I actually liked Holler If You Hear Me. Perhaps it made for a boring musical (I’ve never seen any others, tbh) but I get why they left the rival crew faceless and kept the conflict mostly moral. And putting the songs in dialogue with one another and creating dialogue within the songs themselves, having different characters rap different lines, I thought that was well done.
The rest of the world, apparently, disagreed, and the show closes on Sunday, leaving me with a nothing but a few half-memories, a few half-opinions and the following three photos. Fellow Fever fans — Maura! Nick! — might get a kick out them.
One of my favorite moments from Romeo on Saturday night — and lord knows, there were so many of them: “Ella y Yo,” “Propuesta” in the encore, “Un Beso” with Jennifer, Royce, Bernie Williams, the fucking fact of it — wasn’t just that he reassembled Aventura to close with “Obsesion” but how incredibly fast the group began to play the song. Much faster than already uptempo original and the Live in 2002 version, which actually slows the song down and adds a verse or two from the otherwise sus English remix.
In retrospect, this was probably planned — there were too many musicians on stage for them all to spontaneously jump to the same speed — but at the time I was convinced that they did this because of nerves. Like, these guys were so excited to be together, on stage at Yankee Stadium and playing their first big hit that they ended up playing it a solid 20 bpm too fast. It’s possible, I guess.
Six more months on the dirtball: Some years you count your trophies, your dollars, the new stubble that has begun to fill out your embarrassingly patchy beard; others you just cross your fingers and hope that when the ball drops, most of the people you know are still above ground and Video Music Box is still on the air. 2014 might go either way. Here are my five most played songs from its first half.
5. 5 Seconds of Summer - “She Looks So Perfect”
"Simmer down, summer down / They say we’re too young to amount to anything else" would be the learner’s permit "Turn down for what" if the appeal of "Turn Down For What" weren’t already so broad. Open your heart and this piece of bubblegum punk can cross demographics in a similar way. If you’re not won over by the buzzing guitars and the "mixtape straight out of ‘94," consider how endearingly teenage it is that the singer doesn’t even understand what’s great about his own song: the whole thing is about fleeting beauty, but this guy’s out getting tattoos and buying rings. Perhaps someday he’ll understand what’s really going here, and perhaps when he does he’ll be so humble as to acknowledge the clarity and accuracy of my analysis.
Possible rule: You can only make fun of the “American Apparel underwear” line if you’ve never clicked a drop-down menu that narrows your search results to exclusively “outerwear.”
4. Florida Georgia Line feat. Luke Bryan - “This Is How We Roll”
If they’re really singin’ out everything on the radio, have they noticed that Calvin Harris’ current hit is basically a Luke Bryan song?
3. Cash Cash - “Take Me Home”
I wonder if it’d be interesting to do a story about the club DJs of New Jersey. Not the Jersey Club club DJs of New Jersey — those guys have been for the most part well covered — the ones from places like Asbury Park and Seaside Heights who have been pushing what would eventually be called EDM for a decade plus, only to be overshadowed by big names and new points of distribution once the stuff actually broke. Why doesn’t anyone ask them what they think about the future of EDM? Are they at all bitter? Or is the rising tide lifting their party boats too?
ANYWAYS, “Take Me Home” is an obvious one, a bridge-and-tunnel banger (note to subway riders: “Cash / Cash” is what you see over the toll boths that guard Manhattan) thats filled with cleanly articulated cliches as meta as you want them to be. These kids — my age, nevermind — spent all week figuring out how to go to the city, go to the club; now they’re there and all they want to do is go home.
2. Jennifer Lopez - “I Love Yah Papi”
This year’s “Hold Yuh,” kind uh. “If you wanna kill the body gotta start with the head,” says Jennie, but Detail’s beat works in the opposite direct, hooking you with some playful bass and synth and before tripping you up with that on-the-4 crash and those Tino Martinez-in-the-bicycle spokes hi-hats.
1. Enrique Iglesias feat. Gente de Zona and Descemer Bueno - “Bailando”
This one’s not only a surprise, it’s a surprise that offers me new ones every time I listen. The slinking internal rhymes, the interplay between Enrique and his Cuban collaborators, those echoing “mid-Eighties dub edit” handclaps, the contigos, “tocarte / Abrazamate” — all have at one point both brought on (and then helped me ignore the shame of) grooving and gasping in public spaces not intended for grooving and gasping. Back in February, I never never never would have guessed that 2014 would produce a Latin chart-topper better than “Odio,” but here we are. The year of tropical is very real.
Question of World Historical Significance: I’m familiar with the idea that Nirvana killed hair metal. I’m also familiar (thanksSpin!) with the idea that this first idea is for the most part untrue — another instance where convenient narrative trumps accurate history, a confusion of causation and correlation, whatever.
I’m less familiar with the idea presented by the talking head who comes in at 6:07 in this Pet Shop Boys documentary. Referring to Neil and Chris’ inability to cross over to the U.S. pop charts post-Behaviour, the guy (I watched it over the weekend and forget his name) says the following:
Nirvana actually changed everything, just like the Beatles changed everything when they came along. For radio, they changed it in a good and bad way: They kind of shook music out of the doldrums it was in, but they also closed music to a lot of dance tracks. So now matter how great their singles were — “Can You Forgive Her?” would come out, but it wouldn’t get played.
Does anyone know if there is some truth to that? Seems like there could be…