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Any opinion of Millionaires? They seem like a really cheap, bad version of Ke$ha, but a cheap, bad version of Ke$ha doesn't particularly violate the spirit of Ke$ha (though the comparison only works best if one notices only the party-'n-excess Ke$ha without the rest of her). Also, it turns out that Millionaires' early singles predate Ke$ha hitting the Top 40, so influence may run two ways here or might not be direct but just a similar milieu or zeitgeist. Also, I like Millionaires' live cover of "My Chick Bad" (the studio version is drier).

Also, "cheap and bad" isn't always bad. Also, I kind of like "Drinks On Me," at least when it reaches the chorus. And the video is clever:

Drinks On Me )

They're no Ke$ha, or Dev, but I'm not here to think about their relative merit so much as to compare and contrast them to Simon & Garfunkel in order to sketch out my ideas about social class. Well, won't even sketch the ideas, just say that "upper-middle-working-class," while often playing a role, is conceived too broadly to describe how we perceive/conceive social class in our immediate experience. (The word "immediate" is my fudge factor here.)

Critical Thinkers And Party Pukers )
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 photo Keha mouth open.jpg

Presumably if somehow Ke$ha and I are talking at a party, she realizes that I don't come without chitchat, so the admonition "Don't be a little bitch with your chitchat" isn't in play. Or if it's in play, it's in play as an energy force, without regard to the particular meanings of the particular words. She's got a gale force to match my own gale, and her wind seems ultimately benign, even if I'm not her type. And yeah, some people'll die brushing their teeth with jack – Ke$ha maybe being the gateway that lets them latch onto the dissolution-as-heroism thing in order to rationalize their own turning of the lights out. And other people will be saved, her body and tattered demeanor and raggy voice validating their own bodies and ragged looks and blistered throats. It's not necessary or possible to count up the bodies and see if it "evens out" – they're all part of a gestalt, air currents and countercurrents. And if you want a different party, you better make your party a better party.

I don't think you get her full-force without Benny Blanco. I imagine him in conversation with Luke and the others, or just leading by example, showing that you don't get force from volume, you get it from propulsion. Benny, the man who saved Luke. Superball beats, a coiled spring let loose that carries all the other sounds with it, in Ke$ha's case unexpected prettiness; bright tunes in a tumultuous night.

1. Ke$ha ft. 3OH!3 "Blah Blah Blah"
2. Selena Gomez & the Scene "Naturally"
3. Roach Gigz "Pop Off"
4. Jenni Vartiainen "En Haluu Kuolla Tänä Yönä"
5. Lil Wayne ft. Eminem "Drop The World"
6. DJ Sbu "Vuvuzela Bafana"
7. Little Big Town "Little White Church"
8. Girl Unit "Wut"
9. After School "Bang!"
10. I Blåme Coco ft. Robyn "Caesar"
11 through 45 )
46. Marina And The Diamonds "Hollywood"
47. 2NE1 "Can't Nobody"
48. Rocket From The Tombs "I Sell Soul"
49. Marina And The Diamonds "I Am Not A Robot"
50. Martina McBride "Wrong Baby Wrong Baby Wrong"
51. Sidney Samson "Riverside"
52. DJ DOC "Together (Remix)"
53. Jessie J. "Do It Like A Dude"
54. Sade "Soldier Of Love"
55. Ga-In "Irreversible"
56 through 95 )

Comin' out my mouth wi my blah blah blah )

Glistening black and bits of white )

I got the bang bang, if you know what I mean )

I'm in love with this song )

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Top five Ke$ha tracks*:

1. Blah Blah Blah
2. Backstabber
3. Party At A Rich Dude's House
4. Cannibal
5. Boots & Boys

The one of these that Lex might like if he didn't know whom it was by would be "Backstabber." There's a chance he'd like "Boots & Boys" as well.

