Hot 100 Roundup: Eric Church And Luke Bryan Milk It, Eminem Gets Silly, And More
It's almost September (it already is on the Hot 100, which is dated over a week ahead of time), and the labels are starting to roll out the medium-sized guns: Muse! The Script! Trey Songz! Slaughterhouse? The best stuff is older, though: The Chief Keef track is from a mixtape released in March, and the Eric Church and Luke Bryan tracks are both over a year old and milking best-selling albums. None of this week's entries is great, and three of them are awful (guess), but the fall season has officially started. Don't forget to duck.
No. 84: Muse, "Madness"
Muse fans who were afraid the band was going to take a turn toward dubstep needn't have worried. The truth is much simpler: the band's U2 imitation has finally caught up to Achtung Baby and Zooropa. As usual, Muse gets the surface details right but lacks the emotional and intellectual foundation to get at their inspiration's essence. Even in this minimalist context they can't help trying to show off, with odd interjections, noises, harmonies, and attempts to be soulful undercutting the build to the climax and what little meaning the song might have. Message: Love is madness. (Who knew?) Funniest/most embarrassing moment: The guitar solo.
No. 87: The Script featuring will.i.am, "Hall Of Fame"
They've always been contenders, but with "Hall Of Fame" The Script take a giant step toward becoming the Worst Band In the World. The song, a bizarre pastiche of sensitive schtick, power-ballad bombast, and a middle eight heavily influenced by Kanye West's "Champion," is bad enough, but what band in their right mind would bring will.i.am aboard as nothing more than a vocalist? As co-producer he might at least have added a decent beat and some eccentricity and a dose of humor. It might not be any betterit might even be worsebut it would be more entertaining. As a singer he adds nothing, although the way "Hall of Fame" is mixed you can barely tell it's him anyway.
No. 92: Luke Bryan, "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye"
Since many of Bryan's previous records were about country girls dancing on tailgates or in honky tonks and turning him on, it's nice to hear a song from him that admits sex isn't enough to hold a relationship together. He still wants a final roll in the hay before she leaves, mind you, but at least he isn't leering about it. He even expresses regret over the way things have worked out. Bryan isn't the greatest singer, and the arrangement is too focused on driving the groove to make the most of the message, but it's a good song, and with a little tweaking "Kiss" could be a great record. I'd love to hear a woman sing it.