Connect with us

Song Reviews

Plies – “Really From Da Hood”

Published

on

Florida rapper Plies isn’t about let you forget his origins on this club banger from his new mixtape, You Need People Like Me. From the title to the incessant chorus to the gritty imagery, Plies—whose real name is Algernod Lanier Washington (!)—finds his groove and rides it for three minutes and fourteen seconds of decidedly non-commercial hip-hop.

Basically yelling his gruff vocals (reminiscently of DMX) over a snap hip-hop backing track, replete with high pitched synth, Plies clicks off a checklist of ghetto-centric occurrences and preferences for the entire length of the track, only pausing to remind you he’s “really really really from da hood doe.”

The hood—presumably the one of his particular upbringing—is where the feds go, where the rent’s low, where the yay (cocaine) is sold, where the goons lurk, where they ride big, bitch…you know the script. Like a country singer over-proving his rural credibility, Plies never digs any deeper than these gangsta clichés to illustrate his point. He who speaks loudest is the “realest” here, as Algernod spouts off, becoming increasingly boisterous and unintelligible as the bars go by.

Even by the end of the first verse, Plies has reduced nearly every word to a single syllable.

Admittedly I’ve always lumped Plies (who has bestowed upon the world such classic tracks as “Becky” and “Plenty Money”) in with other critically derided hip-hop artists like Soulja Boy and Gucci Mane, but I’ll have to retract that generalization here. Plies can actually flow when he wants to. He can also write a cohesive, well-crafted track if he cares to, as I found out by checking his back catalogue on YouTube.

Too bad he didn’t apply his writing skills to this slapdash release.

Even if “Really From Da Hood” wasn’t a tired laundry list set to bass and ringtone beeps, the ridiculous hook alone would make it nearly unlistenable. The staccato of “really really really” is overkill to the point of hilarity. Really.

Plies should spend a little more pen time—writing, not correctional—on his next hood dissertation.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Song Reviews

John Rich – “Another You”

Published

on

For a guy who is supposed to be a genius songwriter, John Rich sure does seem to be running out of ideas. World/Girl, Do/You, Out/Down–these are the best rhymes a three-time ASCAP Songwriter of the Year can come up with? Maybe he spent all his good lines on “Raising McCain.”

Rich’s songwriting has never been accused of being especially sophisticated (actually, neither has Rich), but he has nonetheless demonstrated a high aptitude for clever turns of phrase and unique, original word choice. The first single from his upcoming solo project showcases none of that. “Another You” is a song that sounds like it was written when Rich was really, really bored. Because it’s really, really boring.

And really, really bad.

A million lyrical miles away from the interesting, edgy material that made up Horse of a Different Color (the album that resurrected Rich’s flagging career and launched him into Super Galactic stardom as one half of Big & Rich–we miss you Big Kenny), “Another You” is neither interesting nor edgy.

Rather, it is completely effortless–and I obviously don’t mean that as a compliment, but that Rich literally seems to have put zero effort into its composition, almost as if he pulled lines out of a paper bag, or spent a few minutes aimlessly rearranging those little magnets that stick on your refrigerator door. You know, the ones with words on them that can be made to say things like “Pick up milk” or “Take the trash out” or “Reviewing this song makes me want to punch myself in the face.”

Aside from the fact that this song gets its lyrical ass kicked by David Kersh’s 1997 hit “Another You” (written by Brad Paisley), Rich’s take on post-breakup regret plays as incomprehensibly unbelievable. Decidedly timid and conservative in both concept and execution, it’s just hard to take Rich, country’s drama king, seriously when he goes into sensitive crooner mode.

Part of that is because Rich is a poor singer, comparatively speaking–one with a tragically limited range (a fact underscored without Big Kenny’s vocal support to add color to an otherwise drab voice).

More than this, however, is that the whole package just seems entirely fake and designed purely for commercial effect. Cue the strings. Here comes the crescendoing chorus, followed by the emotional vocal run on the final line. The song has no heart and the recording has no teeth. John Rich doesn’t care about this song. He didn’t care about it enough to invest himself in its composition, and that comes through in his singing.

So why should we care about it, either?

Continue Reading

Song Reviews

The Band Perry – “Hip To My Heart”

Published

on

New Republic Nashville sibling trio The Band Perry sprightly treks through country’s bubbly side on “Hip To My Heart,” a rollicking up-tempo that pulses with energy. Lead singer Kimberly Perry’s voice is a pleasant surprise, invigorating, full of youthful vitality and accented by just a hint of raspy grit.

Likewise, “Hip To My Heart” is happy, playful and charming. Unfortunately, it also makes very little sense. Written by the trio and Brett Beavers, the song opens with the lines “I like your lips like I like my Coca-Cola yeah/Oh how it pops and fizzes/You like my shirt like I like it when you hold my hand/The way it fits, it’s got me feeling, feeling lucky.

Things don’t improve much from there, as we’re run through a maze of distracting and unnecessary wordplay.

Any fashion pundit will tell you that trying too hard to appear hip is the surest way to come off looking like a poser. With “Hip To My Heart,” The Band Perry demonstrates a cool sense of musical style, crafting a song full of fresh hooks and interesting turns. But lyrically, this runs way too far outside the lines, so adorned with quirks that it comes off as gaudy and unmatched.

“Hip To My Heart” may also be mainstream country’s first big-time single to draw directly from the influence of label-mate Taylor Swift: By and for an very young audience, The Band Perry is more at home in a suburban mall than a seedy honky tonk. Without Swift’s same narrative deftness, however, “Hip To My Heart” amounts to pure fizz.

Continue Reading

Song Reviews

Katy Perry ft. Kanye West – “E.T.” (“Futuristic Lover”)

Published

on

No pop artist approaches matters of sexuality with more playful spunk than Katy Perry, but there’s no taste of cherry Chapstick present on her latest single.

There’s no “shocking” girl-on-girl action, no cotton candy-laced teenage dreams and no flashing of peacocks in the California sunshine. “E.T.” is raw sexual energy set to a dark, thumping, rave-inspired beat. And although Perry’s voice has never sounded bigger or richer, that energy alone is not enough to save what is otherwise a thoroughly second-rate song that’s plagued by an ill-conceived concept.

In “E.T.,” Perry sings that she’s ready for abduction, as well as the relatively innocuous lines, “Infect me with your lovin’/Fill me with your poison.” But as the song pounds along to a beat ripped from Russian duo t.A.T.u.’s 2002 hit “All The Things She Said,” the constant string of outer space metaphors quickly grows tiresome.

The song never rises to more than that multitude of metaphors, seemingly searching for as many different ways as possible to say the same thing (though never actually saying anything). The cut’s just over three minutes long, but by the time the easily-predicted ambient breakdown rolls around at the 2:07 mark, you’re likely to feel as though you’ve been thoroughly bludgeoned by the song’s weird commitment to its equally weird theme.

Perry’s trio of super producers (Dr. Luke, Max Martin and Ammo) have rendered this entirely danceable, but some of the lyrics (which they co-wrote with Perry) are unintentionally hilarious. In addition to calling the object of her affection “an alien,” Perry refers to him as “supersonic” (he’s very fast?) and says she wants to be “filled by his poison” (I don’t even want to know).

The line “Fill me with your poison” isn’t delivered with the same knowing smirk as “I wanna see your peacock.” Perry sings it with a straight face, apparently oblivious not to the sexual meaning of it but to the pure awkwardness of its construction.

All of this results in a slice of audio genre fiction that never transcends its plot, and which seems almost too ridiculous to actually come from the hands of four people as talented as these.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Top Stories