Monthly Report: February Singles
1. Rihanna - “Rude Boy”
I liked most of Rihanna’s early singles, but in my opinion she kinda fell off the moment she dropped any pretense of Caribbean-flavored tracks that made good use of her voice/accent, even if that decision coincided with her ascent to total blockbuster pop star status. I didn’t really like any of Good Girl Gone Bad’s bazillion singles besides “Don’t Stop The Music,” and Rated R seemed to be a wash with the first few songs released being horrible miserable bullshit that felt like it was done out of some vague obligation to make ‘dark’ music appopriate to the problems in her personal life, more than any legitimate inspiration to make something 'more' than pop hits. But maybe she’s done with that now, because she’s finally got a sunny sexy catchy single that actually brings back a little of that long neglected island flavor (actually, it doesn’t so much, but it’s called “Rude Boy” and the video has a very Jamaican aesthetic, so that has to count for something). This might be the best vocal performance of her entire career, so many expressive little moments of inflection that she never even seemed capable of before.
2. Cavo - “Crash”
My prediction is that Cavo are the next Three Days Grace, the band that are going to be absolutely huge on active rock stations but not remotely famous in any other sense, who nobody that doesn’t listen to those stations will know of and even some of the listeners won’t know by name. That’s just based on their first two singles being big anonymous hits, and me not bothering to find out who they were by until the 2nd, “Crash,” totally hooked me in with its big irresistible chorus. And Three Days Grace don’t have any songs this good, so that’s something.
3. Alicia Keys f/ Beyoncé - “Put It In A Love Song”
I like to think that when these two women, who are each among their generation’s most popular practitioners of the love song, got together, they got to talking about how their significant others, who are both also popular musicians, have never written them a love song. And Alicia said hey, let’s write a song about that, and see if they take the hint! I’ll even use one of my boyfriend’s beats to really get his attention! And when they heard that Jay and Swizz were going into the studio to work on a new song, they thought alright, it worked! And then they heard “Onto The Next One.”
4. Pink - “Glitter In The Air”
Funhouse is one of my favorite pop albums of the last few years, so it’s been really gratifying to see it have an incredible long commercial shelflife, with its sixth single racing up the charts 15 months after the album’s release. This is a great song and a great way to end the album, but I really didn’t think it’d ever be a single, especially after the other ballad, “I Don’t Believe You,” was released a few months ago, but then she showed up at the Grammys playing this and suddenly it was a big hit. If her label just wants to go ahead and release every song off this album as a single, “It’s All Your Fault” or “Mean” should be next, just sayin’.
5. Fat Joe f/ Young Jeezy - “Ha Ha (Slow Down Son)”
I’ve learned to never totally count out Fat Joe, but even I was starting to doubt his ability to make bangers year after year by any means necessary after his last couple albums. So it’s nice to hear him back with something this strong, and even if it’s predictably got an assist from a Southern rap star, the song still feels pretty Joe, really moreso than “Make It Rain” or whatever.