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411 Music Buy or Sell 02.28.13: Feel This and Stay

February 28, 2013 | 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). Our listeners this week are the man behind the Savage Animal, Mikey MiGo, taking on one of 411’s Music Zone writers emeritus, David Hayter!

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

1) Rihanna (ft. Mikky Ekko) – “Stay”
From Unapologetic (Def Jam/SRP)
Released January 7, 2013
Mikey MiGo: SELL.

I’m a bit bias here. I have ears so I’m not a fan of Rihanna. I’ve been open minded about her in the past and even thought “Umbrella” was silly fun. The problem is that she never evolved. She just started putting out these songs where the emotion is as deep as the shallow end of a kiddie pool. There is nothing genuine about this song. It’s slow and boring and then this Mikky Ekko dude sits around and sings too. This song just feels like ballad filler. The only thing mildly interesting is the vocal breakdown at the 2:50ish mark. I guess it’s not horrible. She doesn’t sound like a broken robot in this one at least.

David Hayter: BUY.

Rihanna has set a ferocious pace releasing four albums in four years. Unapologetic is the weakest of the bunch. It lacks the sheer pop punch of her earlier work and fails to grasp the zeitgeist. “Stay” suggests that even if her albums falter RiRi can still produce sublime ballads in her sleep. Mikky Ekko delivered one of 2012’s best tracks in “Pull Me Down” (well the remixed version anyway) and he nicely harmonizes with, and counterpoints, Rihanna’s strong lead vocal. The track feels undeniable prosaic and it lacks the bite of the best ballads, but this perfectly acceptable chart fodder.


2) The Strokes – “All the Time”
From Comedown Machine (RCA)
Released February 19, 2013
Mikey MiGo: BUY.

Yeah, I’m a fan of this band. That doesn’t mean I have to like everything they put out though. That said, I like this. I like the slower tempo and the distant vocals. It’s not The Stroke’s best release, but it’s a welcomed song to a very dry rock scene. There is a clear step forward in the scope of the music. The music is a bit more expansive and the sound is fuller while still maintaining that pseudo-garage band sound.

David Hayter: BUY.

“All The Time” is certainly an odd choice for a lead single. Compared to “Last Nite”, “12:51” and “Juicebox” it lacks immediacy as The Strokes continue to bury their best melodic hooks. Regardless, “All The Time” is still an enjoyable blend of the band’s signature dual-guitar, garage rock sound and the new wave inflections that informed Angles. It’s not a classic, but it’s certainly an enjoyable three-minute pop song.


3) Rick Ross – “Box Chevy”
From Mastermind (Maybach Music/Def Jam)
Released January 8, 2013
Mikey MiGo: BUY.

Why not? This is a ridiculous song. Coming up in the 90’s, we got to hear Master P, Mystikal, and tons of rappers who sounded exactly like this. It’s obnoxious, overly vulgar, and the lyrics could probably be proof of mental retardation. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the pulsing beat and laugh at how bad this is. Then tack on the fact that Rick Ross isn’t even the REAL Rick Ross. It makes it hilarious. It’s like a parody rap song that dumb people are going to treat as their misogynistic anthem.

David Hayter: SELL.

Rick Ross continues to frustrate. He shows incredible potential (Rich Forever) and then drops the ball with bland LPs (God Forgives, I Don’t). “Box Chevy” has an auto-pilot feel. The beat isn’t metallic enough to inspire and, while its lurch is occasionally menacing, it’s certainly not particular memorable. It’s nice to see Ross imposing himself again (menacing is always a good look for Rozay), but this effort never gets out of second gear.


4) Kelly Rowland – “Kisses Down Low”
From Talk a Good Game (Republic)
Released February 1, 2013
Mikey MiGo: BUY.

What the hell is this? It’s like a TV-14 version of “My Neck, My Back” or even “Milkshake”. This song is obviously about sex. There’s nothing wrong with that. It goes into explicit details of certain acts and preferences. It’s a silly pop song, but more entertaining than anything I’ve heard or seen from Beyonce in years. Too bad Kelly Rowland didn’t marry Jay Z. I guarantee you that some young dude is getting his first lap dance to THIS song right now.

David Hayter: SELL.

Ouch…now this is an overproduced mess. The vocal overdubs are mess and the auto-tune (which I’m not opposed to) is cringe worthy. “Kisses Down Low” is crying out for a dance remix, take the killer chorus and skip the watered down attempts at R’n’B. Kelly is good at putting work, but she struggles to sound sensual. Is the chorus enough to save “Kisses Down Low”? Not in my book.


5) Red Hot Chili Peppers – “In Love Dying”
From In Love Dying (Single) (Warner Bros.)
Released January 31, 2013
Mikey MiGo: BUY.

The bass line is sick and the chillaxed music accompanies it very nicely. The vocals are strange. It’s like Anthony heard a little too many songs by The Police. The slight reggae twang on the voice is a little off-putting, but other than that it’s classic Chili Peppers. There aren’t many songs in their catalog like this one. The tempo is strange, but you still can’t help but feel the vibe and groove a little. It has to be one of the most “experimental” singles the Peppers have put out and for that alone it’s a “BUY”. I really dig the progress here.

David Hayter: BUY.

It’s been a fair while since I last enjoyed a Chillis record. They’ve been rooted in their comfort zone for so long that they’ve started to feel like part of the rock furniture. “In Love Dying” is certainly a welcome change of pace. An eight-minute tonal exploration centered around a beautifully judged vocal by Antony Keidis. The verses are almost unnecessary, it’s far more interesting to hear the Chillis floating in space occupying the tonal void between U2 and The Police’s respective primes.

I certainly enjoyed this taste of the more exploratory end of the Chillis spectrum, but I couldn’t begrudge anyone who would have prefered to hear a proper pop single.


6) Pitbull (ft. Christina Aguilera) – “Feel This Moment”
From Global Warming (Mr. 305/RCA)
Released February 22, 2013
Mikey MiGo: SELL.

There is that old rhetorical question that asks you to choose if you’d rather be deaf or blind. Pitbull is a big reason to consider being deaf. His music sounds like the remix of the worst song ever. Not just this song, but all of them. The part that bothers me is the sample of “Ah Ha” is awesome and that Christina Aguilera has a great voice regardless. It’s just a shitty song. This song is the Jersey Shore of sound.

David Hayter: SELL.

Pass…generic club banger is generic.

Okay so I do have one thing to say. I’ve accepted that in the post world anything is fair game. No matter how tacky the ploy or cheap the trick, it’ll be used to secure a top 10 hit…but for the love of God leave Aha and “Take On Me Alone”. Not cool Pitbull, not cool. Sacrilege!


So few Splits this week but we did have a few consensuses, as Mikey and David agree to buy the Strokes and Chili Peppers and sell Pitbull! Thanks to both for their 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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Jeremy Thomas
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