Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Far East Movement ft. Cataracs & Dev – Like a G6

Making hits outta airplanes – a thing, apparently…


Michaelangelo Matos: True story: My roommate Jason came home on Saturday afternoon and asked, “Have you heard this Far East Movement song, ‘Fly Like a G6’? The words don’t make a lot of sense, but that bass is so good, who cares?” I dug around bit before realizing the song was on the Jukebox! And further realized that, in fact, I’ve heard this a bunch of times already, that old “Oh yeah, I thought this had been around for a while already” trick some songs play when you just hear them and don’t read about them first or whatever. Moral: The words don’t make a lot of sense, but that bass is so good, who cares? Especially when you do a robot dance around my living room like Jason did as I was typing this.

Al Shipley: I’m happy anytime a pop hit presents me with an opportunity to purposefully mishear a lyric as “cheese sticks”, but as far as that admittedly arbitrary standard goes Beenie Man’s “Dude” still works better.

John Seroff: It helps that “G6” has no real aspirations to anything more than dumb fun, but it’s not got enough power under the hood to do more than motivate drunks who already want to be motivated. This is rap for people who want to hear rap about people who are rapping about rap, which is to say it’s glorified production music for Viacom reality shows. Considering how many people wish their real worlds were as exciting as The Real World, I’m afraid I may have to hear this doppler booming from far too many car speakers this Fall.

Martin Skidmore: They are the producers, I believe: this is all electro beats and synthesised claps, approaching the minimal at times. There’s a female voice (Dev?) mostly repeating the hook, and some rappers, some rather good (I like the first one in particular), at least one autotuned to death. I find it sort of groovily compelling.

Katherine St Asaph: Cut Dev some slack. Yes, you can hardly call her a great singer. Yes, she’s just speaking in the vicinity of one note. But there’s a relatability, even likability to her voice, as if one of the party girls listening to this phased into the song all of a sudden. You hear it in the half-giggle on “blizzard”, the tossed-off autopilot swag of “when-we-drink-we-do-it-right-getting-slizzered” — more giggling. You really hear it in “now I’m feeling so fly”, Dev tentatively reaching out for the boast to see if it’ll carry her. She distills thousands of voices plucked from bars or clubs or apartments littered with Solo cups, and I imagine that this — not the blips, not the booze — is why it’s connecting with so many people. They recognize her. It’d be easy for the producers to have robotuned melody into her voice. Thank god they didn’t.

Chuck Eddy: Spare, funky, drunky post-Ke$ha/”Boom Boom Pow” electro-club nonsense (hasn’t the former G-6 actually been the G-8 since 1997? Though I guess it wouldn’t rhyme with 3-6 that way), with beyond-perfect Latin freestyle now-n-now-now stutters gettin’ slizzard (whatever that is), and the chorus girl more than making up for the dime-a-dozen dude pretending to rap. Much of the rest of Far East’s album is a blast too, btw — would take the tracks interpolating snippets of “Love Shack,” “So What’Cha Want,” and “Hollaback Girl” over the songs they interpolate. And my two-year-old daughter does a way-cool car-seat robot dance to the beginning of “Girls On The Dance Floor,” but be careful about playing “Go Ape” feat. Lil Jon around toddlers, who will love the delirious catchiness and jump-jump-jump-jump parts, but may well try to parrot the “s” word. Other favorites so far: “White Flag” and “She Owns the Night”.

Frank Kogan: A woman drifts through in a half-bitchy monotone, the track as corrosive and bleary-eyed as she is. At a thousand miles away, I don’t know if this single is an oddity or the tip of an iceberg: I’m hoping the latter, a massive submerged world of cut-rate Ke$has and severe, acidic beats. And I really liked typing the phrase “cut-rate Ke$has”, a compliment.

38 Responses to “Far East Movement ft. Cataracs & Dev – Like a G6”

  1. Don’t know whether to be proud, surprised, disappointed or what that nobody touches on the elephant of race; is this the first Asian pop group to crack the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100?

  2. Michaelangelo, “Like A G6” is sort of a quasi-remix of Dev’s “Booty Bounce,” or anyway lifts its sample from it, which means you may have heard this before in a different version, if you go to the sort of parties where they play these things.

    I think but don’t know for sure that Far East Movement are doing the raps as well as the production.

    This may or may not be relevant to how this sounds, but as far as I know “Like A G6” makes Far East Movement only the third Korean-Americans to go top 40 (and top 10!) on the Billboard Hot 100, Joe Hahn (of Linkin Park) and Amerie being the other two.

