Welcome to the 22nd installment of an internet legend.
This week’s song is “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon. Watch the original here:
This is a pretty good pop song. I think it won a Grammy a couple years ago, which is interesting, because so did “Beautiful Day” by U2, which has many rhythmic and structural and tonal similarities to “Use Somebody,” so what I’m saying is, if you’re really dead-set on winning a Grammy, you should write a song in this style (and if you win you have to thank MNFTIU in your acceptance speech), but the cool thing is, we don’t really care about winning Grammys, we care about watching Friday Face-Offs, so let’s get down to it, because this is gonna be one of the all-time hottest Friday Face-Offs!
Friday Face-Offs!Faces fallin’ off every which way.
PS: I need to warn you guys—this song will be stuck in your head like a muhr-fuhr-kuhr by the end of the day.
This is how you start a hot Friday Face-Offs. First ten seconds of this video? So exciting. Whetting your appetite. Getting you pumped. Getting you ready. Eric Stanley is about to rip it up.
Eyeglasses? ENGAGED. Violin? ACTIVATED. Viewers? READY TO ROCK.
My favorite moment is 0:15, where he’s trying not to betray how much he loves “Use Somebody” and how psyched he is to lay down some fat vio-riffage over the track. Look at him trying not to smile! Love it!
These guys are trouble, right? They must be. You don’t play the claves like that unless you’re the biggest bad-ass in town, and also? Mark Ruffalo is totally holding it down on guitar.
I like to imagine they were watching their soccer match and all of a sudden one of them was like, “Hey let’s record a version of ‘Use Somebody’ real quick! Everyone pick an instrument they barely know how to play and let’s just rip this and get famous. And by the way leather jackets are MANDATORY.”
I love the final soul-moan at the end (1:47), where he sounds like a Luther Vandross balloon that’s being deflated.
By the way: if you’re having trouble following the lyrics, somebody was kind enough to transcribe them in the comments section to this video:
I was rapping the black in the other down before my beat,
And the place to place do you want to ??? (”rob”? –ed.) the one I see,
You know you last to please my body
You know you was to please somebody
Someone like you ( x 2)
I was black in the ??? (”broom”? –ed.) bless in now the door the moon I stay,
In the lost today you want the break you want my stay,
I know you last to please my body
I know you last to breast my body
The breast like you, someone like you.
Why is this so funny to me? Reading transcripts of half-remembered lyrics sung in strange accents always makes me giggle. Am I a child, or a man? Only the Kings of Leon know …
(I think that’s the first time I’ve ever done the “ALL CAPS-PERIOD-ALL CAPS-PERIOD” internet-writing technique.)
Anyway, yeah: I. LOVE. THIS.
Just listen to it two or three times and then get back to me and we’ll discuss it …
1. When did I know this was the jump-off? At precisely (0:29), when he says “Listen–” That’s when I rang the “this-guy-knows-what-he’s-doing” alarm. No looking back.
2. How about two seconds later (0:31) when the beatbox kicks in, with the fist pumping? That works for me.
3. When it gets to (0:45), I need you to focus on the hand motions he’s making in the rightmost square/quadrant/sector. That’s how you make hand motions while you’re singing.
4. Also, is it just me, or did he freakin’ double the lead vocal? That’s really bad-ass. It sounds thick like he doubled it, but there’s only one video of him singing the lead, so if he did double it, he’s being sly about it, which I love.
5. Mainly, this guy can just sing. It’s nice.
6. Overall, it’s not a bad way to show off your hat collection.
Are you kidding me? Look at what happens at (0:03), I mean come on—does she find her groove very hard right then?
Putting aside the off-the-charts-breaking-the-needle adorableness factor, one of the reasons I love this woman and want her to join my traveling band of Friday Face-Offs champions is because she completely ignores the bridge and doesn’t sing along—because, let’s be honest, this song has no kind of bridge. (Remember earlier when I was comparing “Use Somebody” to “Beautiful Day?” The biggest difference between them is that U2 actually wrote a pretty hot bridge, whereas Kings of Leon probably woke up from some kind of sex-and-drugs binge and was like, “Oh yeah, we need a bridge, record label says we gotta have a bridge, okay let’s spend all of nine seconds writing a bridge.”)
By the way, the comments to this video are GREAT. Because everyone hates her and is rooting against her, LOL—yeah, people are really hating on her:
“Man oh man”. I love your voice! Whachuknow about Kings of Leon???
Speaking of that comment, I gotta say: Yeah, why are black people so into this song? I was not expecting to find so many black folks representing this song. I guess it’s because the lead vocal lends itself to melisma and “black singing?” Much more so then the lead vocal to, say, “You Belong With Me.” Anyway, people are killing this vocal left and right on youtube, and this is a hot fuckin’ Friday Face-Offs and you love it and I love it.
