2011 Yearbook: May Jukebox

We covered a bit less than usual in May - TSJ was in the middle of some reorganization, and we ended up taking the first half of June off to finish figuring out how to restructure things more efficiently. Still, some damn good songs here.

Lloyd - Cupid (feat. Awesome Jones!!!) - 2 May 2011

'Lay It Down' was one of 2010's best singles, and yet somehow we didn't cover the February follow up until May. It didn't matter, because despite the Valentine's Day-appropriate title, 'Cupid' is infectious year-round. Polow da Don's new alter ego shouting all over the place with a thumping beat should not meld as well as it does with Lloyd's sugar sweet vocals and horn section, but it turns out to be the perfect match. Capturing that fluttery feeling of a crush is a difficult thing to pull off, but when it's done properly, magical pop music results. (See: Miley Cyrus' 'See You Again’, Jennifer Paige’s ‘Crush’) There were only two other songs that pulled it off this year, and while Lloyd doesn’t quite manage to convey that walking on air feeling as well as one of them, this remains something special. [9] 

LMFAO - Party Rock Anthem (ft. Lauren Bennett & GoonRock) - 17 May 2011

If nobody has decided this already, I suggest that we dub the current crop of dance-rap infiltrating the charts “Frat House”. Boorish, drunk, and incredible dense, “Party Rock Anthem” is designed for those who thought that David Guetta, the Black Eyed Peas and Far East Movement were far too complex. Vocals and rapping that define mediocrity expressing mindless platitudes over cookie cutter rave synths dialed up to obnoxious. There’s a vaguely interesting glitch breakdown, but I’m almost positive it’s lifted wholesale from a song I can’t quite remember. [3]

All of the above remains true, but hating this in a society that has wholeheartedly embraced the stupidity is just too damn tiring. And you know what? In retrospect, it’s probably better and more subtle than the most recent run of BEP singles. It’s certainly better than “T.H.E.” [5]

Nicki Minaj - “Girls Fall Like Dominoes" - 31 May 2011

"I steal Wayne girls, I steal Drake girls" might be my favourite boast here. Nicki starts off bragging about how much better she is at picking up women than Fuckin’ Drake, then bounces back and forth between bragging about her new celebrity girl friends and describing her ideal woman (Filipino Versace models who look like Rihanna and know how to handle their coke). It’s unclear if this is an ego trip, a solidarity anthem or something a little bit queerer than that. [8]

Kelly Rowland - “Motivation (ft. Lil’ Wayne)" - 31 May 2011

For the first time since the days of Destiny’s Child, Kelly is hitting me harder than Beyoncé. “Motivation” is smoother, more sultry, more…everything. The synths fall like drops of sweat, the echoed “Go!”s ascend, Kelly’s voice creeps glacially down the octave and back up, layering itself into gorgeous harmonies around 2:18, and the whole thing sounds like dancing with someone in a humid club in the middle of July. [9]

Those harmonies still kill me. I think I held it back from a [10] because of Wayne’s verse, but it’s better than I first thought, and Kelly + that “Oh Lover” sample and the Go!s and the rest of it are just too good to not reward. [10]

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