on the act now, too, cleverly (sorry, I think it’s clever) using the keyboard part from ‘Werewolves of London’ for the verses of ‘All Summer Long’, while the chorus comes courtesy ‘Sweet Home Alabama’. It’s a cheap way of connecting, perhaps, but it works. Sharon: Back in 1989, Kid Rock was just a long-haired, short-thinking Michiganite known to his pal as Bob Ritchie. He had a history, y’all, and he’s going to tell you all about it in this song — you want to know, don’t you? Of course you do! ‘All Summer Long’ functions as a flashback to simpler times, when, as Rock wistfully notes, “We didn’t have no Internet.” Because if you lack the option to compulsively blog about things, it’s a lot easier to appreciate the moonlight shining on the hair of the underage girl you’re about to get your slam on with. So comforting, those good old days. Trashy summer jams do have their place, and I wouldn’t mind this dubious page ripped out of Rock’s diary as much if I didn’t truly loathe ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ — which Rock consistently refers to and samples the shit out of — with a passion. My teeth throw up when I hear that guitar solo.
Title: Whatever You Like Artist: T.I. Mike: Pardon me for being blunt, but T.I. is a dick. In the intro to the video for this song (which has a somewhat memorable melody but is bogged down by the kind of references to booze and jewelry and money that I cannot believe people still enjoy), he’s at a fast food restaurant, placing his order with the star-struck girl working the counter, and not once does he say please or thank you. He’s like, “Y’all got hot wings? Hot wings, baby, do you have any?” Gross, especially considering the song’s chorus, which features the line, “I could treat you so special, so nice.” Perhaps, T.I., you should start with some simple manners. That way you might not even have to “gas up the jet” just to get yourself laid. Ugh, what a dick. Sharon: Diamonds! Expensive sushi dinners! Patron on ice! A five million dollar home! Private flights on a jet! I mean, “you want it, I got it,” and T.I. isn’t joking. Did he release this single because he knew it would grip the hearts of so many femme fatales who can no longer afford to get their hair did at expensive salons or buy designer jeans, now that the economy is totally sucko and you have to choose between eating or buying gas? Perhaps. Either way, T.I. happens to encourage the kind of gold-digging Kanye frowns upon. The former enjoys it when his girlicious lady friends are utterly superficial and completely co-dependent. Depth is for poor people and surface-level sex is for attractive, wealthy men. ‘Whatever You Like’ is the beginning of a very unhealthy relationship. Nevertheless, I dig the video-game-sounding hook.
Title: So What Artist: Pink Mike: Pink, I know that you are a famous and therefore allowed to exist in whatever state of suspended adolescence you desire, but you’re almost 30. Do you really want to go get into a fight? Isn’t that kind of stupid? I’d be willing to accept such idiotic lyrics if I just thought you were blowing off steam, but I think you just might be dumb enough to actually go out and get into a fight. Kelly would never do that. Kelly who? See below. Sharon: Praise everything: we finally have something to replace ‘Since U Been Gone’ in the cannon of douchebag breakup kiss-offs. Not only do I dearly love this song, I love that Pink somehow roped the ex-Mr. Pink, Corey Hart — the dude she spends almost four minutes griping about in this very track — into co-starring in the video. God, this bitch has balls. ‘So What’ is maybe the musical equivalent of the Ryan Gosling/Rachel McAdams reunion pictures that have been circulating lately: it gives me hope. Are you listening, Kelly Clarkson? This is how you get over people right quick.
Title: The Day That Never Comes Artist: Metallica Mike: I’ve been particularly hard on Metallica over the past few years, partially because off their crusade against file-sharing, and partially because of that documentary where they collectively go see a therapist for fuck’s sake, but mostly because they’ve become such a terrible band, purveyors of characterless, faux-angry alt-rock. I heard some folks saying that this song, the first single off their upcoming record, was supposed to be a return to form, and it is. Or, at least it’s a step in the right direction. Hilariously long, complicated guitar intro? Check. Total length just under eight minutes? Check. Shredding? Check. Which reminds me, actually: In that horrible documentary, there’s a scene where drummer Lars Ulrich says he worries that guitar solos will make them sound dated, and Kirk Hammet, who obviously never says anything, gets all loud and goes, “No! We’re dating ourselves by not having guitar solos.” Way to go, Kirk. They finally listened. Sharon: I feel guilty, nervous, and insecure whenever I listen to Metallica. They don’t like file-sharing loafers who have no respect for the hierarchical nature of the music industry. Which means they don’t like me. Being a fan of Rick Rubin’s production, I had hope for this one, but ‘The Day That Never Comes’ is nearly eight minutes long and gives me heart palpitations worse than that moment during the opening ceremony of the Olympics when actual people popped out of the blocks that everyone in the world thought were a CGI illusion. •