Hey, it’s Pop Scene! Our monthly feature in which Mike Conklin and Mark Asch 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.
Title: Gives You Hell
Artist: The All-American Rejects
Mike: These dudes are leaders of the mall-punk/emo world, and while they’ve always had an undeniable knack for melody, their large-scale success has also caused them to adopt an infuriating smugness, which is on full display on “Gives You Hell,” a song in which singer Tyson Ritter delivers a big fuck-you to an ex who’s stuck in the suburbs working a 9 to 5 job. It’s totally mean-spirited and, as is the case with all these silly emo bands, they never present any evidence that the female character being told to fuck off ever actually did anything wrong. So in that way, it’s terrible, but it also appeals to a very, very childish part of me that gets off on meanness in music, especially hip-hop. As Ritter sings the line, “When you hear this song and you sing along, I hope it gives you hell,” I feel the same type of glee I feel when I hear Jay-Z say “You little fuck, I’ve got money stacks bigger than you.”
Mark: Or, rather, “I hope to heaven you’re miserable now.” Maybe emo singers would have fewer bitter breakups to sing about if they were not such selfish, emotionally stunted manchildren. This may come as something of a surprise to some of our younger readers, but the emo genre’s “sensitivity” wasn’t always code for “whiny thin-skinned self-centeredness,” god, can’t you just get over her by crying in your room to a Promise Ring record like a fucking grown-up?
Title: The Climb
Artist: Miley Cyrus
Mike: If I were forced to choose between Miley Cyrus as the Avril-lite punk/emo singer she played on “7 Things I Hate About You” and Miley Cyrus as the Taylor-lite high-gloss country singer she’s playing on “The Climb,” I would surely go with the former, if only because it’s the style that does the better job concealing the fact that she is absolutely terrible at singing.
Mark: The class of 2013’s yearbook quotes today!
Title: Kiss Me Thru the Phone
Artist: Soulja Boy
Mike: Well, this is certainly surprising. Soulja Boy, he of “Crank That” fame, has released a song called “Kiss Me Thru the Phone,” and somehow, it doesn’t even seem to be about phone sex, which is completely fucked. As far as I can tell, he’s just calling his girlfriend and apologizing for not being able to be with her for the next few hours, letting her know that he really loves her and misses her and that he’d even like her to be his wife some day. All he wants in return, apparently, is for her to make a kissy sound into the receiver. It’s quaint, really, and also completely boring. I’m still totally on his side in his feud with Ice-T, though. Seriously, search for it on YouTube.
Mark: When you consider how many people are involved in the making of a major-label hip-hop release, it’s incredibly disappointing to realize that no one, evidently, saw fit to point out that a song called “Kiss Me Thru the Phone” should be about phone sex and should have a talking part breakdown. Like, dig: [Sound of a phone going: Beep boop boop beep beep beep boop beep boop beep. A “Crank That” ringtone. Baby Girl picks up.] Baby Girl: Hello? Soulja Boy: Aw hey there baby girl, how you doing? Baby Girl: Hey boy, I sure do miss you. Soulja Boy: I miss you, too, you bein’ good while I’m out on the road? Baby Girl: Mmm, baby, it’s all good... And so on. Ideally this interlude would conclude with the two of them making squelchy kissing noises to each other, over the phone. Repeat chorus, and out. Seriously. No one thought of this?
Title: I Love College
Artist: Asher Roth
Mike: Yeah, it’s called “I Love College” and it’s actually much, much worse than you think it’s going to be. It’s basically like collegehumor.com, but a song.
Mark: See, this is ironic, because I loved college too, except for the part where I had to share it with people like Asher Roth.
Title: Hot Revolver
Artist: Lil Wayne
Mike: The problem with rappers flashing any kind of fondness for rock music is that, with very few exceptions, they all have terrible taste in it, which is one of the many reasons Wayne’s guitar-wielding (or, more accurately, guitar holding) experiment is such a tremendous failure. It’s a shame that he’s utterly incapable of spotting the differences between his own very real weirdness and the dopey faux-outsider, tough-guy schtick employed by all the alt-rock dudes he’s turning to for inspiration.
Mark: Has Weezy just forgotten that he can sample reheated anodyne guitar riffs, rather than paying this probably made-up “Kevin Rudolf” person to generate new ones? Or maybe Kevin Rudolf is Weezy, in White Chicks makeup.