[Editor's note: Why This Song Sucks determines why particular tracks blow using science. It appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday.]
Song: Cher Lloyd's "I Want You Back"
History: "I Want You Back" is the debut song from Cher Lloyd's Sticks + Stones. It's basically like if the Karmin Covers lady tried to pretend like she wasn't the Karmin Covers lady. Actually, Lloyd got famous singing covers too, so that's something. She was on the Euro version of X Factor. Or, I guess they call it X Factor? I'm not certain. Do they have X's in Europe? I know they have I's and V's and A's and N's and D's and R's and G's and O's, but I'm not sure about X's. I mean, Christ, they only made one Rocky movie where he went to Europe so how would I know? I'm not a Europeologist. As you'll see below:
Atmospherics: Cheery popism; "doom-doom-tap"s; like if a Blowpop was a song instead of a Blowpop. Oh, also, she gives a hard grunt every sixteen counts, which seems like it'd be a fun idea until you get to the fourth grunt and then you're like, "HOLY CRAP SHE'S GOING TO DO THIS FOR THE WHOLE SONG. I WISH I'D BEEN BORN WITH SIX ARMS SO I COULD HAVE SIX HANDS SO I COULD PULL MY EARS, EYES, NOSE AND HAIR OUT OF MY FUCKING HEAD ALL AT ONCE."
Scientific Analysis: Making synth-pop music seems like it should be easy. You take some progressive chords, string them together, maybe add a few tinks or tonks or hand claps, put on some weird clothes, then shout something into a microphone about being in (or falling out of) love or like or lust or something else that doesn't even have to start with an L. Calvin Harris is pretty great at it. La Roux's pretty good at it. And so on.
But it's a deceptive process. Little things can mess it up easily. Stretch things or bunch things up, sound too excited or drone even a bit and everything comes unraveled. Think on it like clapping; it's simple enough idea, but sometimes that shit just doesn't work out right. The below diagram pretty well sums it up.