Chris Brown – Don’t Wake Me Up

This should be a short post, because there’s so little going on in this song.

You know you’re in for a good time when the chorus goes like this:

Don’t wake me up, up, up, up up, up
Don’t wake me up, up, up, up up, up
Don’t wake me up, up, up, up up, up
Don’t wake me up
Don’t wake me…If you hadn’t gathered; he doesn’t want to wake up. Luckily he repeats himself over and over for a total of 29 don’t wake me up’s. Looks like you’re a contender for most repetitions in a song posted on UYM but the title is still held by Rihanna with “Diamonds”. Hopefully that doesn’t make you mad, Chris. We all know what happens when you’re mad.

As an aside to the music producers, we need to talk. Come into my office and close the door, we need to discuss this autotune problem. I know it’s become cliche to make fun of autotune but come on. Cher started the fad in 1998, that’s FOURTEEN YEARS of photoshopping people’s voices and it needs to stop. Nobody likes it anymore (I’d argue that nobody actually liked it even in ’98), so someone just needs to pull their head out of their earphones and wake up. I’m going to count to ten, and if you haven’t stopped I’m going to take off my belt… wait, maybe this whole song is about how much Chris Brown loves autotune, and he doesn’t want to wake up to the cold reality of having to actually sing on key. I think I’m on to something. No, wait, halfway through the song he changes his mind and now he doesn’t want to fall asleep. Face, meet palm.

Back to the lyrics! Here’s one of them! “If your heart is a pillow, this love’s the bed”. If you could see me right now, I’m slow clapping. I’m leaning back in my chair, shaking my head and clapping my hands. This line is so bad that I think we’re going to have to start a monthly contest of some sort where we combine all the terrible attempts at meaningful wordplay from recent music and vote on which one is the worst. So far this is the line to beat.

Since there’s nothing else to this song aside from wanting to not be woken up, I think we’re done with the talking. Your song options are as follows: A song with endless repetition of absolutely meaningless lyrics (A) and a song about metaphorically waking up and breaking free from the music industry (B).

(A) Kiyari Pamyu Pamyu – PONPONPON 
(B) Lauryn hill – I Get Out 

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Quote

“Within the last century, and especially since about 1900, we seem to have discovered the process by which fame is manufactured.” – Daniel Boortsin

Monthly Unoriginality Round-up – October

Upgrade Your Music’s Monthly Round-up of Unoriginality In Popular Music… or UYMMRoUIPM.

We’ll go from oldest to newest.

First you’ll want to listen to The Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love”

Jump forward some years and listen to Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life”

And, most recently, Jet’s Are You Gonna be my Girl

Next month we’ll tackle Kanye West. Stay tuned for your regularly scheduled Upgrade tomorrow!

Hedley – Kiss You Inside Out

I was hesitant to post my thoughts on this song at first because it deals with uncomfortable subject matter. The other problem was I had to be 100% sure I was right before I addressed it. I am 100% sure I am right, as the lyrics speak for themselves. This is not a case of analysis as I could easily just say “Watch this video and read the lyrics and tell me something is not wrong with this picture”, but the fact that this song is a Top 40 hit leads me to believe that somehow people are either too naive or mentally incapable of understanding the words in this song. That being said, I can only speculate what the intentions of the actual songwriters was. Did they mean to do this? Are they riding the coattails of BDSM best seller “50 Shades of Grey”? Or is the band the embodiment of the creepy kid who smells you in class and thinks that’s going to flatter you? Because that’s what this song is, but even worse.

There are a bunch of videos for ‘Kiss You Inside Out’: offical, fanmade and lyrics. I chose this one as it splits up the lyrics into their individual lines, which really helps make my point. First off, listen to the song once and read the lyrics that come up. Take it at face value. Are you disturbed? If so, proceed to the bottom of the post.If you haven’t picked up on the message of the song, I encourage you to pause the video at 0:19 and really take that in. The up-beat nature of the song just adds a level of Patrick Bateman that I don’t care to think about. Imagine someone texts you just that sentence: “I will feel every inch of your skin.” What would your reaction be? He’s not asking, he’s not wishing, he is telling you, he WILL feel every inch of your SKIN. How romantic!

Now things get really scary. Imagine you’re in that same man’s bedroom such as we find ourselves in the next few lines of this song. After he invites you to lay in his bed and tells you you’ll be staying there forever, he begins to command you to do a list of things: Turn off the lights. Take off your clothes. Wait, hold on a second, seriously? I have seen this song described as “cute”. In what world does following up a command to remove your clothing with “Give up the fight, I’m in control” equal cute? Now, turn on the stereo for him. So the lights are off, you “give up the fight” (his lyrics, I’m not making this up), remove your clothing against your will and now he tells you he wants to know you inside out, tells you to “shut your mouth” and to LET HIM KISS YOU INSIDE OUT (note: I can’t in all honesty figure out what that even means, but it sounds bad… like, really bad).

I’m quoting this song word for word, so don’t go thinking I’m taking it out of context. This is not a hidden message, the song at face value is one of the most frighteningly real portrayals of forced sexual assault in our culture today. Sure I’ve taken out the TWO “sweet” lines, but that was to save time in the narrative. Furthermore, each “sweet” line is immediately followed up by something contrastingly dark (Example: “I’ll be the calm in the storm you’re looking for” followed by “I’ll be the shipwreck that takes you down”) Which brings me to my point of why it’s so real; because it shows the emotional and mental manipulation involved. Confusing the emotions of the victim with the occasional kind word to make them not process the other ten things he’s said that should be making her run far away. There’s no metaphor, just a group of young men who are so braindead they don’t even realize what they’ve written, which in itself is a major problem with male culture as a whole. All reasonable, level headed males such as myself need to speak up and start saying “Hey, this is not cool.” Or, like me, post about it right here.

