[Editor's note: Why This Song Sucks determines why particular tracks blow using science. It appears on West Coast Sound every Wednesday.]
Song: Jennifer Lopez's “Papi”
Background: “Papi” is from Lopez's seventh album, Love? It was released through a promotion on her Facebook page, and was supposed to piggyback off of the massive success of her previous single “On The Floor.” “Papi,” however, has performed only moderately well on Billboard. It did, however, go top ten in Finland, so in your face.
Atmospherics: This being a Jennifer Lopez single, the sole purpose of “Papi” seems to be to show people that she is a Latina and, as such, she is fiery and passionate and tribal.
Don't you hear the drums?! And don't you see her strong legs?!
People are probably also supposed to point out how the production, a Latin-tinged synthy dance track, is as gorgeous and multi-layered as she is. Mostly though, it just feels canned, like she hasn't been getting good beats submitted to her.
Scientific Analysis: As wayward and bizarre and and codependent as the lyrics are here — “He lets me wear the crown, I do my best to make him proud”; “He'll make sure that I glow, I'll make sure everybody knows”; etc — the video is even more baffling.
Lopez, staring at a cell phone picture of her and her Papi, is given a cookie by an apartment complex's mail clerk. (A dodgy person to accept unsolicited foodstuffs from, but whatever.) She's told to eat a small piece and “your love will come back.”
To which she responds: “Fuck you, I'm Jennifer Lopez, I'll eat all of the goddamn cookies if I want.” (I'm paraphrasing). Then she eats a great big chunk and all hell breaks loose.
The lady is upset because the cookie is apparently possessed of a mystic power (don't they all) that, based on the amount consumed, will cause a certain number of guys to turn into love zombies in pursuit of whoever eats it. Big piece = a ton of dudes.
By the way, that the mail/mystic cookie lady gets so upset after Lopez eats the large piece would imply that she knows what's about to happen (mayhem, basically), which would imply that it's happened before, which would imply that she is a moron. Why not just make the cookie available in the appropriate dosage size? Hey, here's this gigantic delicious thing. But only take a nibble on it, otherwise a lot of guys will try to rape you. Whatevs.
Anyway, Lopez eats, the lady mutters some stuff in a language that is not English, then the camera fades to black. The next day, as Lopez worms her way through the city, guys come full force at her. They are vicious. They fight each other, crash cars and dive off of buildings, alternating between trying to win her with flowers, liquor, produce — “Be my Valentine? Here's some dirty grapefruit some guy was selling in the street!” — and a stolen puppy.
Eventually, it unravels into 28 Days Later, then a “Thriller” knock off dance scene (which, incidentally, looks fun), then a dance party with one woman and 85 guys trying to sleep with her (pretty much identical to the two Sigma Chi parties I went to in college).
At the end, her Papi shows up. The bros dissipate. Normalcy.
I guess it makes more sense than Gigli*, but still.
*Here's a treat: The recap of Gigli on its IMDb page: “The violent story about how a criminal lesbian, a tough-guy hit-man with a heart of gold, and a retarded man came to be best friends through a hostage.” That's the real, actual description.
Unnecessary But Nonetheless Entertaining Screenshot:
Amid the plethora of suitors in the video is this portly, bald fella. Did he seriously look around at all of the tall, thin, fashionable men and think, “Yeah, yeah I got this. Let me get in on this dance routine.”? Because that's pretty wonderful.
(I) People from Finland enjoy a diverse mix of things.
(II) The plot of this video was probably the premise of a movie that never came to fruition.
(III) Don't eat snacks given to you by someone who works in an apartment complex.
(IV) J-Lo's movies ain't so great.
(V) Don't go to Sigma Chi parties.