Bang Bang

Bang Bang by krin.jpg

Date Aired
November 12, 2014
Running Time
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Todd plays "Bang Bang" on the piano.

A pop song review

Todd: So, have you heard of this Ariana Grande person?

Clip of Ariana Grande - "Problem"
Ariana: Hey baby, even though I hate ya

Todd (VO): Cause I sure have! Apparently, the pop gods decided that this was gonna be the year of Ariana, because [clip of "Love Me Harder"] she has like, what, five different songs in circulation right now? No amount of Ariana is too much Ariana, apparently.

Todd: Which, last year, I would've welcomed extremely!

Clips of Miley Cyrus - "We Can't Stop"...

Todd (VO): Because that year, if you recall, was the year of Miley. Yeah, and also [..."Slow Down" by...] Selena Gomez and [...and "Heart Attack" by...] Demi Lovato, all of whom had a bad case of Disney voice. [Clip of "The Way" ft. Mac Miller] But when I first heard Ariana Grande, I was, like, "holy crap, a teen actress who can actually sing."

Ariana: The way I love you

Todd (VO): "And made music that sounded like it actually deserved to be on the radio and wasn't just coasting on her prepackaged TV fanbase." I was hooked instantly, even though I only ever heard one single of hers, but still, I really liked it.

Todd: Because, you know...

Brief clip of "Neon Lights"

Todd (VO): ...there's nothing interesting about Demi Lovato. You could replace Demi Lovato's singing with anyone, who could care?

But Ariana actually had pipes and potential, so much so that I was actually inspired to watch a little [opening of Victorious] of the show she was on at the time.

Clip of Victorious - "Tori Gets Stuck"
Robbie (Matt Bennett): [through Rex, his dummy] She's still all mad 'cause Tori got the lead in Steamboat Suzy.

Todd (VO): That was probably a mistake. I will say this: it was better than the episodes I've sampled of terrible Disney shows because the actresses on Victorious were older and much too talented and too mature to be there. I was actually kind of embarrassed for them. I'm not including Ariana in that. I only watched a couple episodes, and she only had, like, three lines. And as far as I can tell, this is how I'd sum up her character.

Todd: Imagine if [picture of...] Ralph Wiggum were hot. Now, I can hear a bunch of you saying...

Todd (VO): ..."okay, gross, dude, she was, like, 14," or whatever. Calm down, don't worry, it's a joke.

Todd: I don't actually find her that attractive. [beat] Okay, now I got a bunch of other people jumping down my throat, and it's like...

Back to "Love Me Harder"

Todd (VO): ..."oh, look at you, some Internet loser jackoff talking about how some female celebrity isn't hot enough for him." [picture of pimpled fat guy labeled 'Pictured: Todd in the Shadows'] She looks fine. Okay? She looks...

Todd: ...she looks great. She is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. And she's actually 21 years old, so it's not weird for me to say. It's know...[picture of Todd appears in upper left corner: (Breaking News Todd In Big Trouble)] She's just got this kind of... (LIVE: TODD DIGGING HOLE EVEN DEEPER) Hey, weren't we talking about music? Let's go back to that.

Clips of "The Way" and "Problem"

Todd (VO): Anyway, like I said, I immediately liked her as a singer, but suffice to say, my enthusiasm for her career has dimmed a lot. I mean, "Problem" was everywhere this year, and it was fine enough, I guess. Good hook, Iggy Azalea verse that actually wasn't terrible at all, nice, skronking sax beat.

Todd: And yet, I couldn't ever really get into it.

Todd (VO): And considering that Ariana Grande's main asset is her vocal skills, I think the biggest problem was her singing.

Ariana: Head in the clouds
Got no weight on my shoulders

Todd (VO): No doubt she's had a lot of training, but...going a few more rounds with Simon Cowell might improve things a lot because...I don't know. Just something about the tone of her voice, like she's trying to force her lungs through her nose.

