Tag Archives: Pay to Slum

Pay to Slum: In the club at the end of the world.

Britney Spears - 3

Everyone has the flu, unless you work at Goldman Sachs, in which case you’re Johnny Amlerica, and your bonus check has too many zeroes. Children with the names of birds choke the sky in experimental flying vehicles, until it turns out they really don’t (Where the Wild Things Weren’t), and all the helicopter pilots west of the Mississippi go back to smoking crumpled cigarettes and grumbling about the clouds in the flight deck coffee. A president wins a Nobel Prize and everyone snickers, a panda conducts home invasions in an attempt to hawk Chinese food, and the world waits for word from the 1990s economy relay tower that it’s transmitting a schematic for how to fix everything. Too bad, because the software required to transmit that information wasn’t invented until 2006, which means it’s game over man, and we’re stuck out here with the hissing wind and a bad case of the Kardashians. There’s no control; we’re just grinding metal. And pop radio is full of mouse-click sleek songs that go nowhere beyond text speak platitudes and the lifted choruses of four-year-old Imogen Heap songs.

And then Britney, a French dude, and motherfucking Akon show up, and suddenly we’re in the pipe five by five. Sic transit gloria mundi.

Continue reading Pay to Slum: In the club at the end of the world.

Pay to Slum: Get me some cash out, baby. Let's do it again.

Video: Katy Perry – “Waking Up In Vegas”

Another week, another black eye for America. BEP are still our favorite Martians for a 21st week. Clearly this is a quartet with a diabolical plan to destroy us. Wasn’t that Taboo seen sneaking away from the Shuttle Discovery? It was he who busted the valve that delayed Discovery’s launch. But anyway, back to the Hot 100. There’s some other hilarity in the chart. Kenny Chesney is suddenly Dave Matthews‘ homeboy. Miley Cyrus also makes noise this week with “Party in the USA,” sure to be making noise as the preteen set heads back to school. “Ma, buy me these bedazzled jeans. Miley said to!” Something in that brew smells like freedom and commerce.

The charts also see a host of artists with less name recognition on the national scene, but an ability to make waves regionally and via download. See? With some clever local canvassing and an eventual big money push, your ringtone single with the autotuned sex scene can be on its way to a homeroom somewhere in the complacent heartland of America. It’ll be just like those dingbats yelling at congressional representatives. Only, you know, with autotune.

Continue reading Pay to Slum: Get me some cash out, baby. Let's do it again.

Pay to Slum: A beast goes to Mars.

Video: Shakira – “She Wolf”

Shakira‘s ‘She Wolf’ roars up 21-13 this week thanks to 75,000 new downloads this week. The song’s Spanish version, ‘Loba,’ goes to No. 1 on Latin Pop Airplay.”

Yeah, but what’s “roar” in Spanish? The crafty copy over at Billboard is accurate. It’s only been a few weeks since Shak again said “What’s Up, Doc?” to the US charts, and already, inescapably, like diesel artillery, her “She Wolf” is staring down the Black Eyed Peas‘ ceremonial altar like The Rock’s unblinking face spray painted on a boulder. And the saliva is pooling on the well-trampled earth.

Continue reading Pay to Slum: A beast goes to Mars.

Pay to Slum: A hologram at the end of the world and other tales.

The Dead Weather

Josh Groban might make the closed captions sing, but it’s Will.i.am‘s world to steal. Did you hear the news? i.am and his band, Los Angeles-based underground Tybo fighting champions and dance-pop vocal trio the Black Eyed Peas, have with this week’s activity on the Hot 100 been officially canonized by the ruling order of their native Mars. Their jerseys were also retired. But don’t switch off your hologram machines just yet, Midwestern children — “I gotta feelin'” your product placement party visionary and beloved spin move endorser is still gonna hologram his way across the nation. Will.he.WILL!

Between Fergie-offs at the local Y and keeping up with all Will’s tweets from the gaseous fog near Phobos (“I don’t even know where that is, but it sounds hologro-mantic!“), it can be difficult to remember that there’s a real rock ‘n’ roll band behind the digitized neon smoke and bedazzled mirrors. That’s right, and they’re called the Dead Weather.