  3. All-Asian group, maybe. Definitely not the first Asian act (or group with Asian members).

  4. xpost! Depends what you mean by “Asians,” since I think (but don’t know for sure) that Far East Movement were born in LA and grew up Korea Town, which makes them Americans no matter what their heritage. But I know what you mean. Will have to check Wikip to find out about Asian (or Asian-American) presence on the charts, but I know there was a big Asian hit here back in the early ’60s. And I for sure will count Lata Mangeshkar’s presence on Truth Hurts’ “Addictive” as an Asian presence in the Hot 100. And Panjabi MC went Top 40 in 2003 (though he may have been born in Britain).

  5. They are the third Asian act in the top 10 this year, after the Black Eyed Peas (Apl.de.Ap) and Jay Sean, though an Afro-Filipino in a group of otherwise non-Asian members and a British Indian probably don’t read as “Asian” to most Americans as readily as a Korean-/Japanese-/Filipino-/Chinese-American group called Far East Movement does.

  6. Frank: You are thinking of Kyu Sakamoto’s “Sukiyaki”, which went to #1 in 1963 and was later covered by A Taste of Honey (whose own version was interpolated by Slick Rick for “La-Di-Da-Di”.

  7. (Covered in turn by Snoop Dogg.)

  8. OK, this is real quick, so very incomplete I’m sure, but The Plastic Ono band had a top 40 hit, and Yoko herself hit with “Walking On Thin Ice.”

    As for Americans of partial Asian descent, Vanessa Hudgens, Nicole Scherzinger, Cassie, and apl.de.ap are part Filipino, Ne-Yo is part Chinese, Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park is of Japanese descent, Eddie Van Halen is part Indonesian.

  9. Yeah, Asian-American and homogeneously Asian-American group is absolutely what I meant.
    Hadn’t thought of Jay Sean, though he’s hardly American and I consider Black Eyed Peas to be a Will I Am outfit first and foremost.
    Longer thought piece on the trend of AA lead artists in pop from the NY Times (with emphasis on Legaci) here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/arts/music/20legaci.html

  10. xp Amerie (one top ten hit) is half Korean; Kirk Hammett of Metallica (one top ten hit) is half Filipino. (Pink Lady, for what it’s worth, never charted higher than #37 in the U.S.)

  11. Last year Korean group The Wonder Girls got to 76 on the Hot 100 with “Nobody.” Attempts to market BoA (Korean) and Hikaru Utada (her pop music career has been in Japan, though she actually was born and grew up in Manhattan) got them on the Club Charts but they haven’t crossed from there (and in my opinion giving them American-sounding material was a mistake). I think attempts will be made to sell SNSD and 2NE1 here soon, but my guess is that either the BoA mistake will be repeated (giving them American or Scandinavian producers), or they’ll try their characteristic material but it’ll be too bright-sounding and poppy for the R&B crowd and too tough and strange for Disney.

  12. As far as I can tell, these are all the acts with Asian descent who have been in the top 10 since 2004 (as far back as Wikipedia has listings of all top 10 hits):

    Black Eyed Peas
    Pussycat Dolls
    Sean Paul
    Fort Minor
    Linkin Park
    Jay Sean
    Far East Movement

  13. Frank, I linked to this article in my thread http://www.allkpop.com/2010/09/upcoming-girl-group-rania-to-debut-in-both-america-and-korea

    — debuting at the same time in USA could count as trying out a different strategy, but they’re repeating the probable mistake of hiring an American go-to producer. I watched some clips today of 2NE1 in Will.i.Am’s studio, and they clearly show that he’s co-producing with their regular producer Teddy, so there’s hope they’ll retain their personality.
    I like this tune. There are few enough elements for the catchy ones to really make a mark. I find myself wanting to get slizzard.

  14. High School Musical’s “Breaking Free” got up to number 4 (vocalists were Vanessa Hudgens, Zac Efron, and Drew Seeley, who sang Zac’s high parts).

  15. I really wish Utada had broken through in the states; she had a couple of singles that really did it for me including http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvviETUQsIs and

  16. White Town AKA Jyoti Prakash Mishra pulled off a #1 UK hit with Your Woman (jukebox jacked by Wiley) but it only got as far as #23 in America.

