Songs of the Week: Everyone’s a Winner!
Phillip Phillips, “Home”
It is KCRW Lite, a genre we didn’t even know existed. It lifts its whoa-oh hook right off “Party in the USA.” It is The Mumford Wives. Nothing about this song should work, but god help me, I can’t stop listening to it. Phillip himself has called this song too poppy, out of step with the more jazz-inﬂected music he hopes to record. While 19 Entertainment sits him down and explains how the next decade of his life is going to go, let’s enjoy the only decent coronation song Idol has ever produced.
Accidentally great songs were hot this week. Did you watch the Eurovision Song Contest last weekend? It’s not too late; the two semifinals and the final are streaming at Eurovision.tv, and they’re a must-watch orgy of glitter, broken English, and dramatic capes. Sweden’s Loreen won the day by a sizable margin, and deservedly so; “Euphoria” sounds like something you might actually hear in a club, which is a miracle when you consider that the runners-up were six Russian grandmothers who dressed like nesting dolls and baked treats onstage.
Gaitana, “Be My Guest”
Treats notwithstanding, the Ukraine produced my Eurovision favorite. “Be My Guest” has fakey synth-horns right out of Don Henley’s “Sunset Grill,” some Anastacia/Taylor Dayne–esque vocals from Gaitana, and lyrics that were clearly written by a non-native English speaker who thinks “I wish you the best” is something you say to someone you like. It’s heaven.
Scissor Sisters, “Let’s Have a Kiki”
This is going to be the gayest summer of all time: Tides are turning toward marriage equality, homophobes are taking off their masks and showing their lizard faces to the world, Magic Mike is coming out. It’s the last gasp of gayness being a great big deal before we’re permanently, quietly, confidently woven into the fabric of American life. There will be a backlash; there are too many people getting too rich riling up the too-loony for something awful not to happen. But it hasn’t happened yet, so pull out your tightest T-shirt, find out what a “kiki” is — thanks to the most helpful in-song slang glossary moment since “No Scrubs” — and have one of them shits. When you’re on the golf course in 30 years, you’ll wish you had.
Kylie Minogue, “Timebomb”
See above. Kylie Minogue needs a higher profile over here. So does Robyn. Does America punish its divas for not falling apart? Discuss over a kiki.
Justin Bieber, “Die in Your Arms”
Bobby Brown, “Don’t Let Me Die”
This week, Justin Bieber slugged a paparazzo and Bobby Brown bared his heart to Matt Lauer. The Freaky Friday–ness extends to their new singles, as Biebs serves up some Soul For Real realness, while Bobs contributes a track to the soundtrack for Tyler Perry’s Madea and the Huntsman. The fuck is going on here? (Bonus points to Brown for the official video, which appears to have been shot on a webcam.)
Chantal Claret, “Bite Your Tongue”
Former Morningwood front woman Claret goes solo, gets soulful. Can we hook her up with Mark Ronson? Can we hook me up with Mark Ronson?
Laetitia Sadier, “Find Me the Pulse of the Universe”
I can’t remember whether I own one Stereolab album or all of them; they’re one of those bands that does the exact same thing over and over and I continue to love it. Versatility is overrated. Still, it’s nice to hear Laetitia striking out on her own to do a slightly different thing over and over.
Neutral Bling Hotel, “In My G4 Over Da Sea”
Jeff Mangum meets Kanye, Pitbull, and Cali Swag District in a good old-fashioned mash-up, which is a thing. While it doesn’t always work, it does always feel like sacrilege, and that can never be bad.
Dave Holmes is an actor, television host, and writer for Vulture and Death & Taxes. Follow him on Twitter @daveholmes.