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411 Music Buy or Sell 02.23.12: Say Ahh and Get Tongue Tied

February 23, 2012 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

Greetings and salutations, Music Zone readers! Welcome to your top choice in music single opinion columns, 411 Music Buy or Sell! I’m your host Jeremy Thomas, and each week we’ll look at some of the hottest new and hit singles and a couple of our esteemed writers will decide if they want to keep the song (Buy) or drop it like it’s hot (Sell). This week’s listeners are the master of the Hip-Hop Herald Bill Wannop, taking the man who runs the 411 Music Buy or Sell…oh wait, that’s me, Jeremy Thomas!

All right, enough of the introductions and rules…let’s hop to it!

1) Katy Perry – “Part of Me”
From Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection (Capitol)
Released February 13, 2012
Bill Wannop: BUY

Katy Perry releases her latest single from the re-release of her album, Teenage Dream. While the album was originally written about an ex-boyfriend, Perry recently re-recorded parts of it in order to have it directed at her ex-husband, Russell Brand. While the song does have a similar beat to “California Girls” that is not necessarily a bad thing as the will likely get the party started. With lyrics that are going to have all the ladies screaming girl power, this is a definite buy, and something you will be hearing for a long time on the radio.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY

This is a mild Buy for me, but a Buy nonetheless. This is easily Katy’s best single since “Firework,” which you may be frightened to realize was released a year and a half ago. That’s right: Katy has been releasing music off Teenage Dream and now its deluxe edition for just under two years. Anyway, I like the tone of this and it feels more like a personal song because of the little customizations to fit her relationship dissolve. I will say that this would be a stronger Buy if it wasn’t released at a time when a superior “Girl Power” anthem, Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” was ruling the charts with a very similar theme. However the sound is catchy, the beat is decent and I don’t mind it at all; pretty good for Top 40 pop music.


2) Grouplove – “Tongue Tied”
From Kids in the Street (Interscope)
Released December 8, 2011
Bill Wannop: SELL

This is a much tougher decision, in that this song was used in a commercial for an apple iPod touch recently so hearing this basically brings back thoughts of that ad, which somewhat ruins the song for me. The group does have a good sound, but unfortunately with this track it just does not have the punch or certain quality to get out from under the iPod commercial.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY

Fortunately I do my damnedest to avoid commercials (Kudos to Hulu for helping me minimize that) and have managed to not see the commercial this was used in; fun hasn’t been so lucky as I go into convulsions every time I hear “We Are Young” now thanks to its commercial. Besides, I like my iPod Touch. Anyway, Grouplove hardly have the most original sound in the world; if I wasn’t paying attention properly I could easily confuse these guys for Foster the People or a number of other groups. However, I don’t necessarily consider that a bad thing and there is something to be said for catchy indy pop-rock. Not the best new band I’ve heard in a while, but not bad either.


3) Lindsey Pavao – “Say Aah”
From The Voice Season Two (Universal Republic)
Released February 25, 2012
Bill Wannop: SELL

Never really watched too much of The Voice, but this latest entry has contestant Lindsey Pavao releasing a studio version of the cover of Trey Songz song “Say Aah”. When performing covers it can be really difficult for young artists in that they have to differentiate enough from the original version in order to make listeners wish they were not just listening to the original version. In this case I think that Pavao failed at that, as I basically would have rather heard the Trey Songz version. That is not to say that Pavao does not have a good voice, because she does, but in this instance she just did not do enough to make me forget about the original.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY

I actually am very much a Voice watcher and I like this song, even if it felt a lot like Lindsay was trying to channel Dia Frampton from last season when she did a slow melodic cover of Kanye West’s “Heartless.” Pavao has a really solid voice and whether she was trying to channel Dia or not, you still have to give her credit for having the balls to go in a very different direction than the original. Point of fact, I really am not a fan of the Trey Songz verison which sounds too generic to me; this was different and definitely more my style.


4) Cobra Starship (ft. Mac Miller) – “Middle Finger”
From Night Shades (Fueled by Ramen)
Released January 19, 2012
Bill Wannop: SELL

While I think that Cobra Starship is a talented group, I do not like this single in the least. They were smart in getting Mac Miller on this, mainly for the name value, because he really adds nothing to the track, giving a short, simple verse. The beat is a simple guitar riff with not much else, giving me more reason to never listen to this again and SELL.

Jeremy Thomas: SELL

This isn’t the worst thing I’ve heard but it didn’t inspire me to give it more than the one listen I needed to write this up. I see Cobra Starshup as a talented group of individuals who haven’t quite found what they need to appeal to me as a listener. This isn’t to say that I scramble to turn the station when they come on, but right now, even knowing I’ve heard their music before (hell, I’ve written about some of their songs), I couldn’t name a single one without looking it up. That tells you everything you need to know about my opinion.


5) Coldplay – “Charlie Brown”
From Mylo Xyloto (Parlophone)
Released January 23, 2012
Bill Wannop: BUY

Coldplay always manages to impress on their singles, and “Charlie Brown” is no different. Named after the famous Peanuts character, the song is everything that you would expect a Coldplay single to be. Musical and emotional, the song is really only missing one thing, and that is being played during a commercial or closing scenes during an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. Anyway, the song is solid, and is classic sounding Coldplay, making it a definite BUY.

Jeremy Thomas: SELL

Man, I wanted to like this so much. Overall I think Mylo Xyloto is a good album and I love the sound of this track. However, I don’t dig the lyrics. They sound like classic Coldplay at their best here, but the words sound like they’re channeling the worst elements of Acrade Fire. Granted, I don’t expect the genius lyrics out of Coldplay but these guys are capable of writing better stuff than this. It may not be fair, but despite the fact that it’s better than a fair amount of what’s on the top 40 right now, my disappointment and higher expectations mean that I have to give this a thumbs down.


6) M.I.A. – “Bad Girls”
From TBD (Interscope)
Released January 31, 2012
Bill Wannop: SELL

M.I.A. I think her performance at the Super Bowl really said everything there is to say about her, in that she seems to be trying to hold on to whatever popularity and star power she has left by creating a buzz. However, the fact is that this song is not going to get her back on top, and really is a pretty horrible song. The chorus basically consists of M.I.A. continually saying, “Live fast, die young, bad girls do it well” over and over again, and the verses in between the chorus really do not add anything of substance to the song. It actually is unfortunate as the beat to the track is decent, making this the rare case where I would rather just listen to the beat with the lyrics on mute.

Jeremy Thomas: BUY

I am actually a fan of M.I.A. and I think that “Bad Girls” is sign that she may be returning to form on her upcoming album after the misfire that // / Y / largely was. It’s very pop-oriented but maintains M.I.A.’s international flavor and I think that helps it stand out. The chorus is admittedly not great, but it is catchy and that’s going to help it become memorable for people. I hope that it’s a transition into even better work as this stil doesn’t demonstrate what we already know she’s really capable of. Good but not great; that’s a Buy for me.


SO this week Katy Perry gets a full Buy and Cobra Starship get a full Sell, with the rest splitting our opinions! Thanks to Bill for his participation this week; that will do it us! What do you think of the singles we covered? Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments!


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