Monday, March 11, 2013

Music March: Scream & Shout

Previously on the SDP, I reviewed two songs at once, including "Thrift Shop", which spent four weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  Here is one of the songs it managed to fend off.


"Scream & Shout"
  • Artist: will.i.am & Britney Spears
  • Album: #willpower
  • Genre: Dance, Hip-Hop/Rap
  • Release: 20, November 2012
  • Writers: William "will.i.am" Adams, Jean Baptiste, Jef "Lazy Jay" Martens
  • Producers: will.i.am, Lazy Jay

If I've learned anything about the Black Eyed Peas, it's that will.i.am is something of a glory hog, especially on their last couple of albums.  Sure, Fergie gets a pass, being a hot girl who was not part of their original lineup, but on any given song after the Elephunk album, the remaining members apl.de.ap and Taboo can't seem to get the combined mic time of either other member.  The same goes for will.i.am's solo single "Scream & Shout".  It's true he got Britney Spears as a guest singer, but she is severely under-used, being given only the bridges and a few sing-alongs with will in the chorus.  Here is how the former starts:
When you hear this in the club
You're gonna turn this [noun] up
You're gonna turn this [noun] up
You're gonna turn this [noun] up
We're off to a bad start.  Britney Spears is repeating meaningless lines -- with a bad word in them, no less.    And what's with that baritone and British accent she's put on?  Are you sure this is even Britney?

I wanna scream and shout
And let it all out
The chorus is equally lazy, relying on repeating lines like this.  And it ends with:
You are now, now rockin' with
will.i.am and Britney, [noun]
Heh, font humour.  The reason I wrote those last words in Times New Roman is because that sound bite was taken from Britney's 2007 "comeback" single "Gimme More".  Man, will.i.am's doing everything in his power to keep his guest out of the spotlight!  For shame.

So then the first verse kicks in and, I'll tell you what, it's not even worth analysing.  It's just a bunch of different ways in which will.i.am is egging us on to have a good time.  So let's move on to the second verse... there is none.  After the next chorus, we instead jump to what is known in musical jargon as the "Middle 8".  Wait...
It goes on and on and on and on
When me and you party together
I wish this night would last forever
'Cause I was feeling down, and now I'm better
We're at the Middle 8 already?  Maybe if they didn't rely so much on repetition, they would've had the space to write a second verse!  Whatever, I appreciate how this section provides some degree of emotional connection.  (See also: Usher's "DJ Got Us Falling In Love")  In overly simple terms, yes; will.i.am was feeling badly before attending the party du jour, but spending some time there has brought his spirits back up.  ...To be fair, I didn't manage to say with rhyme and meter.  Seriously, I think this might be the best part of the song!  We've still got four more lines in this section, so how will they manage to expound on that?
It goes on and on and on and on
When me and you party together
I wish this night would last forever...
Ever... ever... ever...
And they wasted the opportunity by repeating the whole thing.  Shouldn't have been surprised.  In fact, I don't even know why I wasted my time reviewing this party tripe.  Musically, "Scream & Shout" does some interesting things, with the bassline in some parts evoking the Prince-produced funk of the early '80s.  But other parts counteract that with some unacceptably tinny synth-work.  And yes, there is a "dirty bit" in this song, too.  This song may have become a guilty pleasure of mine, but all things considered, it's lazily executed and gives the world nothing of value.

Lyrics: 1 out of 5
Music: 2 out of 5
Performance: 2 out of 5
The Call: 1 out of 5 (F)

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