Thursday, November 19th, 2015

Liz – When I Rule the World

Want strong opinions on PC Music? We’ve GOT strong opinions on PC Music…


Iain Mew: The high-pitched synths stretched taut quickly identify it as a Sophie production, and it’s a pretty standard one. Liz and the playful toughness of her performance is enough to make it amount to a little more, but there’s only so far she can take it. The bizarre enjoyability of the song he produced for Namie Amuro and Hatsune Miku earlier this year may be a one off.

Alfred Soto: Oh, great: another rote take on empowerment produced by a man who thinks gunshots and bubbles are good sampled effects in 2015. By comparison Meghan Trainor sounds like Laurie Anderson.

Katherine St Asaph: Sophie, the rampaging singularity of bad and stale ideas, and Liz, pliant delivery system for every trendy aesthetic but her own, reimagine Rugrats‘ Angelica as Death Team and petplay, an elevator pitch plummeting straight into hell.

Edward Okulicz: “When I Rule the World” has all the hallmarks of being made cognizant of what makes pop music tick, but is exaggerated not so much to the point of parody to make a point about the fine line between catchy and annoying, but parody to assert superiority. Like, say, Lily Allen, Sophie wants to eat his cake and have it too by getting the benefits of something déclassé (pop music) while archly attempting distancing itself in a supercilious fashion. Fortunately, nobody outside the Internet gives two fucks about any of this posturing or nonsense, and the kids of the world will continue listening to shiny, annoying pop music, happily unaware of mouth-breathers who incorrectly believe they should do otherwise.

Thomas Inskeep: Insufferably stupid dance-pop that sounds as if it was made by a couple of 8-year-olds with access to ProTools and lots of cash. The lyrics are moronic, the singing is worse (think of Britney at her most cutesy-poo), and PC Music must be destroyed. 

Will Adams: PC Music has been on my shit list ever since I encountered the still-abhorrent “Hey QT.” This year alone, they’ve continued to inflict terror on my ears: first, Sophie and A.G. Cook ruin one of my favorite Yelle songs; then, I overhear this abomination while attending Pitchfork Festival; later, I find out that PC Music aren’t finished destroying Charli XCX. And now there’s this Liz song, produced by Sophie, sonically related to “Hey QT,” and with an over-saturated, confused video (so it’s nostalgia-inspired but there’s an emoji in it? …gotcha). And yet… I don’t hate it. My problem with PC Music is not just that it attempts to ridicule pop music while benefitting from its use, but that it’s poorly executed and cheap pop that doesn’t even exist in early demo versions. “When I Rule the World” sidesteps that and teeters on the precipice of being a classic. I credit Liz with this development; with a rap that out-brats Gwen Stefani and a chorus that resembles a Carly Rae Jepsen deep cut, she clamps down on Sophie’s contempt for pop with gusto. There’s still the poor mixing and stale synths to contend with, but in a rare case I’m willing to un-cross my arms and allow this HFCS injection.

Reader average: [6.85] (14 votes)

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17 Responses to “Liz – When I Rule the World”

  1. Both thoughts of PC Music as being “The most #forwardthinking music everrrr!!!!!1!1” and “PC MUSIC IS TRASH AND ANNOYING AND STUPID!!!!!1!1!1!111” are pointless and probably should be destroyed too. The thing is that, as of lately, the second one has been the most annoying.

  2. Co-sign that. I don’t think there’s anything worse than waking up on twitter in the middle of the night to people screeching “HAHAHA, THIS IS DUMB, I DON’T GET IT!?!?!?!?” only to see those same people proceeding with handwringing rambles about it later to avoid getting left out of the conversation (which obv. isn’t anyone here.)

  3. Yeah I feel like we did a pretty good job of explaining why PC Music is trash and annoying

  4. you say nostalgia has taken over everything, but I searched for like 30 minutes for the Rugrats episode I was thinking of (it’s the one where Angelica is on top of a throne of toys and won’t give anyone food and everything is oh-so-dystopian) and the Internet gave me NO HELP.

