I’ve found the worst song in the Top 40.

And it’s by Rihanna, with her pathetic attempt at being profound and slow and different than her usual style. I’ve enjoyed most of her dance hits – Umbrella (ella ella ella), Pon de Replay, Disturbia, Shut up and Drive, Please Don’t Stop the Music, but with this new hit (along with her extremely unimpressive Unfaithful), she’s proven how much she should stay away from this kind of music and stick to what she’s good at – shallow, dance-driven poppy tunes. “Take A Bow” takes my award for most loathed song so far this year.

Because I refuse to embed this piece of musical crap on my website, here’s the link to a video of it on youtube.

Ohh, how about a round of applause
Yeah, standing ovation
Oooh ohh yeah, yeah yeah yeah yeah

You look so dumb right now
Standing outside my house
Trying to apologize
You’re so ugly when you cry
Please, just cut it out

An’ don’t tell me you’re sorry ’cause you’re not
Baby when I know you’re only sorry you got caught

But you put on quite a show
Really had me going
But now it’s time to go
Curtain’s finally closing
That was quite a show
Very entertaining
But it’s over now (but it’s over now)
Go on and take a bow

Grab your clothes and get gone (get gone)
You better hurry up before the sprinklers come on
Talkin’ about, girl, I love you, you’re the one
This just looks like a re-run
Please, what else is on (ohh)

And don’t tell me you’re sorry ’cause you’re not
Baby when I know you’re only sorry you got caught

But you put on quite a show
Really had me going
But now it’s time to go
Curtain’s finally closing
That was quite a show
Very entertaining
But it’s over now (but it’s over now)
Go on and take a bow

Ohh, and the award for best liar goes to you
For making me believe that you could be faithful to me
Let’s hear your speech out

How about a round of applause
A standing ovation

But you put on quite a show
Really had me going
Now it’s time to go
Curtain’s finally closing
That was quite a show
Very entertaining
But it’s over now (but it’s over now)
Go on and take a bow

But it’s over now

All she does is repeat several lines ad nauseum and if you look closely, 85% of the song is written in cliches. “Take a bow” “Curtain’s finally closing” “That was quite a show (which she has the nerve to say twice – gah!) The music is even reminiscent of her other sound about being unfaithful to the one you’re with – “Unfaithful” (I know – her capacity for clever titles just boggles the mind). Defenders of Rihanna may say that with “Take a Bow”, her use of all the cliches is part of the point – how, in love, we all fall into the traps of some cliches , but that doesn’t seem to be the point at all – she’s just telling this one dude to just leave because he lied to her. And does she do it with any signifcant emotion in her voice? No. “You look so dumb right now” is the first line of the song. Zing! Dang, what a burn! After this guy has crushed her heart in her hands all she can come up with to do is cal him dumb and tell him he’s ugly when he cries, (“you’re so ugly when you cry” is the best line of the song, by far – it unearths deeper emotionality about the two players in the song than just “You put on quite a show, now leave.”

“But, Brandon, you’re not supposed to take this type of song seriously!”
Rihanna does – the music video makes that explicitly clear. Besides, serious or not, bad writing and bad music is bad writing and bad music, regardless. The entire beat of the song is a lazy-ass R&B jam that could easily be cut and pasted onto a dozen of Rihanna’s lesser effortts and dozens upon dozens of completely forgettable (and forgotten) hip-hop and R&B hits.

One of the reasons I enjoy hip-hop is that most of the time is because its talented players (people like 50 Cent, Kanye West, Justin Timberlake, Eminem, Akon) are self-consciously aware of how the whole “party, girls, party, in da club” mentality of much of hip hop is kind of ridiculous – so they play with it, morph it, transform it into clever lyrics that almost subtly make fun of the incredibly selfish mentality that comes along with making it in that kind of world – people expect you to rap and sing about yourself and how awesome it is to get girls and go to clubs all the time – and the best hip hop and R&B artists are those who understand it’s all kind of a game (Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” is a prime example of this a song so gloriously over-the-top and unapologetically self-centered that it soared to the top ten and stayed there for months), and spend their times making cool beats and clever rhymes and rhythms.

With “Take A Bow”, Rihanna has made a major fumble. It also sounds too similar to Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable from a couple of years ago. (Whose clever lyrics, catchy tune, and can’t-get-it-out-of-your-head one-liner “To the left.” Beyonce has “to the left.” JT has “Sexy Back.” Kanye has “Stronger.” Akon had “Smack that” for awhile. It’s all part of a culture that’s fascinating to me, and Rihanna seems completely clueless to this culture with her dopey high school “love” ballad.

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted, but I’m planning on posting more soon. I’m in the process of getting a new computer, and The Office and Heroes Season Premieres were on this past week – so I’m planning on writing reviews that cover those. Until then, take a bow, my readers, and get your sexy on.

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