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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.

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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