  5. “Yeah I feel like we did a pretty good job” ahahahahahaha

  6. I mean hey don’t forget to actually talk about the song next time

  7. …people did?

  8. there’s this weird phenomenon where people see numbers that don’t match the numbers they want to see, and are suddenly unable to read the attached text as anything but PURE HATE, no matter how many words there are addressing the music


  10. Will’s blurb hits it for me on PC Music in general, like i get you’re trying to parody pop, but why are you parodying this strawman version of pop instead of something more specific? it’s like the musical version of thinkpieces on how the ~internet is changing us~

  11. The thing is that -most- of what the criticism is focused on (the weak, almost demo-like production, the futuristic #aesthetic, the whole “is this ironic or not” thing) it’s part of why most people like this – part of why I like this too. That doesn’t mean there isn’t better mainstream Pop music released recently – with better production, better songwriting (not to mention the fact that 95% of the PC Music fans I’ve encountered are also big mainstream Pop music fans).

    Most people who like this probably know it’s gimmicky, but it’s like a midpoint between weird, “”””experimental”””” electronic music and accessible, sugar-y euro-dance-pop – they’re not looking for the same things they’re looking for in most Pop music, because it’s kinda unfair to do that. And while I really like this song, I just wish they would leave this post-“Hey QT” thing behind, and made smaller, weirder little tracks like “Keri Baby”, “Pink and Blue”, or “Don’t Wanna/Let’s Do It” tbh.

    -btw, I don’t know if most of this made sense, english is not my first language- :)

  12. so like, a lot of PC music stuff is kinda shit, but I don’t get this received wisdom everyone seems to have that the pc music dudes think they’re better and smarter than pop music, are “archly attempting distancing themselves in a supercilious fashion”, and think “the kids should stop listening to pop”

    i would be literally flabbergasted if these dudes weren’t huge fucking kpop and 90s trance fans. i mean, that’s the kind of music they make, of course they like it. yeah, they make fucking weird ass versions of it, but why does that have to be this horrible pretentious looking-down-on thing? can’t people just make weird shit without you feeling judged by it?

  13. ^first of all, your english is great, so no need to worry about that.

    I’m not a writer for this site (Reader’s Weeks not withstanding), just a lowly commenter, but the PC Music reactions here fascinate me as well. It seems less that the critics who blurb don’t know the songs are gimmicky and more that the critics have gotten sick of that gimmick.

    idk though because I was never a huge PC Music fan in the first place.

  14. I’m well aware of the gimmick — I’ve just always felt that its deployment results in unlistenable shit (“Hey QT,” Hannah Diamond’s “Attachment,” any of the other songs I linked in my blurb) and therefore, for me, has about as much use as some college kid’s five page essay about what pop music sounds like.

    This song was a pleasant exception because it achieves that midpoint that iamvulnicura mentioned; from the songwriting to Liz’s multi-tracked vocalizing to the lyrics, it comes off like an actual song and not “LOL hypothetical pop song campaign around an energy drink LOL”.

    It’s also important to note that we only had six writers here, so I wouldn’t attach the consensus here to the whole site. “Hey QT” was one of our most controversial songs ever.

  15. I’ve been assuming that the end-game was to do some weird experimental pop, translate whatever works into proper songs, and move away from the purely aesthetic attempts (Life Sim, Kane West).

    I’d be super interested if they could marshal the hooks and energy of “Keri Baby” or Secret Mix into a full-length release. I figured Columbia’s A&R would be ironing that out by now. But Hannah Diamond’s doubling down on the blandness, and the Danny L Harle EP is tedious.

    In total agreement with Will on “When I Rule the World”. Liz sells the hell out of it, but I don’t know why Sophie’s mixing is so much worse whenever he gets this close to proper pop (this and “Hey QT”, as opposed to “Lemonade” or “Hard”). “Vroom Vroom” is wonderful though.

  16. Eh. The new danny l harle ep was nice – mostly because of the title track, which was made in like, 2013, where PC Music wasn’t even PC Music, had a specific sound, or anything they’re known for right now.

  17. Oh, I like “Broken Flowers” enough. The rest just felt like a regression. :(