*This does not count the Ke$ha vs. L'Trimm mashup, which if it were eligible would be between 4 and 6. (It will however qualify as a single on my year-end singles list by virtue of The Boots Are Singles Rule.**)

**This Rule doesn't make "Boots & Boys" eligible as a single, however.
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The retail season is vroomin' up the hillside. Four women, a couple of guys, a new girl and the panorama wide open.

Ke$ha )

Willow )

Taylor Swift )

Kanye West )

Taylor Swift )

Katy Perry )

Chris Brown )
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Wrote this album wrap-up in response to Greg over on my singles thread, so might as well give it its own post. I've let album-listening slide, so I need to do lots of exploring. These are my top five:

Ke$ha's Animal: her vision or shtick is up my alley, and is pretending to come from an alley, but her lyrics could use stronger, more original images, and her voice is opening-act raw; yet somehow she's the only Top 40 star who knows what she's doing this year, the only one to sound like she's riding the current dance-pop mess rather than just trying to grab hold somewhere, balances ugliness and prettiness, storm and calm, etc. "Blah Blah Blah" is my favorite and after that the best stuff hasn't been singles: "Backstabber," a hint of Latin freestyle, the words being a bitch-fest about a gossip but the music bouncing the words around in the rhythm so much that Ke$ha hardly sounds unhappy; "Boots And Boys," which compares boys to boots, loves them both, tries them on, they got her looking rad, while a quagmire bass tries to pull her under but she floats blissfully above it; and "Party At A Rich Dude's House," sounding like Dr. Luke finally getting the loud-blaring-chorus-thing right, the melody lifting the song without blasting our ears off, except Luke actually had nothing to do with the song (is Ke$ha, Shellback, and Benny Blanco; but Luke restrains his own blare effectively on "TiK ToK" and "Take It Off"). In any event, for all the puke-slinging etc. the album is surprisingly pretty.

Marina And The Diamonds The Family Jewels, ridiculous lyrics coming across as if she's just discovered rebellion and originality, and she sounds like a heavily overburdened posh woman in the throes of letting loose, and I'm charmed.

Princesa Más Fuego, which Princesa herself posts on Mediafire for legal free download (all her links are on her Facebook); a reggaeton ball of fire from Argentina, got the ugly reggaeton yammering bit down but also what sounds like grief and dreaminess, even with a rough not particularly flexible voice; you may have heard the title track if you were following Argentina in the Pop World Cup.

E.via Must Have (EP), which even for an EP is scattershot in tone and quality, and through my cultural misunderstandings of Korea and my non-knowledge of the language I'm basically inventing her in my mind, so this account may have nothing to do with reality but... I imagine her as what I wish Gaga were, someone critiquing the sex sell while selling herself sexily in both a cute and threatening manner, and crucially she really can rap with force, while doing all the tuneful Asian chirpy things well.

Various Artists Shangaan Electro, South African speed dance with bubbling "marimba" keyboards; I like the fast burbles and the slow rich voices.

And that's all I've got for you, though I now possess the new Jamey Johnson without having had a chance to listen. Listened once to Chely Wright's Lifted Off The Ground and it feels like a potential grower, she now being more singer-songwriter than country, writing and singing with gentleness. Hurts' Happiness may also be a grower: only has one wonderful "Wonderful Life," but in general their dourness doesn't weigh down their prettiness as much as I'd feared, in fact the two facets sometimes work well together. Also intend to give Traband's Domasa and Kelis's Flesh Tone further listens, 'cause they have good stuff on them though so far they haven't hit me as much as they hit Chuck and Dave, respectively.

