September 16th, 2011
Todd is hooking up his piano in a different location and is now shown from the other side.
Todd: Let's see...this go here? Okay. Give me a moment, guys. [He brings the chair over and sits down.] Uh...yeah. New place, everyone. Yeah, the roommate asked me to move out. [Clips from past videos] I think he got tired of watching my videos and finding out I've been using all his stuff...and his jokes. Well, I'm still getting things together obviously, but...you know what? Got a new place, got a nice, fresh start. I'm gonna do something amazing. I'm gonna review some towering, inescapable, over-saturated pop smash that I know everyone is dying for me to give the Todd In The Shadows treatment. [Pulls out paper, reads, and tosses aside] Nope, apparently I'm gonna start with some limp squib of a song by a band no one has heard of or cares about. Oh, well.
Todd plays "Tonight, Tonight" on his piano.
HOT CHELLE RAE - TONIGHT, TONIGHT
A pop song review
Todd: Now the last couple of years have been a bit of a fallow period for rock 'n roll.
- Video for Red Hot Chili Peppers - "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie"
- Anthony Kiedis: Hey now
Todd (VO): Oh sure, rock bands are still out there being famous and selling records, but they're not exactly capturing the mass consciousness anymore. Crossover hits have been rare, and the phrase "mainstream rock" has kind of become an oxymoron. [Clip of The Script - "For the First Time"] At best, the charts have squeezed in a little room into the bottom half of the Top 40 for lame light rock by The Script or OneRepublic. In 2009, [Clips of "Use Somebody" and "Gives You Hell" by, respectively...] the only real rock bands with real big crossover hits were Kings of Leon and the All-American Rejects.
- In the latter video, Nick Wheeler plays a rather slow solo.
Todd: Yeah, we call that guy "Lightning Fingers." Now 2010 was even worse, when only one rock band had the star power and the balls to break the Top 10.
- Clip of Train - "Hey, Soul Sister"
- Pat Monahan: Hey, soul sister...
Todd (VO): Yeah, obviously we're using rock in the loosest possible sense here.
Todd: But could rock bands be making a comeback? It's too early to say, but it's possible. [Clips of "Pumped Up Kicks...] New indie rockers Foster the People are doing surprisingly well, and [...and performance on The Voice by...] Maroon 5 seem to be recovering from a major career slump. But there's another rock band out there crashing the charts too—some good ol' boys out of Tennessee who are out to conquer the world with their unique blend of garage rock-influenced Southern rock awesomeness.
- Clip of "Radioactive" by...
- Caleb: And when they pledge and come together and start arising
Todd (VO): No, wait, that's Kings of Leon again. No, no, the band I'm supposed to be talking about...
Todd: ...is called Hot Chelle Rae, and they are from Tennessee; although from what I can gather, garage rock is probably not one of their influences.
- Video for "Tonight, Tonight"
- Hot Chelle Rae: La la la, whatever, la la la
Todd: Yeah...we'll get to that.
Todd (VO): Now, though Hot Chelle Rae do not make club pop, they apparently decided they didn't want to get too far from what was already popular, so their first hit "Tonight, Tonight" is a bit of a transitional song. [Clip of...] The charts are still mostly comfortable with songs like LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem," so "Tonight, Tonight"'s only major distinction from that is that it's a party anthem by an actual rock band.
Todd: It's also a reminder to me to count my blessings because things can always, always get worse.
Todd (VO): Now I didn't like "Party Rock Anthem," but "Party Rock Anthem" wasn't really guilty of anything more serious than being played out and kind of lame. When time has put some distance between "Party Rock Anthem" and the trends it's riding, it may sound a lot better honestly.
Todd: But there's something really, really, seriously wrong with "Tonight, Tonight," something far more irritating. And before we start, I should probably mention that in addition to partying and rocking, LMFAO and Hot Chelle Rae also have one other major thing in common. [Spinning in yellow letters with "We Are Family" playing] Nepotism!
- Sister Sledge: We are family
Todd (VO): Yes, sir, we have family connections to thank for these untalented wads getting a record deal. But [Record sleeve of Motown Nuggets] LMFAO can at least say their family members were responsible for good music.
Todd: Hot Chelle Rae's connections are much suckier, and pay attention because this is the first and last time anyone's gonna care enough about Hot Chelle Rae to look this up. One member of the band is the son of [clip of Phil Keaggy playing "The Reunion"] Phil Keaggy, an apparently very talented guitarist whose work I'm not familiar with because he spent most of his career in the musical wasteland known as Christian rock. [Cartoon of Jesus with thumbs up, wearing a backwards yellow baseball cap, sneakers, and leather jacket; beside Him reads: "It's cool to love Jesus." "Dramatic Impact 6" is playing in the background] The other three are the sons of country musicians—one being the son of...
