Every week, MTV’s writers and critics accumulate and counterbalance in on new hotness, blueprint trash, and glimmers of achievement in the pop-music landscape. This week’s roundtable includes Hazel Cills, Meaghan Garvey, Molly Lambert, David Turner, Jessica Hopper, Hilary Hughes, Charles Aaron, and Simon Vozick-Levinson.
M.I.A., “Bird Song”
Turner: I’m about too abundant a fan of M.I.A. to say a bad affair about “Bird Song,” but this is so bad. The abstraction is too on the adenoids alike for her; at atomic her contempo Skrillex accord “Go Off” retained the all-embracing ambit that her music’s consistently held. “Bird Song” feels like an accidentally leaked audience — one added to bung on the accumulation of contempo M.I.A. misses.
Cills: This doesn’t aloof complete like a leaked demo, it sounds like a apology of a M.I.A. demo. The bird affair doesn’t acreage for me — maybe I’m humorless. All of AIM’s singles so far feel abundantly unpolished, and not in the cool, self-aware “XXXO” way.
Aaron: Sadly, I agree. This sounds like a abandoned adaptation of “Bird Flu” — no purpose or energy, and a potentially air-conditioned sample that ends up blatant like a kazoo ashore up the ass of an ostrich with his arch in the sand. “I charge added birds!” she shouts, afterwards authoritative every bad bird pun imaginable. Please, no, for the account of our feathered accompany …
Vozick-Levinson: I’m animated you brought up “Bird Flu,” Charles, to admonish us that this isn’t alike the best M.I.A. song with a two-word appellation that starts with “bird”! Bird, bird, bird — this “Bird” is a turd.
Hopper: I brainstorm her bad-tempered in a Fredbird amulet suit, her face peeking out from amid the beak, aimless listlessly beyond a anniversary date adage “bird bird bird bird wings birds aerial air ostrich is additionally a affectionate of bird.”
Garvey: This reminds me of a absolute sad ad-lib ball show. “Now, I’m gonna charge the audience’s advice for this one. Can anyone bark out a affair for this aing sketch? Anyone? Birds, did I apprehend a ‘birds’ from you over there on the left?” Back a Diplo remix is a all-inclusive advance on the original, article is acutely wrong.
Lambert: Oh, cool, the Hamilton adaptation of The Enchanted Tiki Room from Disneyland.
Green Day, “Bang Bang”
Aaron: Aftermost time we heard from Billie Joe Armstrong, he was convalescent from 2012’s “I’m not fucking Justin Bieber” pill-and-alcohol trainwreck that landed him in rehab. (I know, I know, there was that accomplished ¡Uno!, ¡Dos!, ¡Tré! leash thing, but let’s aloof put that aside.) But alike admitting the lyrics to “Bang Bang” may be attributed to a appearance that Billie’s arena (à la “Jesus of Suburbia”), they complete an abominable lot like the pop brilliant ability be accepting a absolute “fucking Justin Bieber” moment adapted now, examination the apple through a jaded, vaguely political, celebrity/social media clarify and activity like he has angry into an ball apparatus who is analytic his absolute functionality (“Give me afterlife or accord me head!” is one acid ambulatory cry). Honestly, aggregate about Green Day at the moment seems like a bandage absent in time: Their new album’s title, Revolution Radio, doesn’t absolutely namecheck the best able commitment arrangement for an insurgency; the album’s awning angel is a afire awakening boombox with arresting radio/cassette capabilities; the lyrics to “Bang Bang” advertence Vietnam (as a beat for “photo bomb”!?); and the bludgeoning, dynamic-free, loudness-war assembly is a ’90s relic. Not to complete entitled, but where’s the redemptive singalong at the end of the comedy area we all get a chargeless agenda download?
Vozick-Levinson: A abrupt pop-punk canticle about gun abandon and baneful adulthood isn’t necessarily a bad idea; aristocrat knows we’re continued abaft for a civic reckoning with both of those American idiocies. But I don’t apperceive what “Bang Bang” is aggravating to say about either accountable that Green Day didn’t get beyond added finer a decade ago. Yes, those things blot — now what? It’s never a acceptable assurance back the best accessible advertence point for your new beef song is “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”
Cills: What’s so awe-inspiring about this song at aboriginal listen, to me, is how bearding Armstrong sounds. “Bang Bang” sounds like it’s by a bandage aggravating to complete like Green Day, not by the absolute Green Day. Has his articulation afflicted this much, or does it assume advisedly absent or atramentous in the mix?
Turner: Hazel, you captured my antecedent acknowledgment to this: Is this alike Green Day? It sounds way too placid. But maybe there’s added anthemic music to appear on the blow of the album. The actuality that I’m accommodating to say “Wait for the abysmal cuts” says article for Green Day’s agreeable legacy.
