Review Summary: Sweet, a new frisbee!
Sometimes, I feel like mainstream radio is trolling me. It’s almost like they know ahead of time exactly what song is going to drive me completely insane. Every station seems to spare no efforts in ensuring that the particular song must be playing at all times whenever I am within earshot. To top it off, there is always a group of people who actively love the song and take every opportunity to belt out the chorus when they hear it in the background. This was the case with "Tonight, Tonight" by Hot Chelle Rae
, a nauseatingly catchy pop-rock single that made its way around the music world faster than Tiger Woods ruined his squeaky-clean reputation. It’s as simple and bland as a song can get, and that’s what makes it and the ridiculous amount of hype it generated so infuriating to listen to. Against my better instincts, I listened to the entirety of Whatever
to see if there was any sort of musical variety whatsoever.
One glance at the artists behind the music says a lot more than it should. Every photo of these guys consists of squinting into the camera like there’s a rep for Hollister behind the cameraman. I’m not saying that egoism in music is a bad thing. Some of the most prolific artists in history have been egomaniacs, but they’ve also possessed the talent to back it up. These idiots just come off as being overconfident, though I suppose we’ve got the tone-deaf teenagers who worship them to thank for it. That cover art is about as unoriginal as it gets. I’m no expert, but I’m fairly sure that the four panel artist profile has been done before. In fact, just about everything on Whatever
is recycled from similar pop-rock outfits that have long since lost their fifteen minutes of fame.
It’s almost impossible to remember individual tracks without looking for the titles, partly because they’re all equally terrible and partly because they blend together. I’ve never heard a band overuse the traditional pop song structure to this degree. Hear one song and you’ve pretty much heard them all. Surprisingly enough, “Tonight, Tonight” isn’t the most annoying song on the album. That dubious honour goes to “I Like It Like That”, an anthem fit for the average spoiled fourteen-year old with an iPhone. Lines like “Let’s get it on, yeah! Y’all can come along, everybody drinks on me!” must make English professors around the world shiver with pleasure. Of course, this would all be for nothing if the vocals weren't absolutely dripping with autotune. As if that wasn’t enough excitement to handle, there’s even a rap section with a Lil’ Wayne-wannabe to put things over the top. Just hand them a Grammy right now.
This album represents everything wrong with the state of mainstream music. There are so many talented artists in the world that struggle to make ends meet and gain even a shred of the fame that these guys have acquired over the past six months. Though Whatever
isn’t the worst album I’ve ever heard, it’s among the most irritating in its refusal to progress past dry song patterns. While nobody’s forcing me to listen to it, I’m just going to have to get used to the fact that this garbage will exist as long as there is a market for it. Even if Hot Chelle Rae
stopped making music forever, there would just be another clone waiting to take their place as “the next big thing”. I guess I’ll just duct tape my headphones to my ears.