By: Nick Matthews (U Mass Amherst)
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Remember last September when you couldn’t walk through a frat party without hearing “Party in the USA” blasted out of a cheap PA system by some amateur DJ that didn’t even spin? What about switching to your respected Top 40 station last summer, only to hear some emo-styled voice overlapping a club beat, singing about not trusting hoes. Ever wonder how these immaculately produced pop songs end up getting so overplayed that you start to get a feeling your night might not actually be a good night? It’s all about the summer anthems. 2009 was all about the Black Eyed Peas and Kings of Leon until the end of July when Miley Cyrus took over the radio with that monster hit. Cobra Starship made an appearance with the help of a gossip girl, and Katy Perry woke up in Vegas before she started fucking Aldous Snow.
2010 is looking like more of the same. OMG is currently topping the charts. B.O.B. and that redhead from Paramore won’t let Airplanes off of Billboard. (Interesting little fact: the chorus of that song was penned by two SAE frat bros at Cornell.) Katy Perry is poised to be, yet again, in a dominant position with California Gurls. 3OH!3’s My First Kiss feat. Ke$ha is slipping up and down the Hot 100, seemingly unable to grasp a dominant position. Her own single, Your Love is My Drug, seems to be doing great.
With that said, I’d like to focus on the latter few musicians and try to explain why these songs are all prevalent in the music industry today.
Let me start by saying that everyone fucks everyone in the music industry. It sounds lewd, it sounds crude, but it’s true. (I think I just wrote the next great rap hook) California Gurls was written in a very similar vein to another great hit this year, Tik Tok. Low-key verse based on a minimalist synth pattern flying into a huge chorus that is doubled, with the second chorus bringing in a new drum overlay. Wait a second; did Dr. Luke co-produce both of those songs? That motherfucker, he did! He just threw Snoop on it, popped a few funk-throwback guitars in there and called it a hit song. Oh, but wait, it was also co-written by Benny Blanco. (Awesome stage name, actually only a month older than me!) What else has Benny Blanco co-written recently? Oh, that’s right, My First Kiss feat. Ke$ha. The aforementioned songs are all pretty much destined to become staples of the fall semester frat circuit. Meet the new boss, the same as the old boss.