Moves Like Jagger
October 22nd, 2011
Todd plays "Moves Like Jagger" on his piano.
MAROON 5 ft. CHRISTINA AGUILERA - "MOVES LIKE JAGGER"
A pop song review
Todd: You know, there's one statement I've found only gets more true over time. It's that it is really, really hard out there in the world for white males.
- Clip for Jesse McCartney - "Shake"
Todd (VO): It's certainly hard out there on the pop charts, where we haven't had a big-name white male pop singer in a long time. [clips of "Rock Your Body" by...] The last real one out there was Justin Timberlake, but he quit his day job several years ago to pursue his dream [...and "Dick in a Box"] of making funny videos on the Internet.
Todd: Pff, what an idiot.
- "Rock Your Body"
Todd (VO): And since then, there hasn't really been a white male pop star to replace him. I mean, [clip of "Not Afraid" by...] I guess there's Eminem, if you really wanna stretch the definition of "pop singer." [cut to...] And there's Justin Bieber, of course, but he gets so very little airplay, he's more like a really well-known niche performer. [cut to...] And Mike Posner.
- Clip of "Bow Chicka Wow Wow"
- Mike Posner: Once I throw on this bow chicka wow wow
- What you gonna say
Todd (VO): Yeah, I think we're all about done with that.
Todd: So, there was a major vacancy that needed to be filled in the pop world. And out of nowhere, we apparently all decided that the person to fill that void was a preening peacock by the name of Adam Levine.
- Clip of Maroon 5 - "This Love"
- Maroon 5: This love has...
Todd (VO): Adam Levine, in case you don't know, is the lead singer and guitarist of [cover of album entitled It Won't Be Soon Before Long] Maroon 5, a band that...
Todd: Well, I'll be honest, I've never felt were really any good.
- Clip of "Misery"
Todd (VO): Like, I don't understand what their appeal is. Their music is too sour and harsh to be catchy, but too polished and weak to rock, you know?
Todd: Actually, no, that's not fair. I think some of their songs are okay. But there's definitely a "Maroon 5 sound" and they sound best when they get as far from that as possible. And they are capable of making good music, I'll admit that. But more often, they're just... really bad.
- Clip of "Wake Up Call"
- Maroon 5: Wake up call
- Caught you in the morning with another one in my bed
Todd (VO): Seriously, why would anyone want to listen to this?
Todd: Now allegedly, their sound is based on funk rock but... their idea of "funk" is stiffer and whiter than [image of...] a dead harp seal.
- Clip of "Won't Go Home Without You"
- Adam: It's not over tonight
Todd (VO): Not helping either is the fact that I've always been kind of put off by Adam Levine's weird, not quite human voice.
- Adam: I won't go home without you
Todd (VO): Seriously, he's like a clarinet that somehow learned to talk.
Todd: No wonder their first single was called [clip of...] "Harder to Breathe," he sounds like he's running out of air.
- Clip of "Give a Little More"
Todd (VO): Like I've said, they're not always terrible, but for the most part, Maroon 5 writes a lot of catty, douchey songs, and Adam Levine really just seems way too impressed with himself, so I was not too broken up when that last Maroon 5 album didn't do so well, probably because it didn't mention clubs enough, and that was all we were listening to last year.
Todd: But Levine apparently didn't like the idea of him fading into obscurity as much as I did, so he started working overtime to keep up with the publicity. [clip from The Voice] Became the celebrity judge on some American Idol ripoff called The Voice, [clip from interview] started hitting all the talk shows, [clip from Gym Class Heroes - "Stereo Hearts"] did guest verses on hip hop songs... [video for "Moves Like Jagger"] and most importantly, his band recorded a dance jam called "Moves Like Jagger."
- Adam: And it goes like this
Todd: Let's let the man explain it.
- Interview with Maroon 5 on Billboard's website plays over video
- Adam: I don't know if we expected "Jagger" to be so successful. It was one of those songs that was definitely a risk; it's a bold statement. So... it's different for us, 'cause we've never really released a song like that. But it's exciting to do something different, do something new.
Todd: Uh... bullshit.
- Clip of "Makes Me Wonder"
Todd (VO): Like, you mean these guys? Maroon 5?
- Adam: The way it felt between your thighs
- The pleasure that made you cry
Todd (VO): Their new bold statement [Back to "Moves Like Jagger"] is a disco-y rock tune about sex?
- Adam: My ego is big, I don't give a shit
Todd: Whoa-ho, guy, slow down! You're moving so fast in this radical shift in direction I'm getting whiplash over here!
Todd (VO): Well, that's what I thought at first, at least. But after repeated listens... I do get the sense that this is a change in direction for Maroon 5.
Todd: But I don't mean that in any of the good ways. Now, I'm calling Adam Levine a new pop star because, although Maroon 5 have always insisted they're a legit rock band, they've never seemed more like a pre-packaged studio creation than here. Musically, there's not a big difference in their sound. But what I hear in "Moves Like Jagger" is the same thing I've heard in [clips of...] "Girlfriend" by Avril Lavigne or Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You." It's the sound of an act who pretended, at least, to have some measure of originality...