Here’s the two songs. The first is a well written song with a debatable dark secret (A) and the second is a song about how to treat yo’ woman (B). Alicia Keys is quality pop, I don’t care what you say.

(A) The National – Green Gloves 

(B) Alicia Keys – A Woman’s Worth 

One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful

This song… this group… the marketing surrounding them is staggering. They were placed directly at the top of the charts not via merit, but because the people who made them also make the charts, and then critics worldwide were paid to claim them as the number one band in the world. This is not a conspiracy, it is how the music industry corporations work. You are told what is good and I’m Morpheus, offering you the red pill.

They had only this one single at the time. Not an album, not even an EP, they had One Song. Anyway, I’m going to stop here and just transcribe a few words via my good buddy Stephen Colbert, as he summed it up better than I could ever hope to. Take it away, Stephen:

“I don’t want a bunch of snaggle tooth, Spotted Dick eating union jack-offs telling America the number of directions we can go in. But I will give them this: their song ‘What Makes You Beautiful’ isn’t just catchy, it’s got a great message. ‘You don’t know you’re beautiful… that’s what makes you beautiful.’ First of all, great dating advice. Remember girls; low self-esteem, very attractive to men. Guys always go for the low hanging fruit, okay? Easy pickins!

Second, the lyrics are incredibly complex, see the boys are saying ‘You don’t know you’re beautiful… that’s what makes you beautiful’ but they’ve just told the girl she’s beautiful, so since she now knows it, she’s no longer beautiful. Stay with me, stay with me, oh, it goes deeper. Okay, but she’s listening to the song too so she knows she’s not beautiful, therefore following the syllogism of the song, she’s instantly beautiful again. It’s like an infinite fractal recursion, a flickering quantum state of both ‘hot’ and ‘not’. I mean, this lyric as iterated algorithm could lead to a whole new musical genre. I call it: Moebius Pop. which would include One Direction and of course the rapper M.C. Escher. He’s ‘in the house’ but also the house is in him.”

Thanks for that. It’s Friday and my contempt for boy bands would have turned me into a Sith.

Alright, I try to offer more than one alternative when I can, so in the spirit of giving, I offer one song that hits the theme of humility being beautiful (A) and then the opposite (B).

(A) Ana carolina and Seu Jorge – 

(B) The Streets – Fit But You Know It 

Justin Bieber – As Long As You Love Me

The Biebs. He’s a polarizing figure to many people who truly should not care. Do you hate Justin Bieber? Are you over the age of twenty? Do you also hate eating baby food? Why are you eating it, then? It was not made for you. Bieber is a teen star created in a lab with one goal: Stealing your allowance. The only ill will you should have (unless you still receive an allowance, but you are not my target demographic so disregard this post entirely) related to The Biebs should be a disdain for the incorporation of music as a whole. Suggested reading for today’s post would be Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

Okay, enough about Bieber himself. This song is not that bad. Sure, it’s nothing mindblowing, but J.B.’s parts are in all honesty fine (I even caught myself singing along to the Lo-lo-lo-lo-love parts)… it’s this clown Big Sean who slaps you in the face with stupidity halfway through the track. He fails right out the gate with “I don’t know if this makes sense, but you’re my Hallelujah.” You’re right, Big Sean, it doesn’t make sense, so why did you say it? His verse is full of other deepities: “The grass ain’t always greener on the other side, It’s green where you water it” and the cake topper: “Us, Trust… a couple of things I can’t spell without ‘U'” That last one, I believe, is just a coverup for the fact that he actually didn’t know how to spell any other words. That brings me to my main gripe with Sean; his words further entrench in the shared psyche of the impressionable youth who are listening to Bieber a sentiment of anti-intellectualism. This message is repeated quite often in popular culture these days. The idea that it’s okay to act stupid, that even trying to better yourself through learning and growing is not cool. I’m here to try and put a stop to that ideology, so without further ado…

First we have Justin Bieber’s love song (A) followed by Big Sean’s idea that ignorance is bliss (B).

(A) Elton John – Your Song 

(B) Kendrick Lamar – Ignorance is Bliss (the F word is in this song, sorry Mom) 

Rihanna – Diamonds

D.H. Lawrence, in his novel Women In Love, wrote: “But better die than live mechanically a life that is a repetition of repetitions.” After hearing this song, I would have to agree. Rihanna says “Shine bright like a diamond” twenty-six times in the space of three minutes and fourty-five seconds. Including those lines, she says the word “diamond” fourty times total. I think this song might be about diamonds, but what do I know?

The beat plods along throughout as the same four or five notes are played at regular intervals on the piano. I thought of a better title for this song: “Waterboarding”.
Fourty diamonds aside, I am convinced that the lyrics were written by Rihanna, translated to Japanese and then translated back to English by a high school-aged anime fan. From obviously mis-understood idioms like “Eye to eye, so alive” to completely nonsensical imagery such as “At first sight I left the energy of sun rays” (yes, she says that). Thank the great Sky Diamond that you don’t have to listen to songs like these as many times as I do.And now the moment you’ve been waiting for… an alternative to Diamonds by Rihanna.
I think she was shooting for two main ideas here: (A) Diamonds! and (B) Surreal yet beautiful imagery. I’ll give her mad propz for nailing one of those… and then take the propz away 39 times.The Beatles did it better on both counts.

(A + B) Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds – The Beatles