Pop Cult: FAMA, The-Dream, LOEN TREE
Knee-jerk reactions (the best kind) to pop culture happenings all over the world.Posted by Allen Huang
Pop Cult: Canto-Traps and Summer Camps
The-Dream’s new album gets a little closer, LOEN Entertainment tries a little too hard, and Hong Kong rap duo FAMA miss by inches.
FAMA – Companion : C+
There’s so much to love about this Cantonese Hip-Hop chart topper… and yet so much to hate. The intro is gloriously placid, calmly shifting the listener into a lull before crashing into the triumphant, semi-trappish verse. And that beat! It’s like the happiest Lex Luger beat on earth.
But the super sappy vocal hook is awful, deflating any sense of momentum and goodwill the first minute of the song may have generated. It’s so frustrating for them to be that close; didn’t they realize what they had in the palm of their hands? They let it all slip away. Wake me up when some ridiculous Canto-Hip-Pop-Trap blows up.
The-Dream – “Dope B**ch” : B+
It feels like we’ve been waiting forever for Love IV to drop. With a leak here, a U-Stream there, and an embarrassing dual interview with Zola Jesus everywhere, it’s hard to finally believe this thing will be out in just a few months. I guess leaked tracks don’t matter when you change your track list every time you’re asked.
“Dope B**ch” is a cruiser, a slow burner, and hopefully not the most powerful song on the album. I liked “ROC” and “Body Work” a little better than this, but not by much. Still waiting for that “blow-me-away” single, though if his past work is any indicator it’ll probably creep up without me knowing.
Pusha-T’s verse here is something to behold, one the best verses I’ve heard from him in forever. Maybe it’s because, even with all the white gold and the keys in the video, the Clipse rapper doesn’t stoop to rattling off all the pseudonyms for cocaine he’s got in that utility belt of his. Who knew Pusha-T could be a storyteller if he tried?
LOEN TREE – Sea of Moonlight : C-
K-Pop umbrella company LOEN Entertainment has made a summer project super group called LOEN TREE, featuring talent from their small stable of in-house talent, including K-Pop superstar IU. This tune is the first single off the album, which features IU and rapper FIESTAR, which I can only interpret as a portmanteau of “fiesta” and “star.”
Sorry, this song does nothing for me. The synth line hits too close to “Take On Me,” which conjures up overly-kitschy nightmares. And there is something just simply deflating about FIESTAR in her foam dome and Led Zep tank top, barking out broken English with no real personality at all.
But if you released a teaser with just IU’s soaring chorus, I’d bite hook, line and sinker.