Does Your Pop Music Suck? “How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Song,” by Kanye West.

/This post has been commandeered by guest blogger Don Bito/

In case you readers were wondering how on earth I got away with chronicling my extremely personal, unnecessarily loquacious journey from uninspired to the opposite of that last week, the answer is: I didn’t.

If you want to know the truth, the universe has, in no uncertain terms, registered its displeasure with my melodramatic biblical references and metaphorical tears by unleashing an all-too-literal flood upon my abode.  Not even the whole house; just my room, where air conditioner evaporation-pan overflow (or some sh*t like that) filled two buckets with its constant dripping throughout the night.

That’s right, readers. You may think being subjected to my whims of verbiage is cruel and unusual, but the whole damn universe just went Dick Cheney on my ass. So, suck it up.

Anywayyyys…today’s pick peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 chart this week. Check out Keri Hilson’s Knock You Down featuring Kanye West and Ne-Yo here. I linked you in since you really ought to see the original video, which is unembeddable thanks to copyright laws and whatevah whatevah.

It’s a song about love. It’s a song about synth. It’s undeniably a song about how you should really be dancing right now. What I really wanted this week was another song to tear apart, limb from limb, like it was a Philly Grrl mix cd, and as I listened to Knock You Down I felt sure I was going to be disappointed.  Keri Hilson can sing, and even though her lyrics are pretty cliche and sappy, well, that’s really what a summer love song is all about, and I can’t deny that she’s working it.

And then Ne-Yo steps in and delivers the mixed metaphor line that shoves KYD solidly into “gloriously ridiculous pop” territory:

I used to be commander-in-chief for my pimp ship flying high

That’s right. He is the president of the nation-state that is his own FLYING PIMP SHIP. I just need a moment to bask in that….ahhh…

But just as I start thinking this song could really make my Most Played list, Kanye hops in at the end and takes a big crap all over my buzz with his astonishingly bad rap.

I say “astonishingly bad” not only because I was astonished at how bad it was, but also because I was astonished that such mediocre rap was coming from Kanye West.  I’ll admit I was immediately put off by

Tell me now can you make it past your caspers

So we could finally fly off into NASA

…as if Kanye were plotting to crash Ne-Yo’s flying pimp ship into the agency’s headquarters as a hilarious act of pop terrorism.  Sadly, I think what’s actually happening is a stretch for a rhyme that has somehow made “NASA” synonymous with “space” and…that…is unacceptable.

Perhaps my whole vision of Kanye’s verse is tainted by this sketchy start, but the rhymes continue to seem forced, and as a result his narrative stumbles back and forth between clunky phrasing ( “So please don’t mess up the trick;” “Let the hour glass pass right into ashes”) and cliche (“You was always the cheerleader of my dreams/ Seem to only date the head of football teams”).

Kanye? Kanye, I’m bored.

So taken aback was I by the fact that Mr. West is the cold sore on the lip of this song that I took a few minutes to do some background research. (What?? I know. Bear with me.) The KYD Wiki confirms that Kanye’s vocals were a last-minute addition to the single.

Annnnd it shows. Wikipedia also quotes from this DigitalSpy review in which Nick Levine takes issue with Hilson’s choice to bring bigger names onto the track…because he thinks Kanye “steals the show with some typically ballsy rapping.”

Let me edit that line for accuracy, if I may:

“[Kanye] steals the [vomit right out of my mouth] with some…rapping [that is balls].”

You’re welcome, Nick.

//Tune in next week for more suckage. And email your picks and pet peeves to


2 responses to “Does Your Pop Music Suck? “How to Ruin a Perfectly Good Song,” by Kanye West.

  1. well, what do you expect from a guy who boasts that he doesn’t read?

    what are these “caspers” he refers to?

  2. I actually don’t mind the use of “caspers” to mean “ghosts” here, once I figured out what he was trying to say. But it’s definitely an example of where the finagling he’s done to rhyme it with “NASA” makes the line awkward.

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