November 25th, 2008 9:47am
Some Of Them Are Half-Smart
Musicians, take note: It is probably a very good idea for you to write catchy songs about being broke and/or desperately wanting money right about now. They don’t have to be miserable, mind you — it’s probably for the best to lean in the direction of this Wiley single, which balances out the frustration of insolvency with a perky, can-do optimism. Wiley’s verses are energetic and enjoyable, but his lyrics are largely beside the point — he’s basically just doing a hip hop stock move, i.e. “I come from nothing, but I’ve made some money from my music, and so I will flaunt it a bit without forgetting my roots.” The real action is in Mark Ronson’s musical arrangement and Daniel Merriweather’s chorus, the latter providing the bulk of the song’s emotional resonance, and the former lending the track a jolting sense of urgency. When the galloping beat overlaps with Merriweather’s white boy soul — actually, his voice sounds more than a little bit like that of Damon Albarn — the song just sparks, and kinda zaps you into its hustling state of mind.
Visit the Wiley MySpace page.
“Love Songs” is a pretty straightforward admission of susceptibility to stock romantic narratives and iconography, particularly when the fantasy is tied into wealth and social position. It’s not a critique, mind you — it’s a sweet song about being sentimental and wanting affection and lovely things — but there’s certainly an awareness of class and privilege that bleeds into its wistful longing for the easy drama and happy endings of post-Hollywood fiction. That awareness is key to the song’s appeal — it keeps it feeling humble and non-demanding, and the bit of distance makes it all feel a bit less sad, and more like the work of a person familiar with — and wary of — the concept of aspirational branding.
Buy it from iTunes.