The old model of popular music: dumb it down to the lowest common denominator and make it go down easy. Reviewing the Billboard and iTunes charts of this past year, the tides have obviously changed. In days when nobody is buying, the flashiest, loudest, weirdest thing sells -- how else can you explain Nicki Minaj? While these are generally exciting times in pop music, with pervious molds essentially demolished, things don't always go so well when anything goes. Here are the six most absurd songs of 2011.
6. Lil Wayne - "6 Foot 7 Foot" Vox populi, vox dei - The voice of the people is the voice of God. In the early 1900s, composer Gustav Mahler famously used this expression to justify the unlikely success of dissonant works by his contemporary Richard Strauss. I'm curious how Mahler would explain "6 Foot 7 Foot" by Lil' Wayne, a song that only qualifies as pop because of its 2 million iTunes downloads. The track lifts a sample from "Day O (The Banana Boat Song)" to drill home what most people already know: Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. is insane. Of course, the point would be just as obvious if it were a capella. Sane people rarely say things like "Real G's move in silence like lasagna." This was the first Lil Wayne song recorded after his release from prison, and it comes off like a stream of consciousness rant from someone with too much on his mind to filter it all into a four minute track. "You full of shit, you close your mouth and let your ass talk / Young Money eating, all you haters do is add salt." That's the voice of God talking.
5. Enrique Iglesias feat. Ludacris - "Tonight (I'm F**king You)" Lots of asterisks in pop music titles this year. The world was still catching up on Cee Lo Green's "F**k You." Pink has a motivational middle school anthem in "F**king Perfect." I'm sure a few parents had uncomfortable conversations when their kids asked what LMFAO means. None of these f-bombs are as ill-conceived as "Tonight (I'm F**king You)" by Enrique Iglesias, the generally wholesome survivor of the 1999 Latin pop explosion. Edited for radio as "Tonight (I'm Loving You)," Iglesias's track just comes off as a bland club jam. The dirty word version is a poor fit for Enrique, an "I'm still relevant" hail Mary pass not unlike Pat Boone's metal album.
4. Lady Gaga - "Judas" Lady Gaga's hit "Born This Way" was like an amped-up take on Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful," a positive message from a super star. Conceptually, "Judas" follows suit. Gaga is saying that love conquers all. Unfortunately, she chose an analogy that involves having unprotected sex with the Biblical character who betrayed Jesus, as if she's just taunting the Westboro Baptist Church members picketing outside her shows.
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