Almost 3/4 done. Just plugging my way through.
#80: "I Made It (Cash Money Heroes)" by Kevin Rudolph feat. Birdman, Jay Sean, and Lil Wayne
Let's see...Kevin Rudolph is a rock musician who takes inspiration from hip-hop, as is obvious from the guest rappers, of which I've only heard of Jay Sean and Lil Wayne, and am not a fan of either one. As for Birdman, he is a co-founder of Cash Money Records, and was formerly known as Baby.
Music definitely takes more inspiration from hip-hop than rock, with a strong synth line and a drum beat, but it doesn't sound bad. As for the singing, Kevin Rudolph isn't too bad, but he doesn't really stand out in the crowd of current pop artists. Birdman is guilty of some painful non-rhymes, but he is actually a pretty good rapper, showing nice emotion and flow. Jay Sean is better than usual here, but he needs to either sing or rap, not try to do both. As for Lil Wayne...I don't like him normally, and this song is no exception. His skill is there, but his voice is just annoying.
The song lyrics are basically Kevin Rudolph celebrating the fact that, after dreaming about making it big in the music business, he finally has. The verses back that up, going into specific details about how well off he is.
This song is actually not that bad. I'd like it more without Lil Wayne, and if the verses were less stereotypical. That said, the singing is pretty solid and the lyrics are genuine-sounding. He sounds truly grateful to have made it big, rather than just bragging about it.
#79: "All I Do Is Win" by DJ Khaled feat. T-Pain, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, and Rick Ross
Again, a few artists to introduce. The main artist, DJ Khaled, is a record producer/rap artist, who got his start as a DJ for the hip hop group Terror Squad, a band that had a hit in 2004 called "Lean Back", which I did not enjoy. T-Pain is a rapper who uses Auto-tune to sound like a robot, Ludacris is a decent rapper that is a guest rapper in way too many songs, Snoop Dogg is one of the biggest rap names, and Rick Ross is a rapper who doesn't really sell the image well.
In this song, the music is pretty much non-existent. It's basically just a drum pounding randomly, with a quiet synth line. As for the rapping, T-Pain is pretty bad, focusing on shouting his lyrics instead of actually rapping. Ludacris, on the other hand, is amazingly good. He shows great rhythm, and his words are pretty good, if a bit stereotypical. As for Rick Ross, his attempts at sounding tough are laughable, but his lazy rapping nearly ruins even the unintentional comedy. Finally, Snoop Dogg is about as invested in this song as he was in "California Gurls".
The lyrics are basically that of a bragging song, with all the artists basically bragging about how awesome they are, and, well, see the title.
If the last song was an example of how to do a success story song right, this is an example of how to do it wrong. Ludacris is the only rapper who does a decent job in his verse, and even then, he has to struggle through bad lyrics and a production that is, frankly, awful. This is why good rappers should focus on a solo career.
#78: "Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)" by Alicia Keys
Alicia Keys is a good artist, but this is smack-dab in the period where she really started getting lazy, writing the same song over and over, so I'm worried.
Music is, well, Alicia Keys. Drum beat, with a slow piano line. The singing is solid, if not as good as Alicia Keys is capable of. She has a pleasant voice, but she really seems to just be doing this for a paycheck and easy hit.
As for the lyrics, this is a song about being with her boyfriend. She is telling him she is ready for the "unthinkable", which in this case is quite clearly about sex, but is not explicit.
The song is not bad, but remember what I said about how this was around the time that she started getting lazy? This song is an example of that. The parts are all good, but as a whole, it is just like all of her other songs, which is a shame. Given her full focus on making a good song, rather than just a commercial one, she could have made it great.
#77: "Naturally" by Selena Gomez and The Scene
A Disney star and her backup band. Not much more to say about that.
Well, the music is nothing to write home about. It is a repetitive drum beat, with a sporadic keyboard line until the overpowering synth kicks in at the chorus. The singing is...pretty bad, to be honest. I've done several Selena Gomez songs, and this is the worst she's sounded. Her voice is pretty immature, though I will concede that she does at least stay on her own key.
The lyrics are basically telling a guy that everything about him comes naturally to him, in a complimentary sense. Basically, he doesn't try to be something he isn't, and that is what attracts her to him.
The song's message is pretty good, but the song itself is just nothing special. The music is generic, and the singing, while on-key, is just too immature. She's not a 16 year old who sounds 25, but rather, an 18 year old who sounds...well, 18. Still, she's not the worst artist to come out of the Disney Channel.
76: "Secrets" by OneRepublic
Not a bad band, from what I've heard, but their name seems like they are trying way too hard for hipster cred.
Music is pretty unique by today's standards. Basically, most of the music is a cello working over-time, with a drum beat kicking in on the chorus. As for the singing, the singer is not bad, but he is a bit generic boy-band.
As for the lyrics, the singer is basically talking to his girlfriend, who is on the verge of leaving him, presumably because he is hiding stuff from her. To convince her to stay, he tells her that he is done hiding stuff, and is going to give all his secrets away for her to hear.
This song is really good, actually. While boy bands are definitely a mixed bunch, this is an example of a good boy band song. The emotion is there and honest, and the music enhances the solid lyrics, rather than cover up for them. I'm somewhat surprised how good the song is, actually. With some more original subject matter, I think they could set the bar on what boy bands are capable of.
Well, that list was a good song, a few bad to meh songs, then another good song to wrap it up. I've done worse lists.