Disappointments: Little Big Town, Shontelle, A-Trak, Nina Sky, Lillix, though I've not listened all through the last two and only listened to the first two once.
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I write funny comment in Jukebox Ke$ha thread. (Also contains Taylor content, and Stones.)
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As predicted, Far East Movement leap into the Top 40, only the third Korean Americans ever to do so, as far as I know (Joe Hahn of Linkin Park and Amerie are the other two), and the first from Korea Town; don't know if or how that contributes to their sound, though maybe someone on my flist will have an idea. It's the two Asian guys in Linkin Park who are responsible for Linkin Park's DJ and hip-hop element, if that's significant. Far East Movement also come from the DJ-producer end of things. On the basis of a half hour's searching on Google etc. I'm surmising Far East Movement belong to some L.A. electroclub scene, though who knows, they may just be following their own style. The Cataracs, who apparently wrote and produced the track, are from Berkeley and have a tangential relationship to hyphy but they seem much more "club." Actually, the Cataracs are willing to list themselves as "indie pop" (among other things) on their MySpace, though I'm damned if I know why. Maybe they're indie pop in the same way that 3OH!3 are, which isn't very indie. I'd have fun saying that this sort of stuff splits the difference between Ke$ha and jerk, but that's probably not right. Is probably less teenage than jerk is (Far East Movement have been an act for seven years), and probably from an older electrobrat tradition than Ke$ha's. Colette Carr's effectively insinuating "Back It Up" may be relevant here; also "Booty Bounce" by Dev, which "Like A G6" builds around three lines from, though "Like A G6" is far better.

(Also, interesting stuff happening in K-pop, as 2NE1 release three videos in one day. I may post on that later today, on lj or over on the ilX K-pop thread.)

In other chart news, Katy displaces Eminem on top, which must mean that it's her tying him to the bed.

Far East Movement )

Cee-Lo )

Sean Kingston )
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Two at least nominally country tracks jump high quickly.

Taylor Swift )

Kenny Chesney )

Ke$ha )

Linkin Park )
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Mid-Year Lists 2010

Singles First Half 2010: "Blah Blah Blah" is the big hairy dance-mess that's dancing over the world, while Aggro and Dizzee are the only other representatives here of 2010's dance-pop mess. Not enough country on this list, and at this time of year that's usually my fault, but this time I think it's country's. (Probably not enough dancehall or hip-hop or kuduro either, but vuvuzelas are represented.)

Singles First Half 2010 )

New year's irresolution: I did not begin the year by saying to myself, "2010 will be the year when I actually like a Katie Melua single."

My tracks list (as opposed to this singles list, though with huge overlap) is over on poptimists.

Country Singles First Half 2010 )

Albums First Half 2010: Hmmm. I think I've listened to a grand total of eleven new albums. Now, hearing a lot by a performer can definitely enrich my understanding of that performer, albums at times can feed and grow wonderfully as tracks interact, etc., but I'm swamped in music coming at me from all directions, and I just don't know where people get the time. Here's my list so far:

Albums First Half 2010 )

Video: Here's a vid:

h/t Mat
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Over on the poptimists weekly roundup I talked about party pop getting reinvented as a bright bubbling dance mess, Tinie Tempeh being the latest example but this also relating to what Dave and Tal were saying yesterday in regard to Missy and Ke$ha playing footsie with the centering/de-centering thing. Here's how I said it on [livejournal.com profile] poptimists (and you should click the link up top 'cause my other write-ups included a PUN; also, there's a discussion of whether the weekly poll is worth saving):

Tinie Tempeh ft. Labrinth "Frisky": "Rap going pop" doesn't capture what's happening with this any more than it captures what's happening w/ Ke$ha, DeRulo, GaGa, BEP, et al. in the States: party pop is being reinvented as a bright bubbling dance mess, and it's pretty damn interesting (though I wish competing messes like hyphy and jerk also got chart representation*). "Frisky" doesn't capture late-night haze and aggression as well as "Pass Out" did, but it does a fine job of making blips and burbles and slow screws and fast pat-downs sound like party favors. A barely distinct soul voice arrives near the end - "it wanna feelin' yeah" is what I get - providing a sudden ache while a comfortable voice in the lower register cheerfully assures us that we're frisky. TICK.

*Cali Swag District's "Teach Me How To Dougie" is rising through the lower reaches in the U.S., stretching all the way up to 81 in the Hot 100 (26 in hip-hop/r&b). Not that its sound is a mess (is even sparer than most jerk**, actually), just that its bass and brattiness deserve their place in the general social cacophony.

