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Today's Top 40 Spectrum: Go Away, Drake; Just Go Away

Apparently July 2010 is all about having an attitude on top 40 radio. Check out Today's Top 40 Spectrum below to find out more about this new trend and this month's big hits on the radio and in your children's hearts. For a simple breakdown, we wind up with one great pop song, two mostly enjoyable but also conflicting tunes, and two largely terrible tracks that are all bad vibes and ego posturing. Here they are, ranked from best to worst as always!


"Bulletproof" by La Roux: Last year I listened to La Roux's album in a slight haze, amongst many other records, while I was trying to catch up on fall releases some exhausting evening after work, letting the dance-pop wash over me and not really hearing too much that stood out. It wasn't bad by any means; it was fun and light and punchy in a subtle smart alecky way - it just ultimately seemed like another in the long line of indie-meets-the-discotheque. Fast forward to this summer and all of a sudden the androgynous UK starlet has a mega single pummeling the airwaves, and naturally, in comparison with the over-compressed in-your-face sounds of American pop, "Bulletproof" stands out as a gem, especially after heard for the fourth or fifth time. Yes it falls victim to the verse-better-than-the-chorus syndrome, but it's still infectious all the same and gonna get played on my wedding dance floor come August, that's fer sher.


"My First Kiss" by 3oh!3 feat. Ke$ha: I also first heard 3oh!3 last year, but the difference here was that they were impossible to just casually listen to and then come around to twelve months later. No, their snark and, to be more accurate, just general asshole-ishness, was incredibly more than clear from the get go, and it was not in an enjoyable or non-American way. Not. At. All. Now the good thing about all this is that their infamously insulting lyric "Do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips!" from last year's radio hit (whatever that was called) is still their lowest and most unlistenable point as a band. In 2010, they smartly asked the can-do-no-wrong diva Ke$ha to join their neon brat personas on the mic with a track that doesn't try quite so hard to make you want to smack them in their faces, though it still does that a little bit. It's much less aggravating overall and when the driving beat kicks in, it's even decent driving music. So good work you terrible purveyors of dyed black hair and skinny jeans, you.


"Not Afraid" by Eminem: There are so many things wrong with Marshall Mathers that I don't really know where to start. So let's start with the positive. This song, which should not be confused with the much worse new single from the Emster featuring Rihanna about how much the protagonists love being in abusive relationships, helps prove that once again, despite all his misgivings, the man can rap well and even be innovative in his rhymes and rhythms when he wants to. And overall the consensus about the new record has been that his choruses are way bunk, but I actually enjoy the second half of the chorus on this one, which while I'm sure was pitch-shifted to help the dude reach some high notes, it is cleverly paced and worded, which I can appreciate, like many of his verse couplets and internal rhymes. But then comes all the bad, which basically begins and ends with the fact that dude needs a hug. Many hugs in fact.


"Cooler Than Me" by Mike Posner: Contrary to what 16 and/or 22-year-old me might believe, I actually want to like this song. It sits in that weird nebulous region between R&B and vapid pop music, an area that I've been championing in this column for some months now with the rise of Jason DeRulo, quite possibly my favorite male pop star of the moment, but unfortunately Posner's doing this all wrong. He's got the right concept, but the execution is so simultaneously watered down and wryly assy that it just comes off as something that sounds like it should be a joke song from Flight of the Conchords or Mr. Show instead. You hear that admittedly smooth but ultimately airy and powerless voice and you just know he's got a stupid smirk on his face while he's singing over the lifeless stock beat. I hate it break it to you, Mike, but I don't think I'm cooler than you; I just think I put more effort into this blog post than you did into your limp excuse for a pop song.


"Find Your Love" by Drake: Speaking of flacid, here's my official vote for least interesting pop song of the year! It also wins the nomination for most obnoxious! How is that possible, you ask? The answer is as simple as one word repeated three times - (insert drunken distortion effect) "hey, hey, hey." After every effing lyric, the man somehow thinks it's a good idea to jab us in the ear with this screwdriver of a refrain, and even though the song itself is lazy all over, it would have been so less offensive to just let the lyrics have some space between them instead. Of course producers want to make sure there's as little instrumentation without vocal overlay as possible. I find this particularly confounding after obtaining and watching the video for the smash-hit song because not only is it one of those overly long over-budgeted spectacles of a video, but it also contains long segments of basically field recordings of some island paradise and an old man mumbling about something that Drake somehow interprets as being advice about love that he's not going to follow. Argh! Go away, Drake; just go away! And I thought you had a modicum of taste before this! Fool me once, shame on you, etc!

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