  17. Also top ten since 2004:

    Shakira “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Beautiful Liar” (she’s part-Lebanese)

  18. Like a G6? A Pontiac G6? ‘Spose the kids can’t relate to Maybachs no more.

  19. Like a http://blog.rapidsea.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/20080314-gulfstream-island-g650.jpg

  20. Parody has over a million views in two days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Okc1-yow-Uc

  21. And as we speak there’s an attempt to break Filipina singer Charice in the North American market; “Pyramid” peaked at 56 and her album jumped to number 8 but didn’t stick; she’s got a recurrent guest slot on Glee. She’s impressed Ellen and Oprah with her chops, but the few tracks of hers I’ve heard don’t hit me emotionally; her version of Diane Warren’s “Note To God” falls short of JoJo’s.

  22. I think but don’t know for sure that Far East Movement are doing the raps as well as the production.

    According to Wikip, Berkeley boys The Cataracs produced this (they also produced the source-material track, Dev’s “Booty Bounce”).

  23. I think Katharine is right to focus on the giggles in the hook; only hint of personality or distinction in what’s otherwise the Korean answer to the rap stylings of will.i.am. Of course, the giggles are the very thing I like least about the song, as I don’t see them as relatable or likable at all; to me they’re more like, “how salacious, I’m getting sliz-z-zard” giggles. The bass… I mean, yeah, I could picture a more easy-going 13-year-old version of myself dancing to this at a Bar Mitzvah, but it’s on that demographic level of musicality. 5?

  24. Fwiw, three of the six new tracks to enter the Billboard top 40 this week feature singers who are either Asian (Charice) or of Asian heritage (Jay Sean). Jay’s even weaker and emptier than usual on “2012”; Charice does her best to stomp Lea Michele and “Telephone” to death on Glee, the rendition somehow being effective; whereas on “Listen” she’s loud but lifeless, truly terrible. Meanwhile, the boring “Pyramid” has gone top 40 in the U.K.

    Katherine is right on the money in describing the appeal of Dev’s vocals.

  25. i don’t want to listen to any of the billboard top ten songs at the moment.

  26. I kinda think the “U Can’t Touch This” sample is the best thing about this song.

  27. As it turns out, Bruno Mars is half-Filipino. With “Just the Way You Are” at #1 and “Like a G6” as the runner up, both the top two spots on the Hot 100 are held by Asian-Americans. Barring the Black Eyed Peas “Boom Boom Pow”/”I Gotta Feeling” 1-2, has that ever happened before?

  28. Damn, I should have picked up on Chuck’s freestyle reference and listened to this sooner, rather than Frank’s “cut-price Ke$has”, which made me delete it unheard and try to avoid. This is pretty great! Love the riff, love Dev’s blankness (surprised no one mentioned electroclash – this is basically electroclash meets freestyle and dresses up for the US charts, 2010). I get the Ke$ha comparison but it was never Ke$ha’s themes that grated, more her presentation, and Far East Movement don’t actually sound like someone vomiting on you therefore they’re preferable.

  29. (That said, I’d like it better if the rapping wasn’t quite so BEP-level naff.)

  30. I’m hearing way more electro than freestyle (Xhuxk was referencing the stutters for the latter), though obviously electro and freestyle aren’t mutually exclusive. Don’t particularly think of it as electroclash, but then I never really had a handle on what that term meant. Btw, for the vocals I kinda think of Miss Kittin (also for the Colette Carr that I linked).

    Rodney, I don’t know if there’s a site that compiles weekly Billboard charts; going through that week by week would be a chore, but I don’t think that most of the performers we’ve mentioned have ever gone either 1 or 2, so this is likely a first, if we restrict it to tracks by different performers.

  31. Miss Kittin’s just about the epitome of electroclash (in attitude, anyway; once electroclash as a fad reached the end of its brief natural shelf life, she moved seamlessly into electrohouse and managed to stay relevant for a good few years).

    Also, I’m intrigued by the fact that Far East Movement seem to buy their booze from a SHOP in the video, something I’d previously thought of as a strictly British trope.

  32. Can’t believe I’ve slept on this song so long. It’s great.

  33. Frank: Wikipedia (where else?) has a list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Billboard_Hot_100_top_10_singles_in_2010

  34. #1 on billboard now.

  35. this song sucks & the cataracts are horrible producers

  36. Asian heritage (cont’d): Nicki Minaj, Indo-Afro-Trinidadian; one top-ten single so far, as featured artist (Trey Songz ft. Nicki Minaj “Bottoms Up”).

  37. Full circle to the 3-6 Remix

  38. Who would’ve thunk, Kelis is part-Chinese too, although her last top 10 hit was Milkshake in 2003.