Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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Charts on Fire / Livebloggin’: MTV’s Top 20 Videos of the Day, 3/17/10

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on March 17, 2010

One of the many wonderful benefits of being a partial insomniac /vampire is that I’m often actually awake for the hours of the day that MTV shows music videos (yes, this really does still happen, although it was a close call for a couple years in the mid-00s). Even better, apparently MTV now has a regular countdown of its top 20 videos of the day from 8:00-10:00 AM, a development which would’ve cost me about about an aggregate year’s worth of sleep if it had happened back when I was 12. And since I’m up for good and have a couple hours to kill before going to the first of my two jobs today–don’t be like me, kids–I figured this would be a good opportunity for me to sound off on some of the top 40’s recent best and brightest. And what luck you all are in to bear witness to my period of semi-lucidity! (I missed #20 switching with Mike and Mike in the Morning–one of early-morning TV’s other rare pleasures–so we’re starting at #19).

19. Trey Songz – “Say Ahh” The revival of Trey Songz into one of R&B’s most relevant artists has been, for my money, one of the more unexpected and pleasant surprises of the last half a year of pop music. He’s basically reinvented himself from being a nondescript sing-the-hook-and-get-out artist to a legitimate rival to The-Dream for being the genre’s proper heir to R. Kelly. “Say Aah” isn’t as good as “I Invented Sex” or “Neighbors Know My Name,” but it’s still better than it has any right to be–even the Fabolous guest verse (and really, who optionally decides to put more Fabolous on their song) has some catchy moments. Also, I’m not positive that “Maple leaf bottle got you feelin’ like Toronto” is a direct hockey reference, but if it is, I think that marks hip-hop’s most prominent puck shoutout since Nelly wore a St. Louis Blues hat in the “Country Grammar” video.

18. La Roux – “Bulletproof” Yes, I like it–more and more each time I hear it, really–but I still can’t for the life of me fathom why it’s popular. 80s nostalgia is out, ambiguous sexuality only sells in the States if the chick is kinda slutty, and though the song is quality, it’s not such an obvious classic that I can see how radio just couldn’t hold it back or anything. Good for them, good for us, but I still feel like I’m owed an explanation from someone somewhere on how this song ever made the journey overseas.

17. B.O.B. f/ Bruno Mars – “Nothin’ on You” I like “I’ll Be in the Sky” and “Haters Everywhere” more, but if B.O.B. just needed a more obvious crossover to lay the groundwork for what should be one of hip-hop’s more interesting careers going forward in the 2010s, then hell, I’m all for it. I never got the appeal of this style of animation, though, even when The Rapture and Passion Pit were doing it.

16. Lady Antebellum – “Need You Now” God, I can’t for the life of me remember what the last even country-ish video I saw on MTV was. Currently sitting just one spot out of pole position on the pop charts, the mega-success of this song really couldn’t make me prouder of American pop music–no country song of the last ten years deserved to crossover as much as this one, and no song has. Sometimes shit is just right.

15. Paramore – “Brick By Boring Brick” How can you tell that Paramore are for real as songwriters? They title their song after some throwaway line from the second verse, confident enough in their chorus to carry the song on its own without a real phrase to latch on to. It’s a little unfortunate that the singles off Brand New Eyes so far have performed a little underwhelmingly compared to their Riot! hits, because they display all the maturity and growth that you’d want from a band on their second album. The “ba-da-ba” chant at the end of this one might be their finest moment yet. I’m kinda weirded out by Hayley as a blonde though–still prefer her as a redhead. Especially when she’s wearing a Philadelphia Flyers t-shirt.

14. Taio Cruz f/ Ludacris – “Break Your Heart” So this guy kinda looks like Akon, huh? The year’s first surprise #1 has left me mostly underwhelmed so far–indistinct and a little weak, with Ludacris’s verse doing little to dissuade my suspicions that Luda now no longer even takes the time to even properly Mad Lib his guest spots. Apparently Senor Cruz’s credentials as a songwriter are bonafide, though, and I saw him wearing a Black Sabbath t-shirt in a pic once, so I’m willing to give him a little benefit of the doubt for the time being.

13. OneRepublic – “All the Right Moves” OneRepublic…they’ve got some good slow-burning hits to their credit, don’t they? Like “Apologize” and “Stop and Stare” before it, “All the Right Moves” seems to have taken forever to really come on–I first remember hearing this song when the Phillies were still on their last playoff run–but it’s more than deserving of its late success, an oddly creeping number that has the same quietly piercing quality (that Ryan Tedder knows him some falsetto, let me tell you) that made “Apologize” so unforgettable. Total shit video, though.

12. Young Money – “Roger That” Is Nicki Minaj on her way to being the biggest female crossover rapper since Missy Elliott? She’s already been featured on four top 100 hits this year by four different artists (Ludacris, Mariah Carey, Usher, Lil’ Wayne), and that’s not even counting the three Young Money hits. She’s going to have an almost unprecedented level of exposure by the time she ever gets to releasing some high-exposure singles of her own, and the world has waited a long time for a chick rapper with her level of skill, force of personality and crossover potential to burst on the scene. If she was as big as Weezy himself–and by all appearances, Nicki seems to be something like her label head’s female doppelganger–would you really be surprised? Not I.

11. Just Kait – “Hot Stuff” Has it really taken us this long for a punked-up cover of “Hot Stuff” to hit the airwaves? Shame that this one had to come attached to an MTV TV movie called Turn the Beat Around, apparently loosely based on Flashdance–as such, this version kind of has a corporate quality to it that keeps it from really unleashing the way a quality amped-up rendition of this song should. Also, maybe a stupid question, but if this is really from a makeup of Flashdance, why not do “Maniac” instead? That song is in need of reclamation just as badly. Plus it already has a fuckin’ wicked guitar solo.

