I’m gonna get this out of the way. I really like the new Sneaks single “Hong Kong to Amsterdam.” It’s really good! Now that that’s been said, welcome to Not Totally On Board week at Pop Gazing. There lots of funky stuff out there this week!
Los Unidades & Pharrell Williams feat. Jozzy: “E-Lo”
Coldplay is at it again, and here’s my take: Through with being famous, Chris Martin and Co. are ducking out of the spotlight Sia-style while they underwrite their own continued success from afar. Remember how Coldplay, on paper, headlined the 2016 Super Bowl Halftime show? Impossible, you say! That was the year that Beyonce and Bruno Mars performed.
Rather than burn out, Spin magazine’s Band of the Year 2003 has chosen to fade away; who but their biggest fans could name more than maybe one song they’ve released since 2008’s “Viva La Vida,” a track so perfect and exuberant they could have retired along with its release? OK, probably a lot of people. Still, they’ve clearly taken the Maroon 5 route into a collaboration-based iron lung, putting out releases as far flung yet predictable as their 2014 single with Avicii. The band’s latest stunt is to make a new band out of their existing band — called Los Unidades… nope, nothing weird about Coldplay naming their band in Spanish! — just as Arcade Fire did with The Reflektors. This barely shrouded mystery band has teamed up with Pharrell Williams (sure, why not!) to slip another mid-tempo arena-pop Disclosure rip-off into their arsenal. It’s fairly unremarkable, but get ready to hear it in commercials for the next few years.
Meek Mill feat. Fabolous and Anuel AA: “Uptown Vibes”
After a prolonged bout of getting dunked on by Drake while incarcerated (ouch!), Meek Mill is back out and releasing music. Of his two latest singles, “Uptown Vibes” and “Oodles of Noodles Babies,” the former is the big hit. It’s the chart topper A-side to the darker, narrative verse-heavy latter. “Uptown Vibes” also sees Meek Mill as the latest to cash in on putting out a track with a Latin trap act.
It’s this collaboration that’s the most notable aspect of the song; “Vibes” features Puerto Rican rapper Anuel AA, who completed a 30-month sentence for weapons charges this summer. Anuel is regarded by some as the rightful king of Latin trap who, having missed the genre’s explosion in international popularity during his prison time, is now on an ascendent path that may soon place him alongside Bad Bunny in terms of English-speaking pop awareness. “Uptown Vibes” is catchy enough but is weighed down by the presence of Fabolous a mere month after he was indicted on domestic assault charges. You blew it, Meek!
The 1975: “Sincerity is Scary”
Augh!!! Try as I have (and I have!) I cannot totally reconcile with the internet’s love for The 1975. I’m sure this is a common stance to take, and not because they are cartoonishly indulgent in their overzealous earnestness. No, I’m sure it’s a common stance because the name of this single is “Sincerity is Scary.” Unbelievable! It’s almost snotty; an affront to anyone spooked by their aggressively honest pop. Originally released in September, a few days ago it saw a new alarmingly quaint video featuring Francis and the Lights-style choreography to add to the track’s Social Experiment-style brass.
Of course, the arrogance dissolves upon further reflection. Anyone (including me) who doesn’t yet ‘get it’ probably soon will, lumped in with an ounce of regret for each month of the band’s tenure we didn’t get to experience while we were being too obstinate to enjoy the fun in front of us. Damn it, did I finally become a fan of this band while trying to write about not being one? Whatever, the Ariana cover’s still bad…I think. (A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships is out this Friday, and I guess it’ll probably be great.)