Sunday, January 25, 2009

#1 Metro Station, "Shake It"

Shake shake
Shake shake
uh-Shake it

I'm pretty sure I remember reading somewhere that Metro Station came up with the chorus for "Shake It," got all excited, showed it to their label, and then were told, "Well, but you still need to write verses, too." One of the many great things about this faux-emo pop-rock-goes-electro single is that you can absolutely hear that, hear that this song was originally nothing more than a chorus, and yet the verses still manage to be more than filler. Of course, it's tough to come off as anything ther than filler when you're surrounded by that chorus, but the verses and bridge do admirably. Even more remarkable is that they manage to be so enjoyable while using every page in the pop-punk lyrical playbook. Quick, with the feeling of constantly pushing forwards towards something, they keep their hooks in a plentiful but repressed supply, never fully giving in to the temptation to let loose...

...until the song hits the chorus. Party anthem perfection of the undeniable sort, "Shake It" is the sort of song everyone knows they're not supposed to like, but ever time it comes on, the girls giggle and lean towards each other to confess how much they really love it and the guys put out their sternest faces so no sign of how much they actually like the song slips out. No other song this year was able to induce such instant exhilaration in me--even just thinking about the catchy chorus was enough to make me want to jump up and start jumping around, hands in the air, to the beat perfectly timed for doing just that. Neither was there any other single this year that I was always willing to play without hesitation, a fact even harder to believe because I've loved "Shake It" since its October 2007 appearance as an iTunes free download. None of its sheen has worn off for me and nothing--not the wannabe hipster but actually incredibly awkward styling of the group, not the "are they trying to be British?!" "accent" the lead singer puts on, not the fact that the group will probably never again produce anything even remotely approaching "Shake It"'s level of brilliance--can take away from the fact that Metro Station, having presumably sold their souls to the devil for the fun and catchiness embedded in "Shake It," managed to capture pop euphoria in a song.

As a matter of house-keeping, while we're on the subject of Metro Station, I'd also like to dig out an old draft of a post about Swedish pop-punk outfit Kid Down's 2008 single "I'll Do (It For You)"--which, as you'll see, I'm not recommending, but I had something to say about.

There are some really really awful lyrics in the verses and song-wise I don't think any element of it comes even close in quality to the chorus. In fact, the song never sounds more promising or more exciting than it does for the first 28 seconds. During the vocodered first fifteen seconds, in fact, you can even imagine Hellogoodbye or some dance project making the song. Those fifteen seconds easily transition into almost fifteen seconds of catchy upbeat pop-rock, more than good enough to get you thinking, "wow, maybe they actually are going to make a fantastic song!" Unfortunately, the first verse is OK but a little bit of a let down and the bits between choruses get progressively worse from there.

In practice, the song ends up playing out like a combination of Hellogoodbye and pre-'80's makeover Good Charlotte, but the pop-punk too often veers into the obnoxious end of pop-punk for me to endorse "I'll Do (It For You)." I'm therefore issuing a request: can someone please rescue those brilliant first 28 seconds (and subsequent choruses) from the rest of this song and use them to make something great? How about giving them to Metro Station and having them come up with some new verse melodies and lyrics? Or maybe even just new lyrics? Are Hellogoodbye looking for a new song opening? Or maybe there's some pop-rock group out there who'd sell the song better with their vocals.

Find it on: Metro Station


Jump! said...

Something tells me you like this poster girl because it sounds like part Calvin Harris, part the Click Five.

Its totally catchy.

Poster Girl said...

How have I been listening to this song for almost a year and a half now and NEVER realized that it sounds like the Click Five?

You may have just blown my mind. Of COURSE that's why I love it!

I love how I can go on for paragraphs and you come along with one sentence and completely change my understanding of the song.

Aaron said...

Poster Girl - You know I've been with you for 90% of this countdown - but I'm sorry - I CAN'T STAND THIS SONG!!!!! A huge surprise at No.1 - and not the good kind - Sorry!

I'll just rewind to number 7 and finish there...(I'm yet to hear Namie or The Script!.)

Paul said...

Surprising and interesting choice of number one. I bought the metro station album on a whim in Florida (without having heard any of their music!) and listened to it for the first time last week. I love Shake It and 17 Again. Both very Click Five. Ah if this were the Click Five's third album in fact, I'd be proper chuffed.

BTW - brilliant countdown. Full of surprises, ace observations and cool songs. Very Good Indeed.

Yuяi said...

I'm totally surprised that "Shake It" is your #1 song. I had no idea you liked it more than "Forever" which was my bet for your #1 song.'s a great song. And, way to be different and keeping it fresh by going outside the box too. You sure aren't going to see Metro Station on NME or Rolling Stones lists (not in the Top 10 anyways). Good for you.

Mike said...

I love "Shake It"! It's so weird, I heard it in a gay nightclub on the weekend and I was like WTF? Two seconds later I was too busy shaking it to care. This still hasn't got old all these months later, which I think is the stamp of a really great song. A perfect choice for #1!

Poster Girl said...

Aaron, I'm sorry, I was too busy dancing--what did you say?

Paul, those are the only two songs on it I listen to. I'm not sure that I've actually listened to the whole thing, actually. This was always the song on it screaming out to be a single, though, I'm pretty sure. And thank you, good sir :D

Yuri, if I was a reader of my blog, I'd probably have bet on "Forever," too! You were pretty close ;) I had to be honest, you know?

Mike, did you really hear it in a gay nightclub? That's LOL-worthy. Love that you like it! Not getting old--that's absolutely the stamp of a great song for me; it's the best thing I could think of to judge them on.

Mel said...

I'm surprised this is your #1. But it is a good track. Definitely. It's one of those songs for me personally that I never wanted to admit I liked, but something about it is just undeniable. It starts when it goes "Let's drop" or whatever it is shouted in the beginning. Haha.

Poster Girl said...

I know exactly what you mean--it really is that ultimate sort of "shouldn't like it but do" track for a lot of people I know. So cheesy, but so good.