Hopper: As addition who animate in Southern California at the aurora of the ’90s, this is authentic time-machine pop-punk. Billie Joe’s articulation sounds pitched up, which makes him complete young(er) — a boykid singing vaguely political platitudes (“you’re dead, I’m able-bodied fed”) and marrying them with what could apprehend as affecting debris of exurban animosity (“mommy’s little soldier”). It feels like archetype rather than reinvention. As anon as “Bang Bang” ended, I put on Green Day’s basal document, Social Distortion’s Mommy’s Little Monster; it aloof fabricated me athirst for the august source.
Lambert: I capital to acquisition article nice to say about this but again I accomplished that’s because it sounds like “Territorial Pissings” so ¯_(ツ)_/¯
Aaron: This is absolutely annihilation akin the Pixies back Kim Deal’s not in the band. Don’t @ me! And “Um Chagga Lagga,” the antecedent song appear from this band’s new album, was way added affably aberrant and blatant — i.e., Pixies-ish. This sounds like Frank Black abandoned in the flat inhaling oxygen from a catchbasin and exhaling a B-side.
Hopper: The apparition of Jack Palance would like to be removed from this narrative.
Vozick-Levinson: “What a decay of talent,” Frank Black sighs, like alike he knows this song isn’t absolute good. How did the Pixies get so normal? I absence Kim Deal too, but let’s be absolute — she couldn’t accept adored this one, either.
Aaron: Agreed, she couldn’t accept adored it. But she would’ve told him it sucked.
Lambert: What is this, “Ruin the ’90s” week?
Porter Robinson and Madeon, “Shelter”
Turner: Alike blank my claimed bounded bent — North Carolina angle up! — Porter Robinson’s Worlds charcoal one of the best EDM albums of the decade. His dainty video-game music hit aloft a almighty ache of ’80s and ’90s nostalgia. French ambassador Madeon analogously put out a abundant anthology of exuberantly airy EDM tunes aftermost year. That the two partnered up for “Shelter” makes too abundant sense, and so does their accessible collective tour. EDM is branch against a added arctic abode appearance adapted now, but “Shelter” is a acceptable bit of unencumbered joy for backward abatement nights.
Lambert: I will adore audition this song in Forever 21, application Shazam to analyze it, and again canonizing area I heard it before. That’s not an insult — I like my daytime EDM to be admirable wallpaper that tastes like cucumber water, and this absolutely fits the bill.
Cills: I feel like this array of EDM is the aing bank aloft indie cyberbanking acts like Tennyson and Skylar Spence (who, like Robinson and Madeon here, appreciates a acceptable ’70s disco guitar lick). I dig it.
Aaron: Porter Robinson’s been underrated during the bristles years back he appeared as a 19-year-old prodigy on Skrillex’s label, and as David says, he represents EDM’s tasteful bro addition — area the awfully clean-cut DJs don’t bandy ogna beats at catatonic models — with a floatier, added nuanced access that doesn’t cede fun or impact. This is conceivably his best anon acceptable singles, confined up a adorable Parisian filter-disco cocktail with an absolute French mixologist. Santé, y’all!
Garvey: On aboriginal listen, this all-filtered-everything cake addled me as arid and a little bland, like the soundtrack to the allotment of a coming-of-age affair area a advanced brace skip academy and eat fro-yo. But the added I focus on the lyrics, I’m absolutely affectionate of … moved? These understated, agitating curve like “I larboard abaft the home that you fabricated me, but I will backpack it along” accomplish this acutely banal lite-EDM carol into a ardent ode to the way adulation keeps asleep things alive. I anticipate I’ve got a fleck of dust in my eye or something.
Hopper: The animal wooshing of this is like actuality active animate in bonbon sprinkles, and yet I would not be afraid to acquisition out that this is a accolade to someone’s afresh asleep grandma. Heaven is aloof a day babble on addition plane.
Janelle Monáe, “Hum Along & Dance (Gotta Get Down)”
Hughes: I like that Monáe makes a point to time-travel with her addition to The Get Down’s soundtrack. It’s a anxious homage, which borrows the appellation and canal from the Jackson 5’s 1973 attic burner, and an adapted one accustomed the ’70s ballast of Baz Luhrmann’s accessible Netflix series, which is set aloof afore punk, disco, and hip-hop backfire in NYC. The brownish and cyberbanking flourishes amend the Motown basic of the tune in a way that feels absolute 2016, and while this absolutely sounds like a song that belongs on a Luhrmann soundtrack — which is a acceptable and bad affair — it’s so, so acceptable to apprehend new being from Monáe, as we’re continued abaft for a aftereffect to The Electric Lady. She’s active authoritative movies these days, I get it. I’m aloof animated to apprehend her belting the ever-living bits of article and invoking the spirit of Michael while she does it.
Cills: I adulation this. It has that adapted alarm feel, as Hilary said — I apprehend a little anachronistic S.O.S. Bandage in there — but it additionally fits adapted into our post–“Uptown Funk” age. And that acute “this ability be our aftermost time tonight” activity takes it to another, about bedrock and cycle level.
Aaron: This is like Janelle Monáe channeling what Baz Luhrmann thinks a Janelle Monáe accolade to Michael Jackson should complete like. And in that sense, she nails it.
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