Continue reading Pay to Slum: A hologram at the end of the world and other tales.

Pay to Slum: 3Oh!3, Don’t Trust Me

Video: 3Oh!3 – “Don’t Trust Me”

3Oh!3. Or at least that’s how it’s written on the page. The Boulder, Colorado-based band has gone Splashwater Falls with high school kids and post-emo undergrads who’ve moved on from that genre’s woe-is-suburban-me overtones to a sound that, instead of wedging screamo and hardcore antics into the mix, mines the remaining shards of the electro blog-house moment to buff up and reveal the cool diamond behind the antisocial coal. Writing drippy MySpace diary entries is one thing. Dancing the cool jam of the moment is better.

It’s true! After all, “Don’t Trust Me,” 3Oh!3’s hot shit single, shares its bottom end power source with numerous chart contenders, including Katy Perry‘s “Hot N Cold” and “Love Drunk,” the current charting single from Boys Like Girls, another group who survived the finale of emo as this generation knew it.

Continue reading Pay to Slum: 3Oh!3, Don’t Trust Me

Pay to Slum: Oldsmobile Cailat

Video: Colbie Caillat – “Fallin’ For You” (live at Six Flags, Louisville)

“And Lady GaGa‘s ‘LoveGame’ is still No. 5,” states this week’s Billboard chart action report, and you can almost sense the screen saying “I know, can you believe it?” While GaGa herself reads Billboard‘s statement and declares that she hasn’t lost a step in the bed, America reads it and figures it’s true: her best material peaked too early, and now there’s no one left to fight off will.i.am‘s advances. We need a hero.

The problem with today’s pop heroes is that they fly too close to earth. They’re awesome all of the sudden, but then slam through three or four billboards on the interstate before skidding a few times and coming to a stop in a pile of “Why is THIS on your iPod?” That leaves the veterans — “Check out the vintage section at this year’s Lolla! I got some MCA-green Manic Panic!” — and Michael Jackson — “That’s a big Sha-MOAN!” — to grab the summer jam gauntlet. Can they do it? Probably. Vincent Hannah chimes in: “They will walk and you will let them.”

Pacino and the screen are probably right. It’s tough being a pop fan when’s there no new jam to like or even dislike at any great volume. And just like that, Colbie Caillat drifts to a no. 12 debut on this week’s chart, her “Falling for You” drifting like a Sunday morning stroll through Boredom Woods. It sure is pretty in here. Wait, which way is out? Hello? Anyone? Michael?


Each week Johnny Loftus will select a song from your hit parade to explicate, celebrate, or humiliate.

Colbie Caillat: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Pay to Slum: Drake, "Best I Ever Had"

“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.

Continue reading Pay to Slum: Drake, "Best I Ever Had"

Pay to Slum: Black Eyed Peas, "I Gotta Feeling"

Video: Black Eyed Peas – “I Gotta Feeling”

Visualize world Peas? Not on this planet. While will.i.am is definitely a universalist — that’s been a tenet of his group from way back, way before the moon missions and Ferginomics — his gospel has grown suckier. It has no flags. All horizontal dance moves and platitudes, it spends mountains out of the coffers underneath Black Eyed Peas Multi-Platinum Capital & Savings to become what is essentially ad copy for the BEP brand. (apl.de.ap is gonna ride on that missile they’re shooting into the moon. His money clip is a spaceship.) Not incredibly, will.i.am’s own turn as a pitchman for Pepsi assured the soft drink giant’s sugary bauble of a renewed logo would be even more boring than it already is.

Dude’s like Hardee’s.

And yet, it only takes 249,000 people to make a hit like this possible. That’s not a lot. Across America, right now, there are at least that many people smiling and nodding at one another in shouty entranceways, having decided that 30 minutes is a perfectly reasonable amount of time to wait for a table at TGI Friday’s. There are at least that many kids who’ve at least thought about maybe downloading Brokencyde‘s new album. These facts are a signal of the Rapture, as you know. It’s that one day very soon when we’ll join together around the methane burn-off cone at the nearest landfill and combine the precious metals we didn’t already mail to Cash4Gold into a melty totem that looks like Fergie. It’ll be fried, and you’ll be able to eat it. But those same facts also prove that somewhere, right now, there are a bunch of parties going on, and they’re all as boring as BEP’s video starter kit promised. The will.i.am-o-gram strikes again.

