Usher Usher… He’s all about the music

This Week’s Singles, with Ted Danson!

Published on April 12th, 2012 | Jonny Abrams

This week, Rocksucker is delighted to welcome one of our favourite actors to our weekly singles round-up. JDs and lentil men, in the role of guest summariser…give it up for Mr Ted Danson!

Christina Perri – “Arms”

You can probably glean the entire lyrical content from the title alone, unless you’re a psycho who immediately associates arms with nuclear weapons or some such; in which case, get help. Alternatively, this pleasant but achingly predictable coffee-table schmaltz could suppress your warring tendencies through sheer, overwhelming banality.

This is reflected perfectly by the kind of music video you’ve seen a million times before and need never see again; you know, girl wakes up next to a tattooed Tarzan, girl floats out of bed, girl sings on raft, band somehow escape electric death playing through an epic downpour, girl sits on Mini Cooper as wind sweeps through her hair, and then it snows for no tangible reason.

Perri sounds like an identikit country-pop singer with Kings of Leon on bass (well, at least one of them) and a half-decent drummer; all in all, this is a slick product that will no doubt shift shedloads of units. Pats on the back to everyone involved. You have truly blessed us.

Ted Danson says…

“Fuck this shit, I wanna go bowling. Two Quails out of Five!”

a quaila quail

Lana Del Rey – “Blue Jeans”

If you like “Video Games” by Lana Del Rey, you’ll love this. It’s basically the same song, and basically the same video. Wait, revised version: it is the same song with the same video, except this one begins with a bearded fella saying, “Our Father whose art’s in heaven, hollow be Thy name.” Which is clever. Well clever. As is the close-up at the end of an American flag that’s waved in our faces for just long enough to stray into ‘awkward’ territory. What is she trying to tell us?

You probably know what this sounds like since you’ll already have heard “Video Games” several billion times, so let’s talk more about the video; specifically, how much stock and/or home video footage is Del Rey sitting on exactly? Furthermore, much of it seems to be filmed on an 8mm camera, which leads us to wonder: how old is she? 

As we’ve established, the song itself is the usual brooding slow-burner that gives Lana a platform to drone semi-melodically for a few minutes while donning flowery attire and fabulous lippy. However, you don’t get any quails for fashion sense, not in this game. Sorry luv.

Ted Danson says…

“I’ve got loads of old footage you can use in your next video. Shall we discuss it over dinner? Two and a Half Quails out of Five!”

a quaila quailhalf a quail

Rizzle Kicks – “Traveller’s Chant”

If only we’d had this last summer; the police could have just blared this out at the hoodies and they’d have been swaying hand-in-hand by the second verse, and Gregg’s would have remained un-charred. This certainly makes one bop, and what’s more it is awash with lovely sentiments such as “I like that you’re a nice girl” and “I bank on people’s feelings, so it’s no wonder I’m feeling sad”. Awwww, Rizzles!

However, the lyrical eye is taken off the ball somewhat with the line “I’ve only really got a couple of mates / Me, myself and I”; technically, that’s three, not a couple. In fact, one might more accurately posit that ‘me’, ‘myself’ and ‘I’ all amount to the same thing, thereby leaving Mr Rizzle with just the one mate. Thinking on, if this one friend happens to be himself, you could very well surmise that he actually has no mates. So either he has zero, one or three mates, but absolutely not the “couple” that he claims.

Bothersome also to the average pedant is the conflict between the chorus refrain of “This is the traveller’s chant / Whether you’re sitting on the train or the back of a car” and the fact that the video shows them cruising around London before rolling up in Tokyo and then at the Great Wall of China. All in three and a half minutes, on a train or the back of a car? I should coco.

Having said all that, it’s a pretty good tune.

Ted Danson says…

“Three and half minutes? I reckon I could do it in two. Three and a Half Quails out of Five!”

a quaila quaila quailhalf a quail

Santigold – “Disparate Youth”

…in which pleasingly plinky synths gently pummel a punchy, shuffly sort of beat. Santigold should be a bit of a festival favourite this summer, and she displays some masterful cleavage in this video seems really nice. The children painted like skeletons are pretty creepy though, making for a sort of tribal re-imagining of the video to “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, but it’s nice to have another video that starts in a bed, this time with extra added snow (albeit minus a tattooed Tarzan). This song has way more balls than Christina’s and Lana’s put together – at least five more balls – and there’s a cool sort of guitar drill that sounds oddly like a phone going off. It’s a call you’ll want to pick up! Chortle.

Ted Danson says…

“Hey, you weren’t kidding about the cleavage! Five Quails out of Five!”

a quaila quaila quaila quaila quail

Taio Cruz (feat. Flo Rida) – “Hangover”

So Taio wakes up in bed, right, his sunglasses askew to suggest a wild night’s partying, when what it really suggests is that he’s the kind of douchebag who wears sunglasses at night. There are cutesy animal costumes lying around, because that’s how wild it was, and he sings about drinking until he threw up, which is a fine example to set for his 12-year-old target audience. Frankly, this is just an even shitter version of that Katy Perry song about doing shots and blacking out. Well, okay, it’s hard for anything to be shitter than that, but this certainly comes close.

