Hi…welcome back to…to Radio Rants. I’m your host, and…hell, just throw the single picture up there. Down there. Whichever.
Yeah. I’ll be honest, I was looking for something, anything else to review today, but since I heard this song no less than four times today (video was on this morning, twice from cars going by, once on the radio itself), it just pushed its way to the forefront of my mind. Which is kind of impressive for a song that’s so unremarkable. Anyway, let’s begin.
Maybe it’s just because I play guitar, but I legitimately do like the guitar line in this song. Too bad it freaking ends once the song jumps into the…well, I don’t know, actually. Both the guitar backed part of the song and the ensuing boringish, uninspired electro-y part function as a “chorus”. That repeats itself. And lyrically it’s just bland, I mean completely beige. The lyrics…well, it’s all there in the title. But we learn jackshit about whomever the song’s directed towards. It could be me to Lady Gaga. It could be Mike Posner to Taylor Swift. It could be any unpopular guy in high school (I don’t need to stretch myself to imagine Posner was this guy) singing to a girl on the cheerleading squad.
And since I’ve pretty succinctly wrapped up the song sans rap part and the bridge (I’m getting there), let’s talk about Mike Posner. When I first heard him, I thought that guy from Silversun Pickups had gone solo on us ala Travis McCoy. Then when I saw him, I thought it was just Justin Timberlake going through a rough couple days. Anyway, this is his first single, so I’m guessing we’re going to have to sit through three more of these and then maybe, hopefully, he’ll go away.
So there’s this rap part that’s just bad. “Know what’s up? (Know what’s up?)/Cause your nose is up/I’m approaching up (Yup)/Like I can’t give you winter in the summer/Or Summer in the winter/Miami in December”. And I almost want to call that the good half. I don’t know who does the rap part, or who wrote it, but it’s all sorts of lame. Remember 4th grade, back when we all wanted to insult each other but couldn’t come up with good smack talk? That’s what the rap part is in this song. And again, don’t know who’s actually saying it (Posner?), but it almost sounds like they were trying to be ironic and failed miserably. It’s awkward, not good at all, and adds nothing positive to the song.
Then there’s the bridge, which abuses the “have a ‘back-up’ singer (your voice slightly shifted) repeat the last line'” card so much I’m surprised no one had to call the cops. Posner goes into his upper-register, or what upper-register he pretends to have, which puts “Cooler Than Me” in the long list of songs with blatantly obvious and usually bad bridges. I really hope that trend goes away soon.
And I don’t actually hate this song, I just think that it’s too run of the mill. I couldn’t call it a good song, but it doesn’t do much to warrant being called a bad song either. Yeah, it steals “You’re so vain/You probably think this song is about you/Don’t you/Don’t you”, but I don’t care enough to be mad about it. “Cooler Than Me” will be gone by Halloween.
Note**: I have just discovered that there’s a waaaay more electropop version of this song. Pros: The synths aren’t that bad in some spots and the rap part got taken out. Cons: The singing’s the same and they got rid of the guitar part. And the music’s busily annoying, and too much of a throwback to be good. Listen to “Bulletproof” if you want good retro-synths.
This guy is from Duke University. I think he was opening for Drake on a recent tour. From scant comments, I gather he’s singing about a girl from Duke.