Friday, June 22, 2012
Songs of the Week: Harry Potter Dances, Carly Rae Jepsen Looks to the Future
By Amos Barshad
Katy Perry, “Wide Awake”
This video starts off with plenty of promise: After a long day of music-video shooting, a robotically cheery Katy Perry retires to her dressing room to try to shake the weight of pop stardom off her shoulders. She removes her wig and stares longingly in the mirror, as sure a sign as any that we’re about to get into some "this is what the real KP is like" shit — and then she runs away to a mythical fairy land to pal around with her supernatural 10-year-old self?!! I was just kind of hoping we’d get to see her sitting around drinking chai and playing Mario Kart.
Slow Club, “Beginners”
There’s no particular reason why you’d remember this, but in 2008 the New York Times ran an amazing story about a kid who got stuck in a bar in Brooklyn overnight. What happened was he went to the bathroom right before closing time but the bartender didn’t realize he was in there, so the doors got locked on him. He ended up hanging out until 8:30 a.m., alternately plotting his escape and falling asleep on benches. Anyway, if that Times story got optioned as a short movie starring Daniel Radcliffe, it might look something like this Slow Club video. Things you need to know before watching: Harry Potter’s got some moves. His loose-limbed-junkie-ax-man-air-guitar technique (seen at roughly 3:16) is truly next-level.
Bangladesh feat. Pusha and Jadakiss, “100”
Via his production work on a plethora of hits — from Ludacris’s “What’s Your Fantasy” to Lil Wayne’s “A Milli” to Beyoncé’s “Video Phone” — Bangladesh truly has given us so much. But his most lasting contribution to the world of pop culture may just come thanks to "100" and the Big Mouth Billy Bass-style talking Benjamin Franklin $100 bill prominently featured in its video. This is definitely what Ben had in mind when he invented electricity.
Switch, formerly the half of Major Lazer that wasn’t Diplo, has worked with M.I.A. extensively before, and you can tell he feels comfortable messing with her stuff. Here, large swaths of “Bad Girls” are rendered unrecognizable from their original form, without the earworm nature of the whole thing ever going away. And Missy, who's been making a tentative return, sounds in fighting form: “No, I’m not like the average / Try to come for Miss, get smashed just like ham sandwiches.” By the way, pardon the above butt.
This band counts not one but two members of excellent shouty young punkers Cloud Nothings among its ranks, and so you knew they’d be bringing the proverbial hot sauce when it comes to songs that make you want to drive down the street air drumming with both hands.
Gunplay feat. Bun B and Ace Hood, “Black on Black”
Another day, another menacing banger off Maybach Music Group’s Self Made Vol. 2. Everyone should thank Rick Ross and his friends for not mailing it in on on a crew album. (BY THE WAY: Remember that little Drake–Chris Brown bar brawl that MMG’s Meek Mill found himself involved in? Well, that story will not die! None other than NBA champion Tony Parker, who was injured in the melee, is suing the owners of the club for $20 million. Prepare yourselves for the trial of the century.)
Gangstas screen savers don’t die; they get chubby trippier and move to Miami become indie-rock videos.
Purity Ring, “Fineshrine”
So I was mostly including this Purity Ring track as an excuse to make a reference to the Jonas Brothers' circa 2008 virginity-vow purity rings. Luckily, though, it’s a jam, worthy of inclusion even if it didn’t provide a platform for extremely non-topical pop culture references. Those sonar-esque drum noises? Very necessary.
Main Attrakionz, “Women We Chase”
This track was produced by a guy named Friendzone, and samples Tears for Fears' “Woman in Chains.” That information, plus another woozy wonder from the Bay Area’s Main Attrakionz, should be enough to make you feel all fuzzy inside.
Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City, “Good Time”
As far as I see it, there are two primary schools of thought when it comes to a second single from Carly Rae Jepsen. On the one hand, it’d be nice to see bubbly young CRJ, who sure seems like a predestined one-hit wonder, defeat the odds and carve out a full-length career. On the other hand: “Call Me Maybe” was such an out-of-nowhere smash, such a singular moment of instant pop creation — wouldn’t the continued presence of Miss Jepsen just dilute the magical lightning-in-a-bottle feel that we all will forever associate with the summer of 2012? Discuss amongst yourselves.