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Today's Top 40 Spectrum: Silly, Slutty, and Sleepy

Beware: every song below is ridiculously catchy. Not that I would usually have to tell you this when writing about Top 40 jams, but there's almost a danger to the amount of catchiness in this month's five chosen ones for the spectrum, in which we rank, from most to least tolerable, the current pop hitz (as determined by the local radio conglomerate KDWB). To give you a better idea of how serious I am, consider the fact that the latest Katy Perry is arguably the least earwormy of the bunch. Yeah, it's getting bad out there, folks. And by bad, I mean sometimes annoying but mostly a grand ol' time for us gloss-pop fanatics. Tread on with me below, dear readers, if you should be so brave...


"Best Love Song" by T-Pain feat. Chris Brown: I don't care how much Auto-Tune there is. I don't care that Chris Brown is on the guest verse. I don't care that it's been hovering pretty low on the charts and has yet to (and might not ever) be as big as when T-Pain first started the robot/candy throat noise craze. I am so head over in heels with this banger it's almost sick. Man how I wish they played it every hour on the hour like they do with that awful Pitbull song. There's so much pure joy and computer finesse put into this manufactured gem that it ends up sounding as uncontrollably bombastic as the lyrics and video (which is awesome, by the way) narrative portend. To imagine "a whole stadium in love" sounds idiotic on paper, but here it's damn prophetic. Plus it's hilarious that the whole song's about writing the best love song ever, so the narcissism is dripping through the speakers as we never actually get a love song - just a tortured ego struggling with an impossible feat for three-and-a-half minutes before he gives up and just starts yelling "yeah" and "ayyy" over and over again until it finally ends.


"Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj: The divisive female MC that possibly doesn't even deserve that title (because she ends up singing more than she raps and her image is concocted and controlled by male record execs blah blah blah) now has this as her most successful single where it's just her and not some coattails-riding collab. And you know what? With a few exceptions involving her usual crimes (sexually charged shock value rhetoric) in the lyrics, it's pretty hard to deny how much this song explodes with ebullience. One could argue it's a bit much at times, especially in conjunction with the neon color scheme in her video (which, if you're going to be sex-crazed, it's good to at least make it egalitarian and get some topless silent guys in an attempt to challenge the stereotype for rap videos), but I am a fiend for crowded pop noise. And she even for some reason decides to call attention to it in the chorus and title of the song, once again making the silly link between being proud of one's music versus using it as a means to display affection. Also, I still like the funny voices she makes during her verses.


"Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" by Katy Perry: Every time an artist ends up sputtering out a fifth single off the same record that seems like it came out ages ago (in this case, 2010's Teenage Dream) I think about when Bush put out "Comedown" as its fifth single in 1995. I love(d) that song and even I thought it was overkill. And yet it still happens, despite my passionate sixth grade request for it to stop. If every song's a single, then where are the deep cuts? Case in point: the kinda-bland, kinda-fun, and super-annoying new one from the star of The Smurfs. It's definitely her least unique and most cookie cutter hit yet, but since it utilizes a popular idiom and talks about partying with a pleasant melody (it's almost catchy simply because it sounds so generic and recycled from past cheesy novelty songs) it has become massive and will likely continue to dominate the summer airwaves. Elements of the video, while gimmicky, are redeeming, however. I like that Hanson is her backing band and that Rebecca Black is the girl next door. I think Corey Feldman and Debbie Gibson as the parents and Kenny G as Uncle Kenny was a bit much, though, despite my love for saxophone solos.


"Good Life" by Onerepublic: On the one hand I want to give this song a lot more credit because the lead singer was a guest judge on my favorite reality show of the summer, Bravo's Platinum Hit (in which whiny people compete to be the next pop industry songwriter), and he completely destroyed all of the terrible contestants' egos. And I'm an apologist for their hits "Apologize" (see what I did there?) and "All the Right Moves", but this latest one, which might turn out to be their biggest success yet, is like neutered Matchbox Twenty or Vertical Horizon, if that's possible. The drummer continues to be the band's only truly interesting aspect, but at least in the past he helped bring out the slinky R&B in their otherwise traditional pop-rock sound. Here's he's just having minimal fun with tone and the hi-hat. And that damn whistling is the worst. Also, I know pop radio is the land of overused song titles, but seriously, people have to learn that Weezer co-opted this phrase once and for in the late 90s and then it was off limits.


"You Make Me Feel..." by Cobra Starship feat. Sabi: I'm not sure what it says about me that last year these idiots were at the top of my Top 40 faves with "Good Girls Go Bad" but now that they replace Leighton Meester with someone that can actually sing I couldn't care less. I like to think that's it's all about the melody, and while this isn't the most obnoxious one of the bunch (see above), it's certainly the most forgettable, which is ironic because it can be dreadfully stuck in your head for hours after hearing it just once. But it gets stuck in your head in the way that after it finally leaves your brain you'll tell someone how you're so glad it's not in your head anymore and they'll ask you how it goes, and then you'll have no idea how to sing/hum it to them. Granted this is probably a good thing, but it's like it has a self-destruct mode on its catchiness, which is not helpful if you're trying to get people to avoid it. And its video is a total rip-off of an actual great music video featuring photobooths and confessions! The main dude looks totally awkward the whole time too. Maybe that's just cuz I know him better from this band.

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