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.
ARTIST: Owl City
Conklin: So Owl City is just one dude, Adam Young, who simply cannot manage to get the Postal Service’s “Such Great Heights”out of his head, which is understandable, of course, on account of it being one of the best pop songs of the decade. Young sounds exactly like Ben Gibbard, to the point where you’re almost embarrassed for him: Gibbard’s style——his phrasing, his tone—is distinctive enough that, in indie/emo circles, it’s about as easy to recognize as someone doing a Bob Dylan or Cher impersonation. “Fireflies”is full of exactly the same type of lighthearted electronic indie-pop that made the Postal Service so likable, but it’s also about how awesome fireflies are, so, you know, it’s not even a little bit likable.
Dougherty: A couple years ago, when hellogoodbye had that one pretty great song, it almost seemed like auto-tune and whatever program the Postal Service were using could actually make commercial emo more fun, at least when the people making it had a sense of humor. Instead, we got so-goofy-it’s-ignorant bullshit like 3OH!3 and, on the other end, this weak sort of fantasy poetry about wanting to dream more because, you know, whimsy. Huh? If a grown man really wrote this line about getting “a thousand hugs from 10,000 lightning bugs,”then I don’t know, maybe misogyny and deaf-bashing are the way to go.
Conklin: Iyaz has some sort of connection to Sean Kingston, and the internet even seems to think Kingston may have written this song. It would make sense, I guess, since it’s exactly the type of big-budget, high-gloss “reggae”that Kingston has singlehandedly made my favorite genre of music. It’s about shorties, mostly: loving shorties, talking on the phone with shorties, meeting shorties at the mall…lots of things having to do with shorties. Anyway, Iyaz thinks this one particular shorty is like a melody that’s stuck in his head, or like an iPod that’s stuck on replay, even though the actual iPod function is called repeat, not replay. Silly, yes, but I will definitely never change the station if this song comes on.
Dougherty: Iyaz was apparently discovered by Sean Kingston, and most listings of “Replay,”which is mostly harmless but no “Beautiful Girls,”say Kingston appears somewhere on the track. But thank god this is (probably) not true, because that would be one crazy, J.R. Rotem-meets-Parent Trap mindfuck, where it’d be impossible to tell where one fake-Jamaican dude ends and the other fake-Jamaican dude begins. Iyaz’s MySpace bio details how he was discovered by Kingston, how they “grubbed on delicious chicken”together, and how his music is inspired by “island shorties.”NB: Miami is not an island.