Tuesday, September 12, 2006

song of the week: promiscuous

Sometimes I pick the song of the week, and other times, against my better judgment, the song of the week picks me. As I sit down to write this week's post, I steel myself for the inevitable ridicule and prepare for the fact that I might one day regret this. But since Saturday, this song has been trapped in my tiny mind. I can't get enough of it, and it seems dishonest to pretend that I have really been listening to anything vaguely credible or original.

There's no messing about with this radio-friendly baby. The dancehall beat kicks in and almost immediately Timbaland asks you 'How you doin' young lady?' - and I was hooked.

Nelly Furtado's voice has just the right combination of feminitity, flirtation, toughness, vulnerability, confidence and coyness, (see also J5's Thin Line - she's much better than she should be] and Timbaland's rapping style is so intelligent and natural and delivered with just the right level of knowing humour - 'giirrl imma freak you shouldn't say those things' has to be one of the best delivered cheesy R&B lines for years.

In fact, I would argue that both Timbaland's and Nelly's rapping, singing and acting performances on this song are flawless - because it's not until you're on the fiftieth listen that you really notice them. The verses of Promiscuous basically mimic any pick-up in any club, only it becomes a fast paced, impeccably tight, impeccably timed duet between two perfect caricatures of male and female. Set against a funky, fuzzy, stripped, backing track (a little bit kelis's milkshake, a little bit WTC 'gravel pit') it is also impossible not to groove to. And that's before the almighty chorus.

Keeping the drum track, the vocal takes a little breather against a chorus made up of glossy, sparkly '80s synths with a distinctly early '90s swing rhythm. The chorus manages to be both a very smooth breakdown of the verses - absolutely essential when dancing - with this hungry edge that fits brilliantly with the song's set-up as a kind of protracted, public mating dance. The first time I heard it, I stopped what I was doing and marvelled at its absolute genius.

Promiscuous should be little more than a shabby handful of R&B (in the Puff Daddy sense of the term, not true R&B) cliches but it far surpasses this. It's full of carefully considered touches - occassional halts to the drum track, excitable echoes rounding off the edges of Timbaland's gruff vocals - no factory R&B money spinner this.

In fact, it's a real killer of a song, right down to its closing, growling refrain, winding the song down ready for me to hit repeat, again and again and again.

For your listening health I urge you not to seek it out, for you may never listen to anything else.


At 12 September, 2006 23:09 , Blogger City Slicker said...

Like the blog
Will check back

At 13 September, 2006 22:25 , Blogger Newfred said...


Rings a bell.


Reminds me of a dream I had once, I think.

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