Confection Corner: June 30th, 2009

30 Jun

Readers of that other blog I wrote for may remember this: It’s a feature focusing on pop music, could run as often as twice a week, and will have a few songs and some thoughts. It’s as simple as the music itself.

Today, we begin with Shakira, and “Loba.”

The driving bass, low and sinuous, would be enough. But Shakira’s in fine form in her native tongue here, to a degree that I might reject the coming English version (“She-Wolf” is the translation), running off tricky melodies in the verses, gliding over the chorus, and sneaking a cute howl in there for good measure; an echo effect helps. And, well, this is a summery, sexy song, with the little adornments of a jingling guitar, the strings that fade in and out, and what sounds like a low-grade orff instrument all over.

I fully expect crap like the Black Eyed Peas’ nonsensical treacle to dominate this summer. But give me Shakira cooing and panting about a wolf over some warmer, livelier production, and I’ll back it as a potential song of the season.

Also in the running, bizarrely, Blair Waldorf:

I can’t say much for Gabe Saporta’s hipstery hot mess of a band (I see what I did there!) in general, and this song isn’t going to change that. The lyrics are beyond bad once they leave the safe harbor of the hook/chorus, and there’s a failed attempt at a wall of sound that folds over itself and ends up frustratingly dull.

But: That hook/chorus segment is powerful, the tagline “I make them good girls go bad” is club-ready, and, just as the song threatens to follow up a weak first verse with an even more flaccid second one, Leighton Meester’s surprisingly rich voice, somewhere between the twang of Miley Cyrus and the processed whine of Katy Perry, saves the song.

“Good Girls Go Bad” is ostensibly about girls like Blair Waldorf, and she sells her part convincingly and with not-insubstantial chops.

Oh, and a stomp-and-chant breakdown a la “Hollaback Girl” takes place. No, it’s not “This s–t is bananas”—and, really, what could top that bit of inspired inanity?—but it will help this song make inroads with the inebriated, I’m sure.

And then there is the Caribbean Chubby Checker, Sean Kingston.

The conceit of the song, apparently that an attractive woman is literally on fire on the dance floor, is both tired and stupid. Our troubadour is so bewitched that he apparently surrenders his “Red, black card/And (his) jewelry” to her, moves that do not, unfortunately, end the song. And the song itself is apparently a hit or something.

But the flurry of half-rhymes (“Masterpiece” and “hundred years” strains credulity), a dumb anti-simile (“Shawty is cool like fire”), a reference to the posterior as a “birthday cake,” and a somewhat self-destructive request (look, calling 911 in the middle of a party is only going to get that party busted) don’t torpedo this song as much as the totally anonymous does. It’s one thing to have a bunch of lava synths and a generic hook, but, in contrast to “Good Girls Go Bad,” this bridge is trash.

And on RedOne beats, you need to be as lithe as Lady Gaga, not as lumbering as Kingston. Sorry, Sean.

This may settle into a more regular timeslot next week. Send songs you want reviewed or leave suggestions in the comments.

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