Todd (VO): [picture of...] songwriter and occasional singer Paul Overstreet, and the other two are the sons of [picture of...] songwriter Keith Follese. [Clip of Paul playing "Forever and Ever, Amen"] Now I guess Overstreet has written a couple songs I like, but mostly these guys' accomplishments are based around [Clip of Faith Hill - "The Way You Love Me"] manufacturing terrible product for the Nashville blandness factories.
- Faith Hill: Nowhere else I'd rather be.
Todd (VO): Eegh, excuse me while I go strangle myself with my own hands.
Todd: So what kind of music do the spoiled, punk-ass kids of the world's most boring musicians make? Well, let's take a listen.
- Ryan Follese: It's been a really really messed up week
- Seven days of torture, seven days of bitter
- And my girlfriend went and cheated on me
- She's a California dime but it's time for me to quit her
- Hot Chelle Rae: La la la, whatever, la la la
Todd (VO): Well, he's sure taking that well. Weirdly well.
Todd: Kinda confusingly well. Was "la la la, whatever" really an appropriate response to that?
Todd (VO): Like, am I the only one who thinks it's weird that he's that chill about it? Did he have, like, [clip from...] some kind of Office Space-style hypnotherapy accident?
Todd: What's with this guy? [Todd opens front door] Gosh, what a beautiful day. Oh, let's see what's in the news. [Picks up paper and reads] "War was declared. Millions of people dead. Zombie apocalypse sweeps the western hemisphere and the end is nigh." Oh well. [Sings along as he walks out] La la la
- Hot Chelle Rae: La la la, it doesn't matter.
Todd (VO): God, at this point, I already hate this song. You know, there are some singers out there who can take nonsense syllables like "la la la" and imbue them with depth and meaning.
- Performance of The Delfonics - "La-La (Means I Love You)"
- Delfonics: La la la la la la la la la means I love you
Todd (VO): And then there are people who take what are already meaningless syllables and make them sound so dopey, they actually have negative meaning. [Definition of "relegate" fades away into ???] They suck the meaning out of the words around them.
- Hot Chelle Rae: We're going at it tonight tonight
- There's a party on the rooftop top of the world
- Tonight tonight and we're dancing on the edge of the Hollywood sign
Todd (VO): There's something about the tone of this song that just pisses me off.
Todd: Okay, I usually don't quote other critics, but I do read other people just to...get the general feel of what's out there; and in doing so, [pulls out paper] I came across one blog writer, Al Shipley, who said that "Tonight, Tonight" sounded, quote, [clip from commercials for...] "like the guy from the Arby’s ads teamed up with the FreeCreditReport.com band and released a 3-minute song."
Todd crumples up the paper and tosses it
Well, review over. I'm not gonna beat that. No, that guy nailed it.
Todd (VO): Before I read that, I was struggling to find some kind of comparison point for this song. The best I could get, that it was like some kind of curdled mixture of [clips of...] "All-Star," "Life is a Highway," and "MMMBop." But comparing "Tonight, Tonight" to any one of those songs...
Todd: ...would be giving it way too much credit, both in terms of creativity and artistic integrity. No, it sounds like...
Todd (VO): ...a commercial jingle—polished and slick while bringing nothing original, interesting, memorable, or anything of artistic value. Believe me, I truly hate it when I can't tell the difference between a song and a commercial.
Todd: Like, I remember this one time a few years ago when they were advertising this new MP3 player on TV with a song playing that I was sure was a jingle for the ad 'cause there was no way a song that stupid could've been the real thing.
- Commercial for iPod which is playing "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" by Jet
- Nic Chester: So 1, 2, 3, take my hand and come with me because you look so fine, that I really wanna make you mine.
Todd (VO): "Look so fine, that I really wanna make you mine." To this day, I still can't believe that's a real song. I get the exact same feeling from this song. The fact that they named it "Tonight, Tonight" is already beyond lazy. [Clip from Smashing Pumpkins - "Tonight, Tonight"] Partly because there's already a really good song with that name...
Todd: ...and also because naming a party song "Tonight, Tonight" is like having a love song called "Love You, Love You, Baby Love Love."
Todd (VO): Just about anybody can bang out a generic party song by repeating the words "tonight," [clip from Black Box - "Everybody Everybody"] "everybody," [clip from Rebecca Black - "Friday"] "fun"...
Todd: ...or, worst case scenario...
- Clip of...
Todd (VO): "Everybody have fun tonight."
- Wang Chung: Everybody have fun tonight.
Todd (VO): That song's okay.
- Ryan: I woke up with a strange tattoo
- Not sure how I got it, not a dollar in my pocket
- And it kinda looks just like you
- Mixed with Zach Galifianakis
Todd: What...what was that verse intended to convey?
Todd (VO): That's just going way over my head. Is it a joke? What's the punchline, that he's a colossal fuck-up? Was that supposed to be a slam against his cheating girlfriend? That he got a tattoo of her, except it's a bearded fat guy who looks nothing like her?
