Hi, and welcome to Radio Rants. Here’s today’s song.
The band up there with the incredibly punchable looking faces is Hot Chelle Rae. HCR comes in second to Neon Trees for the coveted “How did your no-name band suddenly land in the Top Ten?” award; after being formed by the sons of Nashville musicians in 2005 (“Your dad’s a songwriter? Mine is, too! Let’s start a band!” “Ok!”), they released a no-reception album in 2009, and the Tonight Tonight EP earlier this year. There is literally nothing noteworthy about this band other than that it exists.
Alright, I was going to save this for the big reveal at the end, but there’s just no way to get around it: I can’t stand this song. Have you ever heard a song that you dislike the first time you hear it, the fifth time you hear it, and, even after you’ve heard it enough to know every single word, it still sets your teeth on edge, yet you can’t explain why you hate it? That’s “Tonight Tonight” to me; I know I’m in the minority on this one, but I can’t stand this song, and I can’t pin down why. Let’s take a look.
“It’s been a really, really messed up week/Seven days of torture, seven days of bitter/And my girlfriend went and cheated on me/She’s a California dime, but it’s time for me to quit her” What the hell is a California dime? According to Urban-Dictionary, a California dime is a girl/woman who is a perfect ten (get it, 10, like a dime is ten ce–oh, this is stupid) but also looks very California. …so she has Daisy Dukes and a bikini top?
The second verse isn’t much better, the point is that the lead singer got a tattoo like this cheating California dime mixed with Zach Galifianakis. In fact, the total emptiness of the lyrics to “Tonight Tonight” (I’ll get to the chorus in a second) is part of what turns me off of this song; outside of the California dime and Galifianakis lines, not a single line is memorable (and bullshit slang/celeb name drops for the sake of name drops aren’t good-memorable).
So maybe “Tonight Tonight” has a great chorus? Eh. “We’re going at it tonight, tonight/There’s a party on the rooftop/On top of the world tonight, tonight/And we’re dancing on the edge of the Hollywood sign” The Hollywood sign is an admittedly nice image, but the rest of these lyrics are just unimaginative party talk.
So maybe the music is what takes the song down a notch? Again, no. Even though the song jacks the keyboard riff from “Gives You Hell”, and the breezy guitar/drum set up never does anything creative or different, “Tonight Tonight” isn’t bad instrumentally. It puts a few synth bells and whistles on the traditional rock band setup, but the combination is inoffensive at best/worst.
I think a big part of my dislike for this song comes from the singer. I don’t know who this guy is, but he sounds like the obnoxious, grating, too-smug-for-his-talent pretty boy type that you find on the side stages at Warped Tour. He doesn’t have any particular personality, nor does he seem likeable or relatable, either.
Ultimately, I think it’s a mix of all of the above that put me off “Tonight Tonight”. Outside of a kind of hooky chorus and a decent instrumental, there’s nothing to really like about it. I’ve learned to tolerate it out of sheer repetition, but this one still ranks pretty low for me. It’s not terrible, but I’m not seeing the appeal to it, either.