It’s Stuff We Might’ve Gotten To Last Month Monday! SRY, XOX, Jukebox.
David Moore: In the pantheon of txt-pp, “TTYLXOX” lacks the prescience of Nikki (nee Brittney) Cleary’s ode to AOL Instant Messenger “I.M. Me” or the indecipherable charm of “Almost Love” by Jessica Jarrell. I can hear the old folks cranking out the lyrics for this one — the culprits are Disney pros Jeannie Lurie, Aris Archontis, and Chen Neeman, who worked with Jordan Pruitt and wrote the Sonny with a Chance theme song. But even day late and dollar short, it handily beats overworked novelties like San Marino’s Eurovision entry “Facebook Uh Oh Oh” (banned for corporate promotion!), and homegrown non-favorites like “LOL Smiley Face” and “OMG.” Kids sell this stuff more convincingly than grown-ups anyway — don’t call it a comeback; stoopid teenpop never left. Which makes Bella Thorne the Hoku to Carly Rae Jepsen’s Vanessa Carlton, I guess?
Katherine St Asaph: A Disney Ke$ha isn’t as terrible an idea as it seems; there’s hardly any sex to excise, you can easily make her club stuff dry, and snotty chanting sounds better from teens than ostensible adults. Too bad this takes its lyrics seriously. No, not the texting bullshit — “I don’t know what’s coming next.” Judging by the sporadic, half-assed melody, neither did the songwriters.
Brad Shoup: Thorne puts on the electo-bip and disco rhythm guitar like someone who’s just fallen in love with the Rookie Mag feed.
Alfred Soto: This footstompin’ tour through a generation’s worth of acronyms loves its judiciously administered jolts of electricity: hand claps, on-the-one percussion, rhythm guitar. But after a couple of minutes it runs out of song. For parents who wonder about the decline of literacy, rest assured: your children don’t actually use acronyms in essays.
Anthony Easton: “Thorne also talked about her dyslexia in an April 2010 interview with American Cheerleader Magazine, and explained that she overcame her dyslexia by rigorously reading everything she could find, including the labels of cereal boxes.” Bella Thorne, whose voice sounds more like Azealia Banks than Miley, ingratiates herself to me entirely because of confessions to American Cheerleader. Plus, I’m a sucker for the processed vocals and double-dutch rhythm.
Iain Forrester: The squelchy beat is A-OK. There’s not much to it, but it doesn’t hang around for long enough for that to become a problem, and it suits the playground chanting. The lyrics, though? GTFO.
Josh Langhoff: I had to google what the title means, so it’s not like I’m the ideal audience, but there’s not much to the language beyond its insular novelty. I mean, I don’t understand half of “The Strawberry Roan” either, but at least it makes me laugh and think.
Jonathan Bogart: My first thought is “…Robin Sparkles!” But she’s got better flow and better dance moves; though the professional entertainer’s permagrin, and the self-aware aura of goofiness is the same. The lyrics read like a not-terrible-clueful parody of a teenpop song, but as long as the rhythm hits and the sass is delivered, it’s no different from the real thing.