Those guys on stage there? Yeah, they're douchebags. I've never met them, no. But I've listened to their stellar new album, Want, and that's all I need to summarize the characters of hip-hop group 3OH!3.
Ahem. The lyrics of "Starstrukk": I think I should know/ how to make love to something innocent/ without leaving my fingerprints out/ L-o-v-e's just another word I never learned to pronounce
Hip-hop is alive and well, ladies and gentlemen! And, thankfully, it hasn't been muted by the age of Miley Cyrus and 50 Cent's "Ayo Technology," arguably the worst hip-hop song ever created (it both single-handedly destroyed Fiddy's career and tarnished the slowly-fading image of superproducer Timbaland).
Rather, it's been revived by a white boy with Garageband on his Mac. Albeit a heartless, chauvinistic white boy with no ambitions beyond getting the girl in "the see-through shirt" and "daisy dukes." Which is cool with me.
Want is an album I'm not sure I could swallow completely. I mean, there's only so much yelling "BI***!"that a man can take, especially when it's blasting out of headphones or during rush hour. But three cuts off the album--which is fantastic in its entirety, by the way--are strong enough that I have to write about them.
(For the record, I heard about 3OH!3 when my brother showed me their Myspace a week ago. Thanks, Bo! You were actually helpful!)
Aside from "Starstrukk," with it's scratched-up beat and whistling effects, both "Punk Bi***" and "I'm Not Your Boyfriend Baby" impressed me. "Starstrukk" is the best track though, with brutal lyrics and an out-of-this-world instrumental during the chorus, which makes me wonder why producers like Nate "Danja" Hills are paid any money at all when a little white boy from Colorado can outproduce them in quality ten times over.
"Punk Bi***" has a typical hip-hop flow, which is a bad thing, with a Linkin Park-esque chorus, which is a worse thing. There's even "popping them bottles" in the chorus, which is the worst lyrical sin any artist can commit in my book. But "Punk" succeeds because of a fantastic synth line and enough tempo variation that similarities to other tracks (anything by...*gulp*...T-Pain) kind of melts away. It's the weakest of the three tracks, but I can see this attracting prepubescent boys to radio again, after Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl" scared them away.
I'm assuming "I'm Not Your Boyfriend Baby" is the highlight of 3OH!3's show at the Warped Tour. It begins with echoing arena synths and the lead singer yelling out the title of the song; as the chorus builds, he sounds so full of energy--even screaming out a victorious (or drug-addled) "WHOO!"--you kind of want to run someone over. Aggression can most certainly be transferred musically, and I promise you will be riled up after listening. With the exception of a whiny, Boys Like Girls-gross-out chorus segment reminiscent of something Panic! would write, "Boyfriend" is essentially the antithesis to all girl-pop. It's douche-y, but I think after Rihanna and Perry have dominated the men on the air for so long now the guys deserve an opportunity to vent.
On an entirely different note, Imogen Heap recently released a single off her upcoming album, which I did not take the time to look up. I love Imogen Heap--an adjective I rarely use to describe musicians--but the song, "Not Now But Soon" is like the worst songs off Frou-Frou's Details: beat-less, boring and far too ambient like for my taste. I think it hints at great things to come, though. There's a neat five-note trill during some segments, and her voice is still clear and distinguishable. I kind of fell out of Immi interest after seeing her in November 2006, but I'm totally ready for another Speak For Yourself.
Great haircut, though.