Todd (VO): ...now completely giving in and making trend-riding, pre-packaged retreads of better work. And yes, I know the acts I listed were not exactly bastions of artistic integrity or anything, but there's still a noticeable loss of personality and inspiration here.
Todd: Now, that doesn't make "Moves Like Jagger" bad exactly. In fact, I dare to say I enjoy it more than most Maroon 5 songs. But there's still something important missing. [Clip of...] What "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing" meant for Aerosmith, "Moves Like Jagger" represents for Maroon 5. So yeah, basically I'm calling it a sell-out move, which I realize is a very serious charge to make. But I think I can back that up with evidence. Starting, of course, with the stupid, stupid, stupid title.
- Adam: Kiss me 'til you're drunk and I'll show you
- All the moves like Jagger
- I've got the moves like Jagger
Todd: Moves like J... like what, snorting cocaine?
Todd (VO): *sighs* Yes, ladies and gentlemen. You are looking at the first time in history that anyone has tried to pick up a girl by saying they can dance like Mick Jagger.
- Adam: I've got the moooooves like Jagger
Todd: I mean, moves like [clips of...] Michael, or moves like James Brown, moves likes... Jagger?
- The Rolling Stones - "Emotional Rescue", Mick Jagger pushing his hands forward and backward
Todd: [hands up in the air] Really? [Live performance of "Shattered", Mick moving his hips while pumping up and down his arms] Congratulations, you can do such classic, amazing dance moves as the ["Dancing in the Street" with David Bowie] "geriatric shoulder shimmy," ["Start Me Up"] the "duck faced chicken flap," and of course the [extends his arms pointing, does a British accent] "I'm pointing my fingers at yo-hou!"
Todd (VO): I mean, the video tries to make dancing like Mick Jagger look like something cool, but... all it proves is how much it looks ridiculous on anyone who is not Mick Jagger! [Clip of Rolling Stones - "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll"] Jagger doesn't even pull it off all of the time! It's a total failure as a come-on because no one wins girls over by dancing like Mick Jagger, and certainly not by bragging about dancing like Mick Jagger! I mean, I guess it's better than [Clip of video for Radiohead - "Lotus Flower"] "moves like Thom Yorke" or, well, [Todd "crankin' that" in the Channel Awesome Dance Spectacular 3] "moves like Soulja Boy"... *coughs*
Todd: But still, really?
Todd (VO): It only gets more ridiculous the more you think about it.
- Adam: Look into my eyes and I'll own you
Todd: I'll own you...with my moves like Jagger. [Moves and sings while "Brown Sugar" plays] "Brown sugar... (points finger) how come you taste so good?"
Todd (VO): Maroon 5 obviously only wrote that line because [clip of Ke$ha - "Tik Tok"] Mick Jagger is really popular nowadays...
- Ke$ha: Unless they look like Mick Jagger!
Todd: ...which itself is weird. Usually when a musical icon becomes hip again, it's [clips of Santana ft. Rob Thomas - "Smooth"...] because they have a comeback single. [...Bob Dylan's Grammy performance in 1998...] Or a really good album. [...Frank Sinatra and Bono - "I've Got You Under My Skin"...] Or a duet with a younger artist. [...the film Ray...] Or have a movie made about them. [...and Johnny Cash - "Hurt"] Or they die. Mick Jagger, meanwhile, got popular again because his name rhymes with "swagger".
- Clips of The Black Eyed Peas - "The Time (Dirty Bit)"...
- Apl.de.ap: All-all these girls, they like my swagger
- They calling me Mick Jagger
- ...and Cher Lloyd - "Swagger Jagger"
- Cher Lloyd: Swagger jagger, swagger jagger!
Todd (VO): Yeah, that's all it took. I'm guessing [Clip of Creedence Clearwater Revival] we can probably get John Fogerty popular again if "schmogerty" ever becomes a trendy buzzword. Internet, get on that! So, I guess "Moves Like Jagger" is innovative in that somehow it doesn't rhyme swagger with Jagger, but there's no indication that Levine was trying to do anything but cash on a trend when he wrote this.
Todd: I honestly expected the song to do a whole lot more with the whole Rolling Stones thing, but... *sighs* as a wise man once said, "you can't always get what you want."
Todd (VO): So, instead the rest of the lyrics are just Levine hitting on you in ways that can only be impressive to himself.
- Adam: And make it okay, I swear I'll behave
- Clip from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
- Austin Powers: I won't bite... hard.
- Adam: And it goes like this
- Take me by the tongue and I'll know you
Todd: "Take me by the tongue"?
- Clip from Celebrity Deathmatch, Bono grabs Chris Martin's tongue, spins and throws him across the ring
Todd: That, that's your pick-up line? Take me by the... [Clip of A Christmas Story, Flick screams with his tongue stuck on a pole] No, no.
Todd (VO): And the lyrics are just clunky and obvious.
- Adam: I put on a show, now we're naked
Todd: Now we're naked! How did that happen? So.. wanna see my Mick Jagger moves? [points finger and dances singing to...] "Jumping Jack Flash, it's a gas!"
