Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My hands don’t like to be unemployed, they like to work.

Songs new to last week's Billboard Top 50 singles chart, and the top debut.

#35 (from #52): Estelle feat. Kanye West, "American Boy"
It's a shame this isn't Kanye West feat. Estelle. She's a fine sound effect on the chorus, but her jazzy refinement is so much less immediate than his American smirk that the song suffers when he's away too long. Better than Duffy, but no summer jam.

#46 (from #53): Kenny Chesney, "Better As A Memory"
His voice put me to sleep before the initial arrangement (spacey keyboards and a minimal guitar riff that had me hoping for some country Joshua Tree) even had a chance to bland out. Maybe that's why I can't remember ever hearing a song of his before.

#49 (from #54): Flobots, "Handlebars"
"These guys sound just like Cake. You don't know Cake? HE'S GOING THE DISTANCE! HE'S GOING FOR SPEED! Oh come on, you kids don't know Cake? I'm totally making you listen to some Cake when we get home. If you like this, you'll love Cake. Seriously."

#62 (debut): Plies feat. Jamie Foxx & The-Dream, "Please Excuse My Hands"
I'm not yet sold on the godliness of emphysematic stream-of-consciousness punning, so I guess that Plies (which I will always pronounce plee-AYS, thanks to my little sister's dance classes) is my pop rap messiah by default. (every critic has to have a pop rap messiah, right?) All four of his charting singles are horndog valentines with a hook hero on the chorus. First T-Pain, then Akon, Ne-Yo and now Jamie Foxx and The-Dream. (Don't waste two on a track, dude! This only leaves R. Kelly before you're down to Omarion or Chris Brown.)

I assume Plies raps about something other than giving orgasms on his albums, but I like that he hasn't felt the need to make sure pop fans know. Whether you find him better or worse than the similarly reliable but lyrically forgettable Flo-Rida probably depends on whether you find lines like "I call my baby 'wet-wet'" amusing or gross. Me, I'm laughing.

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