This video compliments the Jandek, Jr. video from a couple weeks ago. Beautiful composition as only accidental web-cam placement can provide. Look at those blues. Look at her face balanced by the mask. Just a nice, clean composition. Singing is okay, too.
I should go into Robert Christgau mode and give this an A-. You know how he gives 90% of the records he reviews an A-, until it doesn’t mean anything anymore? He’ll write some inscrutable esoteric shit where you can’t tell if he’s describing Finnegan’s Wake or the new Nickelback CD and then he’ll just give it an A-.
Here’s how Robert Christgau would describe this video:
“Contra Clapton, it’s in blue rooms where shadows run from themselves. Less “Use Somebody” than “Blues Somebody,” she knows to make allowances for tones between tones. Then again, if Miles Davis hadn’t dropped “Kind of Blue,” the Kings of Leon would be 50% less Kinks and 10% more Leon Redbone and we’d spread Aquafresh in our eyelashes. Village Blue Preservation Society, anyone? Sympatico, natch. Wooden masks rarely sing along . . . it’s a prog thing. GRADE: A-“
And you’re like, “Dude, what the hell are you talking about? It’s a goddamn 3-minute song. Should I listen to it 100 times in a row, or not?”
FRIDAY FACE-OFFS!!! You know that I could use some Fridaaayyyy!
In his video description, he apologizes for “the bussing noise,” and I’m like, “dude why are you apologizing for the most baddest-ass, accidentally in-key sound I’ve heard all week that is making this one of my hottest go-to jams that I’m gonna loop and blast in my car when I’m driving to Key Food to buy more yams???”
Things just keep getting more incredible and adorable.
This is basically St. John’s wort in video form:
Listen, I know the dirty secret of Friday Face-Offs: I know a lot of you just read my comments and don’t watch the videos. People say, “Hey that was a good Friday Face-Offs last week!” And I say, “Dude, did you love that one video when the kid hits the falsetto?” And they say, “I didn’t watch the videos, but your comments were funnny.” ARRRGGHGHH WRONG. You need to watch the goddamn videos! Set aside an hour and freakin’ do it. If you watch the Super Bowl on television, you don’t go around bragging about how you played in the Super Bowl! Same rules apply here! You haven’t experienced Friday Face-Offs until you’ve watched every goddamn video I have commanded you to watch! (Not sure if the Super Bowl analogy worked, but you get the point: True FFO-heads watch videos.)
So here’s my proposition to all FFO-posers who don’t usually watch the videos: why don’t you do me a favor and do yourself a favor and watch this video and if you’re not feeling good after thirty seconds you can stop, but if you find that it’s lifting your spirits then keep watching and just be aware of how sad you’re getting until you’re so sad you’re crying on the floor like “Waah, why are these ladies making me feel so sad, why do they have such a negative gloomy attitude,” LOL because umm yeah that’s exactly not how you will be feeling.
“Why?” The drummer, that’s why. He looks like he escaped from a Paper Rad show. The bassist’s visor doesn’t hurt, either. Check out (1:11) when the bassist checks in with the drummer, like, “You know I’m totally about to start poppin’ off, right?” and then (1:13) when he starts nodding his head soooo jammingly.
In the comments people are slamming the drummer, but I like this kind of floppy drumming style. It works for this song. Because, what? It’s like a Sunday afternoon and you’re chilling in your dorm and you want to record a version of a song you like and so why bring in a PhD in Drumming to help out? Just throw a kit together and get floppy.
FRIDAY FREAKIN’ FACE-OFFS! Winning video is next!!!
Blog reader (and birthday boy) MH made me a great sampler CD of contemporary heavy metal: Genghis Tron, Necrophagist, etc. I was relieved to hear the screaming monster vocal style is still the default mode of expression within that genre.
This kid holds his own against all those bands. He’s like “David After Dentist” meets Myotonia.
There’s a great line in Joe Meno’s novel “Hairstyles of the Damned” about a feeling I know well—loving a song so much it risks inducing violence: “What was it about that song? I loved that song so much it sometimes made me want to kick a hole in the wall.”
It’s like this kid is trying to kick his voice through a wall.
In the opening moments, I imagine him talking to his blankie: “ARGGGHH Blankie, I love this song so freakin’ much I can’t believe it!!! Kings of Leon!!!” Then at (1:24) it’s too much for him: “Get me out of this car seat and into the pit! I need to put my foot through a wall NOW.” But then he also has flashes of profound calm and contentment (1:31). I’ll bet you nine prayer-shawls this kid is a bodhisattva.