Todd (VO): Yeah, sorry, it's just my mind always pulls back to Mick Jagger, because it's the only thing of interest lyrically in this song. In fact, one of the most grating things about the song is how little it has to do with the Rolling Stones outside of the title. It sure as hell doesn't sound like the Rolling Stones, and there's no real indication in the lyrics that Levine knows the slightest thing about Mick Jagger other than he's presumably a cool guy you'd wanna compare yourself to.
Todd: What's worse, and there's no other way to say it, Adam Levine does not have the moves like Mick Jagger!
- Live performance of "Moves Like Jagger" on The Voice
Todd (VO): Moves like Tom Jones, maybe. Jagger, no. And it's not just the dancing, it's the attitude. [Clip of The Stones playing live] The Rolling Stones were loose and mean and dirty, and they sang about things like Satan and slave rape. If they named the song "Moves Like Elvis," it still would've been wrong, but at least it would have been the right ballpark!
Todd: You know what? They just didn't care. It was like "what's popular right now?"
- apl.de.ap: Mick Jagger!
Todd: Mick Jagger! Let's write a song about Mick Jagger! And ["The Lazy Song" clip] whistling is popular too! ["Pumped Up Kicks"] Everyone's whistling, so [back to "Moves Like Jagger"] let's add some whistles in there! It sounds like studio executives wrote it. Oh, right. And before I forget, there's also one other big reason for that.
- Christina Aguilera: You wanna know how to make me smile
- Take control, own me just for the night
Todd: Oh. [Clip for The Voice] Christina Aguilera was on The Voice with Maroon 5, and now she's on a song by Maroon 5. What a weird coincidence!
- Christina: And if I share my secret
- You're gonna have to keep it
Todd (VO): If "Moves Like Jagger" looks like a nervous, awkward move for Maroon 5, it reeks of utter desperation for Christina Aguilera. I wish I had more time to dedicate to Christina's descent into complete irrelevance, especially [Clip of "Not Myself Tonight"] that colossal failure of her last album and its terrible debut single and its godawful video. I mean, there's a huge difference between Lady Gaga making weird provocative videos because she has a lot of ideas she thinks are cool and wants to share, and Christina ham-fistedly trying to be shocking in the laziest way possible.
Todd: It's just, as an artist, she's always seemed just confused about what she tries to accomplish, and...
Todd (VO): ...that's especially obvious on her horribly gratuitous guest verse. It just shows how little Aguilera has grown as an artist too.
- Christina: Nobody else can see this, ay, ay, ay!
Todd (VO): It's just the same damn thing she always sings! [Brief clip of "Lady Marmalade"] I didn't watch The Voice, but I can't imagine Aguilera's advice was any good.
Todd: "I thought it was pitchy, and also, you need to belt out 'HEY! HEY! HEY!' at the end of every line."
- Adam: Take me by the tongue and I'll know you
- Chirstina: Take me by the tongue
- Adam: Kiss me 'til you're drunk and I'll show you
Todd: OK, just for comparison's sake, let me play you a song from the 80s.
- Clip of Aretha Franklin and George Michael - "I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)"
Todd (VO): In 1987, Aretha Franklin recorded a love song with George Michael. That actually happened. Now keep in mind that this is a not-very-good duet between a 45-year old black woman and a young gay man, and somehow the two of them...
Todd: ...still have more chemistry than Levine and Aguilera have on this track!
Todd (VO): I mean, hell, it's hard to confirm even in the video that they were ever even in the same room at the same time. I mean, I think...was that her? No, I thought I saw her... no, there's... gee, I don't know. Was that really her or a stand-in?
Todd: Much like the Mick Jagger references, Christina's presence here is utterly pointless. It adds nothing, they have no interplay, they don't sound like they're even in the same state, let alone about to get it on! By the way, what exactly is this "secret" they keep singing about?
- Chirstina: And if I share my secret
- You're gonna have to keep it
Todd (VO): Like, [Levine naked with Anne Vyalistsyna on the cover of Vogue Russia, Aguilera naked on the cover of Rolling Stone] neither are known for being modest, so what is it? Do they have really embarrassing fetishes or what?
Todd: *sighs* You know, I do have a soft spot for rock music with a good dance beat, which means I can't hate on this too much. Hell, I probably like it more than ["Emotional Rescue"] any of the Rolling Stones' disco tracks. But ultimately, this song it's not... schmogerty enough for my taste. It's just kind of disheartening to see Maroon 5, who were always too glossy for their own good to begin with, releasing a single that's about as superficial and pointless as "Party Rock Anthem."
Todd (VO): It just gets annoying really quickly. I don't hear a song in this song. All I hear is this:
- Ad for The Voice
- Announcer: The Voice starts April 26, on NBC.
Todd: And worst of all, "Moves Like Jagger" furthers the trend of people thinking that they can have Mick Jagger's charisma just by saying they do.
Todd (VO): Dude, you're not Mick Jagger. You're never ever gonna be Mick Jagger.
Todd: Seriously, Levine, get off of his cloud.
Closing tag song: The Rolling Stones - "19th Nervous Breakdown"
"Moves Like Jagger" is owned by A&M Records
This video is owned by me