10. Roscoe Dash f/ Soulja Boy – “All the Way Turnt Up” Are we sure that Roscoe Dash isn’t just Soulja Boy himself, maybe in some weird Sasha Fierce / Chris Gaines-type alternative personality mold? Irrelevant either way–people are only ever going to remember but five words from this song, and if it’s not Soulja Boy himself in fact yelling them, no one is going to be able to recall six months from now who it is that actually did. Props to Soulja, in any event, for being arguably the first artist in pop history whose songs are better the more annoying their chorus hook is. Seems like some paradigm-shift type shit.

9. Lil Wayne f/ Eminem – “Drop the World” So good that I was really, really hoping that Eminem would find a way to bring some of that old magic to his guest verse–no such luck. In any event, nice to see Weezy back with an unqualified winner after some iffier Rebirth singles, with both his best opening line (“I got ice in my veins / blood in my eyes”) and chorus hook (“I’ma pick the world up and I’ma drop it on your fuckin’ head) in recent memory. On another note, this is the second straight hip-hop video on this list to prominently feature skateboarding–are we re-trending here, or re-appropriating, or what?

8. Justin Bieber f/ Ludacris – “Baby” No kid really deserves the lows Bieber will inevitably suffer in his post-puberty years, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to enjoy witnessing them anyway. The fact that Usher and Drake show up in this video just to kind of monitor its many travesties and don’t do anything to try to stop it probably puts them in violation of some sort of Good Samaritan law, no?

7. Ke$ha f/ 3Oh!3 – “Blah Blah Blah” Boy, has any breakout artist gone from refreshingly charming to unbelievably obnoxious in a shorter time than Ke$ha? I thought Ke$ha might have been a less pretentious Lady GaGa, but turns out, she’s just a slightly grungier Katy Perry. How the hell do 3Oh!3 still exist, by the way?

6. Rihanna – “Rude Boy” So Rihanna kinda wishes she was M.I.A., huh? There are certainly worse role models to emulate, and I respect the lip service that Rihanna has been paying to the underground as of late, but I just hope she doesn’t go too far with it. You were still great when you were doing “Take a Bow,” remember.

5. Never Shout! Never – “Can’t Stand It” Who? What? How? “Everything you do / Is just super-duper-cute”? God, you kids are just not making it easy for me these days, are you?

4. Orianthi – “According to You” I give up. This song is great. Maybe I’m just a sucker for blonde pixie shredders (or for music videos taken from the guitar’s point of view–all too rare in this day and age), but as lame as this song’s general conceit is, its endless exuberance and stunning unselfconsciousness has completely worn me down over time. You get my personal thumbs up, Orianthi.

3. Jason DeRulo – “In My Head” Thoroughly undeserving of a second hit, this Mr. DeRulo. Evidence:

  1. “I’ll be your teacher / I’ll show you the ropes” = one of the least convincing come-ons in pop history
  2. Plays a clip of “Whatcha Say” at both the beginning and the end of the video. If you wanted to do one or the other to jog viewers’ memory as to why they should give a shit about you, that’s understandable, but both is simply unacceptable.
  3. Who sets a video in a convenience store parking lot, anyway?

And that’s not even mentioning the “Ja-Son” pronunciation debacle.

2. Lady GaGa f/ Beyonce – “Telephone” Say this for Miss GaGa I suppose–she never phones in her videos–no pun intended. I do wonder what kind of influence this all has on Beyonce, though. Does Beyonce come home to Jay-Z after a day of hanging out with Gaga and want to do nothing but watch Marlene Dietrich movies? I imagine lots of “I don’t even recognize you anymore!” / “This isn’t the woman I married!” type arguments. This song sucks, by the way, but that almost seems besides the point when approaching a video like this.

1. Timbaland f/ Justin Timberlake – “Carry Out” I appreciate IHOP references in my hip-hop as much as anyone, but carrying a fast-food extended metaphor throughout an entire song seems just a bit much, and “Take my order, ‘coz your body like a carry-out” still doesn’t make any sense. When the fuck is JT coming back with a new album, anyway? Weak #1, March 17th.

Crap. Time to get up.

3 Responses to “Charts on Fire / Livebloggin’: MTV’s Top 20 Videos of the Day, 3/17/10”

  1. MBI said

    “Boy, has any breakout artist gone from refreshingly charming to unbelievably obnoxious in a shorter time than Ke$ha? ”

    She wasn’t refreshingly charming to me. She was just walking that razor line between charming and irritating. Every time I get to groove to Tik Tok, it irritated me, but every time I got irritated I had to get up and dance. This was a frustrating experience.

    I have no such issue with “Blah Blah Blah,” which is so bad I’m close to giving up on music.

    “Telephone” the song is all right, but the video is godawful.

  2. Brent said

    I always thought Ke$ha was just a white trash Katy Perry, but if the next single is “Take It Off” I might be on her side for a couple of weeks until she starts irritating me again.

    “According to You” is a rare joy for me, being one of the few songs in heavy rotation at my work’s piped in radio station that doesn’t make me want to start murdering customers. Of course the other one is “Need You Now”…

    And on behalf of Canada, I apologize for Bieber. We need to stop exporting stuff that requires an apology (though just be glad Hedley haven’t gotten the big American break they’re clearly gunning for…)

  3. chrisy1 said

    I think it’s good to see ‘All The Right Moves’ get some credit. Ryan Tedder is an amazing songwriter and One Republic are hugely underrated in todays music industry.

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