Todd (VO): Like, what the hell was the point of that verse? Didn't even rhyme.
Todd: Oh, and you woke up with a tattoo of unknown origin? Gosh, never heard that one before.
- Performance of "Margaritaville"
- Jimmy Buffett: With nothing to show but a brand new tattoo
Todd: Oh, right, except for that one Jimmy Buffett song.
Todd (VO): Which brings me to my next point. Don't rip off Jimmy Buffett. That's what we have [picture of...] Kenny Chesney for.
Todd: Not to mention the whole point of "Margaritaville" is that if you're getting so bombed every day that you're blacking out and getting tattoos and not remembering it, it's not fun or funny or a good time anymore, it's a serious problem, hence "wasting away."
- Jimmy: Wasting away...
Todd (VO): So not only did you rip off "Margaritaville," you also completely missed the point of "Margaritaville." Although, to be fair, so do most Jimmy Buffett fans.
Todd: And you know, there's some party music out there that turns me off because it's too sleazy and gross, [clip of Ke$ha - "Take It Off"] like pretty much all of Ke$ha's work, but "Tonight, Tonight" goes wrong in the opposite direction.
- Ryan: It's my party dance if I want to
- We can get crazy let it all out
Todd: [unenthusiastic] Ooh, yeah, crazy. Does this sound like a party any of you would wanna go to?
Todd (VO): See, this isn't the fun kind of party. It's not the kind of party where you get laid or meet people. This is the party thrown by your school's PTA.
Todd: This is the party that they throw after graduation because they're worried that you're gonna drive drunk and get pregnant, so they throw an all-night sleepover party for you to go to instead at the rec center. [Pictures of kids playing] Where you can play pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey, bob for apples in non-alcoholic punch. And no one you'd actually wanna talk to is there; and this girl you wanted to ask to prom but never had the nerve, said she was gonna go to that party, so that's the only reason you went in the first place, but then she went to a different party thrown by some jerk on the basketball team, like he's so cool, even though the basketball team sucked the entire year and they only won, like, two games that season, then she Facebooked about how awesome the party was and you wish you could've gone, but God knows you'd never have been invited in the first place. It probably would've sucked anyway because she was gonna be all over Basketball Jerk the entire time. But it still would've sucked less than staying all night in the goddamn gym in your sleeping bag and your goddamn pajamas until Mom came to pick you up! You know, that kind of party. I think we've all been there.
Todd (VO): [clip of "Take It Off"] So yeah, to sum up—too much party, not far...
- Clip from video for Montell Jordan..."
- Montell Jordan: This is how we do it
Todd (VO): Mmm, just right.
- Hot Chelle Rae: all you party people
- Woah, all you singletons, ohh (even the white kids)
Todd (VO): "Even the white kids"? "Even the white kids"?! Oh, screw you, you goddamn little twits!
Todd: Get it? Cause they're white. [fake laugh] Whiter than the Osmonds in a snowstorm. You get it? [fake laugh] So clever, you goddamn insufferable little asswipes!
- Ryan: Even the white kids
Todd (VO): And that was the point where I officially decided that Hot Chelle Rae were not just born-again bland, but actively contemptible. Worse even than [clip of...] "Friday," one of the most famously bad party songs ever written.
Todd: Yeah, I said it and I'm sticking by it. Like, how do I put this? All right. I've watched all three...
- Clip from the first one
Todd: ...High School Musicals. Don't ask me why, I just did. Now I don't think I'm gonna break anyone's heart here when I tell you that I think they're all awful. Badly made, badly written, badly acted Disney garbage. But at the end of the day, you can't get too mad at High School Musical—it's too stupid to know any better. But...
Todd (VO): ...what if you took High School Musical and kept it just as bland and lame, but added a nice heavy dose of smug, arrogant self-awareness?
Todd: Well then you'd have something like [clip from...] Glee, one of the most rancidly unwatchable shows I've ever had to suffer through.
Todd (VO): This song makes me feel exactly like that. Not only is this song horrible, it knows it and it wants you to know that it knows it. Eat my ass.
Todd: Bottom line, this is a flaccid, creatively bankrupt turd intended for the kind of people threatened by the raw, dangerous sexuality of the Jonas Brothers. Now I know I've covered what I thought were surefire one-hit wonders on the show, like [clips of...] Mike Posner or the Far*East Movement, only to watch them pull a second song out of nowhere. But please, please, God, do not let this band have another hit. I'm begging you, America—put them in the same trash can where we dumped [covers of...] The Click Five and whoever did "Story of a Girl" [Nine Days].
- Ryan: Tonight, tonight...
Todd: Tonight, tonight, yes. [Gets up and leaves]
Closing tag song: Genesis - "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight"
"Tonight, Tonight" is owned by Jive
This video is owned by me