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Confection Corner: February 26th, 2009 Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Posted by Andy Hutchins in Confection Corner, Rockabye.
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I’m reviving this and running it every Wednesday, in Sedgwick’s stead.

I start today with Kelly Clarkson.

“My Life Would Suck Without You” is an excellent song with an abysmal title. (Seriously, shouldn’t it at least be “My Life (Would Suck Without You)” so it wouldn’t look like a Fall Out Boy work?) Think of it as Kelly’s bizarro “Since U Been Gone.” There, she was playfully vengeful and breathlessly independent; here she is encumbered with a significant other, feigning remorse and delighting in the destiny of it all.

Of course, the propulsive production on both tracks helps; “My Life” is significantly faster, from the opening riff (which is reminiscent of something or other) to the high-octane chorus, but the upbeat tone of both songs makes them the anthemic pieces they’re supposed to be, though this one sounds a little summery for February, especially with those plinking notes in the verses.

The credit’s due to Max Martin and Dr. Luke, the evil geniuses behind both tunes. When not otherwise destroying ’80s classics, they do a good job with this saccharine power-pop stuff.

Alas, Dr. Luke was tasked with making Flo Rida another megahit, and, in “Right Round,” may have minted it.

Maybe my biggest problem with Flo Rida is how he’s used the trappings of “hip-hop” to make substandard pop. He’s not a good rapper, gifted with a slippery flow that’s no more substantial than the fifth shot of Patron it would take to make any of the materialistic, misogynistic lyrics pop.

That flow’s perfect, admittedly, for fitting the large blocks in the walls of sound that are his club-friendly songs, as perfect as the reworked, Dead or Alive-appropriating chorus will be for crowded clubs.

But I, as a fan with an admittedly intellectual bias towards substance in lyrics, can only be chagrined to see that “Right Round” is atop the charts at the moment, and only hope that other rappers capable of dismantling tracks do such things to the instrumental to “Shone.” That dark and jittery bit of electro-hop, frankly, deserves better than Tramar Dillard or the five guys listed as his co-writers on “Right Round” who aren’t Timbaland, Dr. Luke, or Dead or Alive.

Writing’s the hallmark of the song currently in the Billboard Hot 100’s top 20 that I would most like to see claim the top spot.

And “Mad” is just one of Ne-Yo’s many writerly gems.

My love affair with Shaffer Smith’s discography, from “So Sick” to “Miss Independent” and most of the in-between, is for another day and another post, but it suffices to say the way Ne-Yo’s sweet voice and the bittersweet lyrics of “Mad” make it a midtempo treat are not unique to this song in his catalog.

The most important thing I get from Ne-Yo songs is emotional honesty, delivered through straightforward lyrics. I think it would be difficult to find a couple to whom the lyrics from the hook, chorus, and bridge did not apply at some point:

Nothin’ (fighting for)
Nothin’ (crying for)
Nothin’ (whoa-oh-oh)
But we won’t let it go for
Nothin’ (No not for)
Nothin’
This should be nothin’ to a love like what we got

Oh, baby, I, know, some-times
It’s gonna rain 
But baby, can we make up now
‘Cause I can’t sleep through the pain
(Cant sleep through the pain)

Girl, I don’t wanna go to bed (mad at you)
And I don’t want you to go to bed (mad at me)
No, I don’t wanna go to bed (mad at you) 
And I don’t want you to go to bed (mad at me)
Oh, no no no

Oh baby this love ain’t gonna be perfect (perfect, perfect, oh oh)
And just how good it’s gonna be
We can fuss and we can fight
Long as everything alright between us
Before we go to sleep
Baby, we’re gonna be happy

Those capture what fights in relationships are, and the tinkling piano throughout make this a go-to song for dour days and late-night teen texting. That should get it to sell, right.

I’m going to bring this back every Wednesday, and I welcome your submissions for song and/or topics in the comments. There won’t always be three songs here, as some weeks will have more or fewer, but I promise you’ll get a full-scale review of at least one per week.

And, if you liked it, or you know what that riff from “My Life” sounds like, feel free to tell me as much in the comments. My life would suck without you wonderful readers.

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Comments»

1. JB* - Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thank you – you put the finger to what I couldn’t quite figure out was wrong with MLWSWO when you said it was too summery for February.

2. DougOLis - Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Question: What does Confection Corner mean? Is there a theme that this is going to be built around?

I keep wondering what the riff and the hook remind of on “My Life” and it’s bugged the shit out of me since I first heard it. There’s something about it that reminds me of a friend’s local band but I’m virtually positive there’s something else there too.

3. Rockabye - Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Confection Corner means this is going to be pop-centric, a review of the charts and what’s bubbling. So, uh, anything poppy.

4. JB* - Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This may be a little too obvious, but isn’t the opening just a faster “Since U Been Gone”?

5. Rockabye - Thursday, February 26, 2009

No, the opening is (and I realized this yesterday) just a little tweak on Pink’s “Who Knew” riff. I’m going to give Maura credit for this, but I can’t link to where she wrote it because Idolator’s sort of broken at the moment.

Also, and maybe this is just me, the chorus seems like a sped-up, bubblier version of “Behind These Hazel Eyes,” now that I consider it.


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