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1520 Sedgwick Avenue: July 21st, 2008 Monday, July 21, 2008

Posted by Andy Hutchins in 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Rockabye, Sleeping on Fire.
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Both Sedgwick and Sleeping on Fire, because this song is that awesome.

And because I have another great one after the jump.

This is Ne-Yo, writer of “Irreplaceable,” “Let Me Love You,” and the most awesomely shameless “A Milli” freestyle possible.

And he made a video, though Busta has to be super-blazed to say this beat’s the game-changer.

First, “That Oprah.” It’s straight up one of the most fun songs I’ve heard all year. Swizz Beats is a C- rapper at best, but as a hook man and a producer, he’s no less than a B+, and taking the itinerant strings of “Viva la Vida” and adding some skittish tinkles from what could be a cowbell, a handclap, some scratches, and the drum shots scattered throughout makes this an effervescent, low-calorie joy.

The lyricism sounds like an eighth grader’s imagined boasts after reading an issue of Forbes (“Bill Gates, Steve Jobs/iPhones, Microsoft/My paper is very long/Your paper is very soft” is the main offender, but the Carlos Slim reference wins points), and he’s likely just plain wrong about the Black Card/Global Express Card thing, because from what I can tell, the Global Express Card is designed more for the hoi polloi.

The hook, however, is genius-level stupidity, name-checking MJ and Tiger and coining the new best term for big-time scratch in a while as he echoes in the background, yammering about throwing hands up and bouncing. “It’s like we can’t make no fun records no more,” he mock-laments near the end, knowing full well he’s made the exception to the rule and already taken the listener on the ride.

“Now I don’t normally do this, but, uh,” on the other hand, marks Ne-Yo’s “A Milli” as a faux fierce shot at, seemingly, the world of music. He’s right about his essential point: His songwriting money probably is more than we could imagine and dwarfs a lot of artists’ stashes, especially because he’s arguably the best writer in R&B of this decade.

But, seriously, the guy who wrote and sang that he was “so sick of love songs” is now sort-of spitting about a “red dot on your forehead”? That’s about as big a character stretch as Keanu Reeves playing a human being.

The great thing is that it’s all so ignorant and brash that it works, and there are good, writerly lines (“My middle name is More Bread/And my last name is Than Your Bread” follows the above threat, and “I ain’t lyin’/Your girlfriend’s favorite song is mine” is a kneecapper) scattered throughout. A stunning amount of effort that went into this frivolity, basically a vicarious excursion as a rapper for a slow jam man, and that makes it a more-than-worthwhile change-up.

And I have links for both of them, and a Coldplay B-side to boot. (Put in the email, and the link appears.)

Swizz Beats, “That Oprah”

Ne-Yo, “A Milli (Remix)”

Coldplay, “Death Will Never Conquer”

Oh, and there’s more Sedgwick in a couple hours. It’s tourney time, after all.

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