Friday, October 17, 2008

So super fly

I can just imagine J.R. Rotem sitting around, thinking, "You know, 'S.O.S.' was a big hit for Rihanna...if I've got this other pop-R&B chick who had some decent success with her first album [author's note: which had three good-to-great singles taken from it] and is looking to really break through with this second one, maybe all I need to do is go find another '80's hit to sample."

So, if you're J.R., what do you do? Go search for another '80's anthem with a dark bassline that you can use for a unfightable dancefloor-ready pop track? Nope. You go straight for Nena's "99 Luftballons." And turn that into a bouncey mid-tempo song (about, say, Mariah's "Heartbreaker" in tempo) about how fantastic the singer looks with her sunglasses, skinny jeans, and Gucci bag. If you think too much about, your head might start spinning at the thought of "flossy, flossy, baby, I do it right" covering over the synth hook from Nena's song about the dangers of nuclear weapons, but really, for most people, was the joy of Nena's song--a hit in the U.S. in its German form and surely unintelligible to most Americans--really about the lyrics or that can't-get-it-out-of-your-head and actually pretty joyful music? "Stunned Out" is kind of ridiculous, but it somehow manages to keep that joy, albeit in a transformed urban-synth-pop version that feels perfect for the summer. Is it kind of goofy? Yes (and some people are going to hate it for what it does to a classic), but only in the best possible way.

This song is not yet available for purchase, but you can buy the artist's self-titled debut album here (physical) or here (digital; only available to U.S. residents). "Walk Away" (best in its rap-free form) is underrated, as is "Easy," and "Doing Too Much" is fun mid-tempo urban pop fluff.

Next up: probably a Dutch song I've written about before.


Mike said...

You had me at samples Nena. Very trashy but in a good way!

John said...

I loved "Easy", and felt like it was a bit underrated. As for "Stunned Out", it bites from so many different sources that I really don't know what to think. "Heartbreaker" meets "99" is accurate, with some Xtina and "Genius of Love" thrown in for good measure. Truthfully, it's a bit much for a man with a head cold to absorb on a Saturday morning.

Poster Girl said...

Mike, you just summed it up so much better and more quickly than I did!

It's kind of got a bit of a novelty thing about it, I think, John, but that might be why I'm able to accept it--I mean, I logically know it probably is supposed to be a big (ish) album-launching single, but the song seems so un-serious that I can't help not being serious about it, and in that way it works perfectly...if that makes any sort of sense. Hope you feel better soon, though!

Yuяi said...

Come to think of it, I don't think I can remember anyone else sampling Nena. I'm sure there's been someone, but big hit? I think the sample works great with the track. All I can think of are those balloons though!

Poster Girl said...

You'd think someone would have done it by now, no? Then again, maybe everyone else just thought it was too obvious!