**I suppose the dance is the Dougie (originating in Dallas), but I assume that this band, from SoCal, is part of the overall jerk scene; not that I'd know.

Frisky vid )

Dougie vid )
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Posted this on Brad Nelson's Tumblr (in response to his saying that he's been thinking of dub as the center while being concurrently aware that there is no center and there never was):

I once argued that dub was central, or at least deserved pride of place as a fountain that watered a number of neighboring fields, while saying that sonically what it did was to take out its own center. Here's where I tried to turn this idea into sense (but I then never tried to follow up on the thought).

Someone ought to pick up the thought and carry it somewhere.
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Eminem enters at the top, accusing his recent album of being "Ehhhhh."

Eminem )

3OH!3 )

Glee Cast )

Drake )

Young Jeezy )

The Black Eyed Peas )
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Jonathan and Tal take issue with an obviously snarky photo equation, Erika correctly points out that it may not be snarky (I'm not sure she's right, but she makes a case), and I pitch in with what I think Taylor and Ke$ha may have in common:

They both have something of a killer instinct (though maybe it's Benny Blanco who deserves the credit for Ke$ha's), they're both musically opportunistic, they're both willing to hurt people with song, and - for all Taylor's reflectiveness - they're both riding a mess of emotion. In any event, last week I was fantasizing that Taylor would go to Benny Blanco and say, "I want to do a couple of tracks that have the eruption that you achieved in 'Blah Blah Blah.'" I'm totally certain that Taylor could pull it off. I also think she needs to try. (But these singers are always so hesitant to take my advice; I don't know what's wrong with them.)
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The top eight remains* unchanged, with "Hey Soul Sister" still too close to the top at number 3. Top eight seems unusually many for such stasis, but I actually haven't been tracking change versus unchange in the top ten except to notice the top three, usually. Ke$ha's "Your Love Is My Drug" re-enters the top 40, possibly as an official single, though this seems owing to popular demand (last I'd heard, "Take It Off" was being touted), "Your Love Is My Drug" already getting unsolicited airplay, perhaps. In this instance the populace is wrong, since "Your Love Is My Drug" is the least inventive or distinctive track on Animal. Flogs its clichés, eats, shoots, and leaves.**

Usher )

Diddy - Dirty Money )

*Uncertain whether this should be "remain" or "remains," but I went with the latter since I'm considering "top eight" as a collective singular*** like the top ten or the top forty, and I'm pointing out that this entity is unchanged in its constitution (i.e. song order), not that this song and that song and all songs within it remain unchanged in their individual constitutions. (This latter point is an oblique reference to events in Kyrgyzstan, pronounced /ˈkɜrɡɪstɑːn/; KUR-gi-stahn.)

**Do like the part in the middle eight where Ke$ha breaks into a compulsive-percussive breakbeat repetition of the phrase "your drug."

***Of course, with rock groups, for instance, I've been treating the collective as plural no matter what, simply as a convention since I habitually end up using the third-person plural pronoun as soon as a pronoun is necessary, so decided to go plural all the way. So, you know Public Enemy are punk rockers 'cause they bitch about rock crits and airwaves so much, etc.
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Here are my top singles for the first quarter of 2010; I ought to have twice as many but I keep getting distracted by the Pop World Cup.*

1. Ke$ha ft. 3OH!3 "Blah Blah Blah"
2. Lloyd "Night & Day" [if it ever gets released]
3. Selena Gomez & the Scene "Naturally"
4. I Blåme Coco ft. Robyn "Caesar"
5. Martina McBride "Wrong Baby Wrong Baby Wrong"
6. Wiley ft. Emili Sandé "Never Be Your Woman"
7. Dizzee Rascal & Florence + The Machine "You Got The Dirtee Love"
8. Didi Benami "Play With Fire"
9. Sade "Soldier Of Love"
10. Trace Adkins "Ala-Freakin-Bama"
11. Lil Wayne "Drop The World"
12. Wiley & Chew Fu "Take That"
13. Tinie Tempah "Pass Out"

In album news, I think I've listened to three new albums this year; in order of preference they are: Ke$ha Animal, Heidi Montag Superficial, Katharine McPhee Unbroken. McPhee always sings with smarts and technical capacity but connects to the material even less this time than last. I can't figure out what goes wrong with her; have the same problem with Christina Aguilera, but Kat disengages me even more.

