[Editor's note: Why This Song Sucks determines why particular tracks blow using science. It appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday.]
Song: Ke$ha, “Die Young”
History: “Die Young” is the single from Warrior, the latest album from Ke$ha, current queen of the electropop genre and the current queen of having a dollar sign in your name.
This song was actually co-written by Nate Ruess, lead singer of a band that also has a song about being young, and also gets wacky with their artist name. (fun.)
The easy joke to make here would be some sort of play on the title. (This song totally makes me want to die young!) But we're above that sort of tomfoolery, so instead here's a graph showing the relationship between how sticky something is and how delicious it looks.
Sticky is usually sweet and sweet is usually aces, right?. However, as you can see, after a certain point a stickiness begins to have the opposite of the desired effect.
Atmospherics: Scratchy scratches; teeny-tiny drums; digitized rolling thunder; sticky fury.
Analysis: When I was a kid, I used to hang out with this guy named Julio. We were together all the time. (He maybe might've been my first real best friend.) Now, I haven't spoken to him in years (he could be dead or in prison or an Olympic gold medalist, for all I know), but he's the first person I think of when I think of Ke$ha's musical sway. It's like this:
Julio and I did a bunch of stuff together. One time that we went swimming. Neither one of us had a pool, but we lived within walking distance of several apartment complexes, which meant both of us had several pools.
One day, we were in one of the pools jumping around, doing flips and shit off the edge. It was way fun (sneaking into a swimming pool makes it about 1000x better than just normal swimming). While there some fat little fellow that lived in the apartments started playing with us. We were racing and playing Marco Polo and all that. After a bit, Julio came up with a new contest. He wanted to see who could jump the highest out of the water while standing in the shallow end. (That was the entirety of his explanation of the game.) The other kid and I accepted his challenge.
The fat fellow went first. He squatted down, steadied himself, then exploded upwards. And that's when it happened. The height he achieved wasn't memorable. What was memorable was that the water provided more friction than he'd anticipated, and the basketball shorts he was wearing (inner city Mexicans don't wear swim trunks, we just put on anything that isn't pants) were pulled down just enough for his small, wet penis to come pinging out.
I reacted the way any teenage boy would when he has accidented his way into being eye level with a dong — like I'd been sprayed in the eyeballs with acid. I laughed and made gagging sounds and flailed around in the water. The poor little fat man was devastated.
But Julio? Julio didn't blink. He just started swimming again.
I made some remark like, “Dude, did you see that?! OH MY GOD I am SO telling everyone about what just happened.” Julio looked over, pursed his lips, hunched his shoulders up quickly, then responded, “If you've seen one penis, you've seen 'em all.”
That's where we are with Ke$ha. Nothing Ke$ha has done since 2010 (specifically since “Dinosaur,” which is the best song of the last 40 years, I'd guess) has been much of anything different.
“Die Young” is unquestionably catchy and has a couple of entertaining lines (“That magic in your pants, it's making me blush”), but it's little more than the floppy, glittered up electropop penis we've all been staring at since she started popping up on mainstream dance club tracks a few years ago. And if you've seen one Ke$ha penis, you've seen 'em all.
Goddamn Julio, man. That kid should've been president.
(I) I miss Ma$e.
(II) I did a bit of crowdsourcing while compiling images for that graph about sticky things. When I asked my sons for suggestions for things that looked sticky and were delicious, they both immediately offered answers. Boy A's: “Lollipops, daddy!” Boy B's: “…OH, A FROG!” Jackass.
(III) “Dinosaur” was pretty brilliant, for real.