In terms of lyrics, there’s nothing, absolutely nothing, that can’t be gleaned from the song’s title. He might as well have just Tweeted a picture of himself looking dishevelled rather than go to the trouble of actually recording this utter, utter bilge. Needless to say, this will be blasted out of many a nobhead’s motor this summer, and one shudders to think how often it will provide the soundtrack to lascivious ‘grinding’ and ‘hands in the air’ motions at Cafe de Paris and the like.

This is a song by idiots, for idiots, and if you find that attitude distasteful then think about spreading the faecal matter of various wild animals on your morning toast. If that makes you recoil or wretch, then know that you’re not a snob; you’re just sound of mind, or at least more so than people who enjoy rhino poo toasties.

Are we saying that people who like this song also enjoy rhino poo toasties? Yes, that’s precisely what we’re saying. Good grief, and we haven’t even got to the laughable hetero posturing of Flo Rida’s ‘booty’-assisted guest rap yet. Well, it’s more of a guest vomit, but it should work to elevate this complete turd of a song to acceptable levels of ‘street’. 

Oh look, there’s another Mini Cooper in the video. They’re really pushing out the boat with this product placement lark, aren’t they? At the end of the video, we’re even treated to the ‘comedy’ element of a nervous Oriental guy in the room for no apparent reason, a gimmick somehow rendered acceptable by the film The Hangover. Unfortunately, there’s no lion or Mike Tyson present to inflict untold damage to the faces of these depressingly popular buffoons. 

Ted Danson says…

“And you’re telling me people like this garbage? No Quails out of Five!”

Train – “Drive By”

The video begins like a Latino soap opera, and it goes downhill from there. This is all kinds of dreadful; a pathetic, whiny vocal, the obligatory bed shot (at least that ties in with one of this week’s recurring themes), and lyrics such as “I swear to you / I’ll be there for you / This is not a drive by” (how very nice of him to assure her that he doesn’t intend to fire shots at her out of a moving vehicle), “When you move me / Everything is groovy” (seriously) and “Please believe that when I leave / There’s nothing up my sleeve but love for you”. Yup.

How this guy is able to look himself in the mirror without bursting into tears, we may never know. This is the music equivalent of a crudely drawn stick figure standing next to a disproportionately small house under a smiling, shades-wearing, lemonade-sipping sun. In fact, it has way less charm than that. Give up, Train.

Ted Danson says…

“Beer’s on me if you promise never to make another song. Half a Quail out of Five!, and you only get that much because you don’t seem like as much of an asshole as those last two guys.”

a quail

Usher – “Climax”

If this proves to be Usher’s last ever single, we’re more than happy to go along with calling it a ‘climax’. Now into his fiftieth year as a terrible singer, the chances are that he’ll keep on reappearing at regular intervals to inflict a painful, wailing dirge on us until the end of time, and that’s factoring in the very real possibility of one of Usher’s songs actually inducing the apocalypse. Goodness, this sap makes Train look like Chuck Norris. 

As for the video, you get loads of close-ups of Usher’s stupid face, mostly set in ‘earnest’ mode, and a brief suggestion of domestic violence just to crank up the charm levels. “I gave my best, it wasn’t enough” he warbles – nay emits, as one would a fart – and unless he’s talking about making every dog within an eighty-mile radius howl themselves into a frenzy, then he’s absolutely spot-on. 

Let us never forget: THIS MAN BROUGHT JUSTIN BIEBER INTO OUR LIVES. You’d think he’d have made enough money by now to leave us all alone, but no, he’s still marching on, bigger, richer and shitter than ever. Sooner or later this is going to require government/military intervention, perhaps when he climbs the Empire State Building clutching Bieber and howling poorly thought-out lyrics into the sky. And that’s where the four horsemen come in…

Ted Danson says…

“You mean he makes this much money for producing this utter toilet? Have a Dead Quail!”

a dead quail

You Me at Six – “No One Does It Better”

Actually, You Me at Six, everyone does. Well, except Usher. Honestly though, if beige had a sound…

Basically, this is nigh-on impossible to sit through without either lapsing into a coma or attempting risky surgical procedures on yourself out of sheer boredom. They’re not quite the most objectionable band in the known universe, but they might very well be the dullest. In fact, it’s so dull that it could feature on an episode of Scrubs. Seriously, it’s that dull. And the video’s got another car/desert thing going on. Is there just one simpleton making videos for everyone now?

Ted Danson says…

“I’ve had it up to here with this shit. Goodnight everybody! Oh yeah, this gets One Quail out of Five!”

a quail

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About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.