He Gets None of Me Love
Hey guys! Don't forget that the deadline for the Simpsons Contest is on Saturday. Keep those entries pouring in!
Now I need to ask a serious question...
How do you feel about Sean Kingston?
Has his music even traveled outside the U.S.? His laughably poor Wikipedia entry doesn't give me any clues about his international reach. It does, however, tell me he uses MySpace to "hit J.R. up 5 times a day."
You know! J.R.
Anyway... for those of you both here and abroad who don't know Mr. Kingston's music, let me bring you up to speed.
He's currently foisting two singles on American radio, and both blend samples of classic hits with a pop-reggae sound. It's sort of like Shaggy, but with fewer references to banging on the bathroom floor.
Of Kingston's singles, "Beautiful Girls" is the most inescapable. If you live near a radio or have ever walked down a street where people play radios, you've probably heard his slightly whiny voice singing over a Jamaica-ed up loop of "Stand By Me."
Missed this jam? Go here.
It's highly likely "Beautiful Girls"--which finds our young hero bemoaning his weakness in the presence of the title characters--will be the number one song in America next week. At the very least, it will be in the top five.
Then there's "Me Love," his even newer song that has started getting played on the radio here in NYC. Rock purists should probably take a seat before I tell you about this one.
"Me Love" egregiously rips off "D'yer Maker" by Led Zepplin.
I remember people foaming at the mouth when Sheryl Crow covered the song pretty faithfully, so I only can imagine what they're doing now. Look out your windows. Do you see fires in the streets? This song may be why.
And I'm not saying "Beautiful Girls" and "Me Love" aren't catchy. They are. The latter is especially so because "D'yer Maker" just sticks in your head. (Oh! Oh-oh-oh-oh! You don't have to go-oh!)
No... I get why the songs are hits. But even for silly pop songs, I find them almost painfully insipid. At least a dumb song like "Barbie Girl" has some irony, and Nelly's "Hot in Herre" has a wicked good beat. Sean Kingston's music just sounds lazy. Like, sub-P. Diddy lazy. There's nothing distinctive about Kingston's voice, and his producer (the aforementioned J.R.) has used the most inauthentic, mall-friendly reggae riffs. They're straight out of a Caribbean Cruise Line commercial, where old white people in floral print shirts dive under "da limbo stick" while white-jacketed "ethnic" servants stand nearby pouring daiquiris.
And remember how I mentioned Shaggy? His reggae pop has about three million times more complexity. Go back and listen to "It Wasn't Me." It holds up pretty well.
For those still doubting that Kingston's music is insincere, I offer these lyrics from "Girls:"
It was back in '99
Watchin' movies all the time
Oh when I went away
For doin' my first crime
Oh it was, was it? Back in '99? Because Kingston was born in 1990. I do not for one quick second believe he was in jail at the age of nine.
"Mark," you say, "Are you suggesting that Sean Kingston is the first teenage pop star to be turned into a total phony by the industry machine? Did you not pay attention to your own post about 'Kids, Incorporated?'"
Obviously, Kingston's not the first offender. However, he drives me especially crazy.
What about you? Do you think I'm right, or am I overreacting?