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July 20, 2013 / bloggenstatt

Separating and Berating the Billboard Hot 100

This week I’m taking a look at the Billboard Hot 100. I sifted through a lot of songs that made me say, “Nope,” to find a few that make me say,”Dope.” Ultimately, I’m an optimist, so here are three songs I thoroughly enjoyed and two songs that are a blight on humanity.

1. Robin Thicke Featuring T.I+ Pharrell-“Blurred Lines”. No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100

This song is as bad as it is omnipresent. It’s essentially “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys with propulsive low-end base and Color Me Badd vocal layering. Rhyme schemes are lazy and in some cases completely unfinished. It’s clear that “Blurred Lines” strives to be the breezy, absent-minded beach jam of 2013, and because of a risque music video and partnership with Beats headphones it has succeeded. Would I recommend this song? NOPE

2. Daft Punk Featuring Pharrell- “Get Lucky”No.2 on the Billboard Hot 100

This is the other, better top five Billboard Hot 100 song featuring Pharell Williams. It is, however, the lesser of the two Pharrell featuring songs on the excellent “Random Access Memories.”  Still, Daft Punk conjure a lush Disco ode to amorous pursuits with a major assist from both Pharrell and Nile Rodgers. “Get Lucky” can best be described as DOPE

3. Icona Pop featuring Charli XCX- “I Love It” No. 18 on the Billboard Hot 100

One of the catchiest odes to apathy ever has been entirely inescapable over the last few months. It scored a wild bender on an episode of “Girls” and has even been covered by your favorite New Jersey Punk band. Despite its ubiquity this song still remains an excellent, feel-good party starter. “I Love It” may pale in comparison to Charli XCX’s recent, excellent solo album, but it still squarely falls into the category of DOPE.

4. DJ Khaled Featuring Drake, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne- “No New Friends(SFTB Remix)” No. 49 on the Billboard Hot 100

Full disclosure: I am not a fan of Drake. I have repeatedly attempted to enjoy his music, but my efforts have been fruitless. This song is not an exception from this trend. For what is essentially a fun posse track the song has a contemplative, droning beat. Somehow the lyrics about club debauchery have had all the fun drained out of them by all parties involved in this track. If Tim Burton sat down with Robert Smith and attempted to make a club banger it might sound like this. The song also has an insipid message. The no new friends mantra is a popular, but deeply flawed concept in its own right, but it’s preposterous to listen to a Miami DJ, a former Florida corrections officer, a New Orleans based rapper and a teen-actor-turned rapper from Toronto claim that they have not widened their social circle since acquiring wealth.  This song is an instant NOPE

5. “-Kanye West-“Black Skinhead”No.92 on the Billboard Hot 100

A Marilyn Manson-esque meditation on alienation with an infectious, although historically inaccurate, scream along chorus  probably shouldn’t be anywhere near the Hot 100. However, this particular burst of palpable anger set to a drum beat comes courtesy of Kanye West, so a certain level of popularity was inevitable. This song features as much heavy breathing and sporadic screaming in its production as it does synthesizer. It’s wonderfully different from anything else on Pop radio. These beats are DOPE.

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