Hmm, symmetrical energy fields are in balance this morning. That can only mean one thing, America. Taboo got up on the right side of the dancefloor.


Each week Johnny Loftus will select a song from your hit parade to explicate, celebrate, or humiliate.

Black Eyed Peas: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Pay to Slum: Lady Gaga, "Love Game"

Video: Lady GaGa – “Love Game”

Anyone educated in sex knows the facts: when you’re arrested for breakdance fighting, seduce the nearest cop. When Lady Gaga has sex, it’s only in two places: a 26th century parking garage or in a phone booth after a particularly steamy breakdance fight. This is because, as she says, she’s educated in sex. But it’s also because Lady Gaga does lines of WTF off the hyphen in dance-pop.

“Love Game” isn’t even the best single off of The Fame. “Just Dance” and “Poker Face” still power neon lights on the moon, and have better versions of kooky Gaga speak like “disco stick.” But that stick is just long enough to give “Game” the Lady brand of weirdness. It’s articulated, calculated, and calibrated to make you suddenly crave crappy, but totally baller-ific bottle service. That’s the Gaga guarantee, etched on a brass plate in a time capsule she discovered jutting from solid rock on the floor of the Pacific. (This was while she was a passenger in X-Tina‘s bathysphere. Underwater, Christina Aguilera calls all-time X-Tina.) “Make them crave bottle service,” read the runes, and Lady Gaga knew it was time to buy a new bodysuit. Oh, and to always be educated in sex.


Each week Johnny Loftus will select a song from your hit parade to explicate, celebrate, or humiliate.

Lady GaGa: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki.

Pay to Slum: Black Eyed Peas, "Boom Boom Pow"

Video: Black Eyed Peas – “Boom Boom Pow”

Taboo is a fellow in Black Eyed Peas. Also known as He Whose Name Has No Periods, the rapper, dancer, and top notch haberdasher is apparently also a galactic ambassador, a dude who filled the Sea of Tranquility with asparagus dip just so he and apl.de.ap could chomp on planets and taste rainbows. It has to be this way. BEP are popular vertically, horizontally, and every which way but loose. Their digital downloads come with extra ones and zeroes to handle the breathless overflow. They break periodically into television broadcasts with messages of faith and power in the form of easy-to-read beats and language without sentence structure. This is easy when you have a summer house on SPACEWAY-1.

But let’s get back to Taboo. He’s on a supersonic boom, you know, and when you hear that spaceship zoom, that’s when he steps inside the room. Or so it sort of goes in a later verse of “Boom Boom Pow,” BEP’s current chart topper and the lead single from The E.N.D. Taboo continues, forsaking English in favor of the jargon spit on the showroom floor at the Alpha Centauri Best Buy: “That low-fi stupid a bit,” he glitters. “I’m on that HD flat.” Taboo knows what he raps. That Best Buy has the greatest deals in the universe.

Fergie, of course, is also along for the Peas’ latest meteoric ride to the jutting tip of the Billboard Hot 100. Warning: she dismisses the world as “2000 and late.” We’re all dead like Duchovny in The Rapture. But she offers us solace, too — while we’ll never stalk the stars and rings of Saturn like the quartet, whose great space coasting jeepney is tricked out with lazers, we must only declare that we’re friends with Peas. Presto, it’s salvation.

“People in the place,” the Fergalicious Lady of Fatima bellows. “If you want to get down, put your hands in the air.” And then she gets will.i.am to drop the beat that will save us. Because In BEP’s universe, the day the earth stood still was also the day it danced contentedly toward revolution.


Each week Johnny Loftus will select a song from your hit parade to explicate, celebrate, or humiliate.

Black Eyed Peas: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki.