Welcome back to Radio Rants, where I listen to it because all of us have to! So I do have to say, these things have been a lot of fun so far. I actually do like being informed about pop music and knowing what’s up; means I’m able to cite reasons for hating it. I kid (mostly). Alright, so what’s on the list today? I hope it’s something better than Jasample Jason DeRulo, or at least more original.
Alright, sure. Travis McCoy was always at least kinda clever with Gym Class Heroes. Ok, so I’m basing this judgment off of all…three GCH songs I have on my computer, but each one has a few lines that are quirky and memorable enough. It’s kind of interesting to see that McCoy’s flipped the Band-Solo Success Rate; GCH have had virtually no airplay besides “Cupid’s Chokehold” while McCoy going solo has netted him a no. 4 hit on the Hot 100.
Said hit, “Billionaire”, also features Bruno Mars, who opens the song with some “never heard it before” acoustic strumming (I’ll come back to this) and the phrase “I wanna be a billionaire/so fucking bad”. Look, I’m not anti-swearing, not at all. But when you’re doing a breezey-chill-sounding-laid-back-summer song, throwing an f-bomb in the first line takes the maturity down a few notches. The radio version uses “freakin” which I for some reason works better with McCoy’s rhetoric. Ah well.
So speaking of McCoy, he does a pretty solid job here. He spends the song rapping about what he would do as a billionaire, and while his rapping isn’t the best, he’s got some lines that make you stop and think “heh, that was actually pretty funny”. My personal favorite is “And I’d probably visit where Katrina hit/And damn do a lot more than FEMA did”. Yeah, one or two lines are kind of stupid, but at least he’s trying to change it up. And dammit, he’s having fun here, what’s not to like?
Which is more than I can say for Bruno Mars. Vocally, he sounds pretty strained and thin, and his lyrics aren’t that great. His idea of being a billionaire is Forbes magazine, Oprah, and…the Queen? M’kay, I’m guessing that was just to keep the rhyme up. Yeah. And then the chorus goes “Every time I close my eyes/I see my name in shining lights/A different city every night/Oh my I swear/The world better prepare/For when I’m a billionaire”. Hey, not bad! It makes me wanna sing along, which is good. But the words I wanna sing are “What I really wanna know/My baby/What I really wanna say I can’t de–
Waitaminute, that’s not how “Billionaire” goes.
No, that’s how Sublime’s 1996 you-know-you’ve-heard-it-before hit “Santeria” goes. It’s…they synchronize uncomfortably well. I mean, if it was just a passing similarity I’d be able to look the other way, but taking the music from “Santeria” and singing “Billionaire” over it reveals that the only difference comes when Mars sings “The world better prepare/For when I’m a billionaire”. It kinda feels like being betrayed. Kinda like…if you were with Santa and pulled his beard and it revealed not Santa Claus, but…
“You can call me Travie Claus minus the ho-ho!”
Sigh. Ah well.