#25: "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz
I don't agree with Todd in the Shadows about Jason Mraz. He is a bit "meh", but I don't point to him as a sign of all that is wrong with the "white guy with guitar" trend. That's John Mayer's job.
Music is what you expect out of Jason Mraz. It's an acoustic guitar line, and a fairly pleasant one, with a piano eventually kicking in. As for the singing, Jason Mraz is better here than in "I'm Yours", with a bit of a deeper voice until the bridge.
The lyrics are that of a love song. Basically, he is reassuring his girl that no matter how bad things get, he is not giving up on their love, and will do whatever is necessary to keep the love intact.
This is, to me, how you do a "white guy with guitar" song right. The music is pretty pleasant, and his singing is on point more than usually. The strongest part are the lyrics. Those are the lyrics that are really served well by "WGWG" styles. He is reassuring his girl that nothing will come between the two of us, and sounds really genuine the entire time. This is probably the best Jason Mraz song I've heard.
#24: "Titanium" by David Guetta feat. Sia
David Guetta, go away! I don't like you! Please at least try something different in your production. And no, a different artist doesn't count.
Well, the song starts promising enough, with a catchy guitar line. Unfortunately, the chorus is traditional David Guetta, as are the drums, and he still has an issue with volume control. Sia at least sounds decent, but I'm sure she could do better than she does in this song.
The lyrics are very, very basic inspirational song stuff. Basically, she is titanium, and can take anything.
This song is the best of David Guetta's work this year, just because he does at least switch things up for the verses. However, the chorus is just like his normal production, and his lack of volume control makes it harder to focus on Sia than it should be. As for Sia's part, the lyrics are as cliched as you can get. She even includes the line "Sticks and stones may break my bones", for Christ's sake. Besides, if she's titanium, wouldn't the sticks and stones just bounce off? Overall, not bad, but bringing in a different producer for the chorus and working on volume control would have made this song so much better.
#23: "Take Care" by Drake feat. Rihanna
Not a huge fan of these two artists, but they do occasionally make good stuff. Granted, Rihanna hasn't yet this year, and neither has Drake.
Music isn't bad. It has a nice piano line, and the drums are pretty nice. Rihanna does a better job singing here than she normally does. Drake is better here than he has been in...a while, actually.
The lyrics are a bittersweet look at love. He is willing to look past her past, giving her the love she needs, but she doesn't feel comfortable, because she's been hurt before. Despite her misgivings, she promises that she will take care of him.
I was not expecting this song to be good. It's not. It's really good. It's difficult to cover all the facets of love, but Drake tries his hardest. He shows genuine love to Rihanna, but also expresses frustration that she seems to be denying their feelings for each other when asked about it. The music is only decent, but the lyrics and vocal performances are really good here. Is it the best song of the year? I have 22 more songs to go after this, so I can't say for sure. However, I would definitely put it in my top 10. The only problem I have with this song is that it makes me dislike their other songs this year that much more, because it shows the two have a lot of talent that they squander on generic at best songs.
#22: "Everybody Talks" by Neon Trees
Yeah, I was not expecting these guys to have another hit. They seemed like the kind of band that has one hit, then vanishes ala Modest Mouse, liked by fans, but no more mainstream success. Then they released this song, which was a bigger hit than their last one. Neon Trees are here to stay.
Music is pretty good, with a very catchy and upbeat guitar line. Not a huge fan of the singer, but he is not bad. His style just isn't my thing.
This is basically a song about flirting with a girl successfully. He is ignoring the people talking about what they did, because "everybody talks".
This song is pretty good actually. It is kind of a throwback to 80's tunes, in a good way. The singing is pretty similar to those sorts of bands, and the music is very alt-rock. The lyrics are a bit shallow, but overall, it's still a good song. Is it better than "Animal"? I think so, just because this song is so upbeat, it puts a smile on your face no matter what.
#21: "Where Have You Been" by Rihanna
Well, Rihanna's had her one good song this year. So this will probably be more of disappointment.
Well, the music starts out fairly interesting, but then devolves into the drum machine and synth line of every other Rihanna song. As for the singing...Rihanna is trying a bit too hard for this song. I'll explain later.
The lyrics are basically hitting on a guy, asking him where he is been her entire life. Yes, one of the biggest cliches in flirting is the driving force of this song. Although the verses do start with a Johnny Cash reference, which is something original for her.
This song just is not that good. She sings with a lot of heart, but this is a song that doesn't deserve that much effort. The lyrics are generic for the most part, and the music is obnoxious. Even Rihanna's singing has its issues, because she does this weird stuttering thing that she does in every song, where she stutters the "i" in "life", making the chorus sound like "Where have you been all of my li-i-i-i-i-fe". It's just a generic Rihanna song. She needs to slow down, not focus on having a bunch of hits, and try to make the hits count. In other words, she needs to take care not to outstay her welcome.
Well, that list was better than I thought it would be. Other than the last song, the songs were at least decent, if flawed. Maybe things are looking up!