“Unauthorized” video: Drake – “Best I Ever Had”
Yesterday, word of Michael Jackson‘s death spread like a riot through the social networks. But once the conjecture had been put to bed and the tributes and eulogies posted, most feeds marveled at the novelty of music videos on MTV. In its zeal to cover the passing of an icon — instead of the latest thug-lite nursery rhyme from Akon — the network had blown the dust off the Betacams and started spinning MJ’s old jams nonstop. It was just like 1983, only without Duran Duran or Synchronicity to play foil to the dominance of Thriller. MTV also blew the dust of John Norris‘s crypt. That wasn’t as great of an idea.
Back then, there were too many great songs. They defined an era; they continue to define wedding receptions. Nowadays, we’re dealt jams from “rising hip-hop star” Drake, whose “Best I Ever Had” used the “unauthorized” tag to find its way to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. Drake’s like a Target version of Lil Wayne, his collabo partner for a different, equally “unauthorized” chart gainer. While Weezy isn’t even a rapper anymore — he’s a bounty hunter like Dengar, or a man who plays guitar for reasons we don’t understand, or a guy spitting the insane fantastic — Drake can’t muster much more than a few empty mumbles.
It’s too bad “Best” is a hit. “Unauthorized” doesn’t mean anything anymore; neither does “blowing up on the Internet.” Like the news of Jackson’s death, or the word on the street in Tehran, the Internet in 2009 is expected to provide tangible evidence through the force of many voices. Sure, that backfires. But it seems to backfire the most when the hook is that a song was somehow forbidden (or at least marketed that way) replaces the expectation that it should have a hook of its own. You know, the pop kind.
It’s summer, for fuck’s sake. This is when we need our summer jams, songs with hooks so razor sharp they kill you in your sleep. Instead, dudes ride a few well-placed YouTube files to the top of the ringtone chart and expect that traction to take them all the way to the big top, the Hot 100, the place that used to scream “Everyone’s loving this right now.”
Instead, right now, it’s just chock full o’ nuts who made the Internet their daddy. And the radio industry wonders why no one gives a shit anymore. Well, no one but the shadowy group that makes dudes like Drake score one for the boring seats.
Each week Johnny Loftus will select a song from your hit parade to explicate, celebrate, or humiliate.