More about Heidi & Ke$ha )

*I recommend Portugal versus North Korea in one of the bangingest World Cup matches since El Salvador went against Honduras in the 1969 qualifiers.
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The hip among you probably already know this, but I had to find out from Rolling Country: this number one country hit for Dolly Parton was written by...

...Pebe Sebert, Ke$ha's mom. (Was co-written by Hugh Moffat, whom Pebe had been married to for a while, says Wikip, and who put out some country albums and has co-written several operas.) Here's a version by Merle Haggard. Pebe is a co-writer of "Your Love Is My Drug," "Stephen," and "Animal" on the Ke$ha album.
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I link Megan McCauley's "Tap That" wherever necessary, but I've decided it's time to embed it. Think of it as mandatory listening for those wanting to participate in the Ke$ha-3OH!3 convos - Max Martin and Dr. Luke combining Salt-N-Pepa style hip-hop with hard-rock tune-pop back in 2006. (Dr. Luke is a producer and co-writer of Ke$ha's "TiK ToK.")

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Nitsuh writes about my homies in the 303:

It's not like there's anything new about boyish white guys trying on the kind of masculinity they're getting out of hip-hop - in these cases it can lead to some incredibly boyish bullshit. No, the bits that get me are the really pop ones, these 3OH!3 choruses that represent pretty much the only place you can hear boyish white "rock" guys singing the kinds of pop hooks you could almost expect from a Gaga or Britney song. (Or, you know, Ke$ha or Katy Perry collaboration.)

And Nitsuh says much more as well. Cites FOB and MCR as precursors but thinks of 3OH!3 as breaking a barrier. Then he gives us 140 characters to say what we think, so I write this:

Stooges-Eminem (self)contempt but deliberately paper thin; Kelly C crucial precursor for tune-rock, Megan McC "Tap That" for tune-rap-rock

Meanwhile Tom, expanding luxuriously in his tumblr lair, writes:

3OH!3 and Ke$ha and even Katy Perry (still not heard Brokencyde) are the first pop to make me feel old. Maybe just 3OH!3 Not in a "I don't get this" or "I couldn't get this" way, I think I get it OK even if I couldn't articulate it - but I don't think getting it could feel natural.

Tom also points out that grime-pop amalgams are hot atop the Brit charts these days.

I cite the Stooges and reflect on my inability to get old )
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The Ke$ha conversation continues:

Jonathan with an excellent mammoth post: Keep Tickin And Tockin Work It All Around The Clock

Dave's response here.

Then Erika's response here to what Jonathan wrote about "Stephen." And Dave's response to that here. And Erika's response to Dave's response here. And Dave's subsequent response here.
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Last week Ke$ha ballooned into my consciousness when the chorus to "Blah Blah Blah" jumped me. The Jukebox reviewed "Blah Blah Blah" and produced terrific discussion and discord. I've gone back and found some interesting tumblr convo, and have decided to post a few links to what I like. I have no idea if I know aceterrier under another moniker, but his/her ideas are consistently ace; include mentions of the Rolling Stones.*

The links )

Please add more links in the comments if you find more commentary you like. Has ilX paid much attention, and if so, is any of it special? (EDIT: Here's Ann Powers' review in the L.A. Times.)

*EDIT: Aceterrier would appear to be Jonathan Bogart, who also appears here and here and here, the latter being a Popular-like walk through Billboard's number one Hot Latin Tracks from 1986 forward. And Ace Terrier, World's Greatest Plumber.


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