Todd: Yeah, yeah, she's still got a bit of the teen starlet on her. I get the feeling like she's not really ready for the major leagues yet.

Clip of "Break Free" ft. Zedd

Todd (VO): And another thing. It's not just the tone of her voice, it''s also the way she slurs all of her lyrics.

Ariana: I only wanna die alive

Todd (VO): It's like she has a seafood allergy that made her tongue swell up. to her. She can hit the high notes like Mariah Carey, but she pronounces words like [picture of...] Elmer Fudd.

Todd: [as Elmer Fudd] "This is the part when I bweak fwee."

Ariana: The part when I break free

Todd chuckles like Elmer

Clip of Ariana at the iHeartRadio Theater LA

Todd (VO): And there's other problems too, and no song better illustrates them than her current biggest single...

Todd: ..."Bang Bang". Let's take a listen.

Video for "Bang Bang"
Jessie J: She got a body like an hourglass, but I can give it to you all the time
She got a...

Todd (VO): Uh...Ariana Grande got a lot taller and older all of the sudden...and dark hai...who the hell is this? [Album cover of Sweet Talker]'s Jessie...J.

Todd: Well, I see [brief clips of "Problem", "Break Free", "Love Me Harder", "The Way", "Popular Song", and "Almost Is Never Enough", featuring respectively...] Iggy Azalea isn't the only one riding Miss Grande's coattails, or Zedd, or Big Sean, the Weeknd, Mac Miller, Mika, the guy from the Wan...holy Christ!

Todd: When did pop music turn into Six Degrees of Ariana Gra... Anyway.

Todd (VO): Jessie J. I guess this is a Jessie J song. And a Nicki Minaj song... Christ!

Todd: Anyone else wanna get in on it?

Video dubbed over with the theme from Too Many Cooks, complete with singer credits and a cameo from Smarf.
Singers: Too many cooks, too many cooks...

Todd: Now, that joke is definitely gonna still be funny a week from now. Well..

Todd (VO): should already know who Nicki is, but I'm not sure all of you know who Jessie J is; I've never really discussed her in depth.

Clip of "Domino"
Jessie J: You've got me losing my mind

Todd (VO): Well, first off, she's British, and she's the poor man's Katy Perry, and...

Todd: ...and that's about it. Didn't really have a whole lot of Jessie J material prepared...'cause who the hell cares about Jessie J?

Clip of "Price Tag"

Todd (VO): The problem with Jessie J is she doesn't really have any real personality; she's completely hollow. [Brief clip of "This Is How We Do" by...] And that's true of Katy Perry, who's plastic in and out, but Katy Perry has developed a persona, mostly revolving around being just tasteless enough. But I have no idea who Jessie J is supposed to be. An uplifting, anti-materialist hippie? [Clips of "Who You Are"...] Confessional songwriter chick a la Pink? [..."Domino"...] Straightforward silly love song singer? [...and "Do It Like a Dude"] Angry, butch tomboy? Who knows?

Jessie J: Do it like a brother
Do it like a dude
Grab my crotch, wear my hat low like you

Todd (VO): Oh, yeah, also it doesn't help that her songs are consistently awful.

Jessie J: We can do it like the man'dem, man'dem

Todd (VO): Again, thank you to all my British viewers for repeatedly sending me links to this one in particular.

Todd gives a sarcastic thumbs up

Todd: Heh heh.

Clip of "Nobody's Perfect"

Todd (VO): Look, I just don't like her. She's not real, and she's not even enjoyably fake. She always seems to be pretending to be human. She reminds me mostly of [clip from...] the alien chick from Galaxy Quest.

Todd: Well, anyway, that's our two main artists: Ariana Grande and Jessie J. Let's take a listen.

Video starts

Todd (VO): Well, the beat's fine. Retro jazz thing seems to be working for Ariana, but let's hear the lyrics.

Jessie J: She got a body like an hourglass, but I can give it to you all the time
She got a booty like a Cadillac, but I can send you into overdrive, oh

Todd: "Booty like a Cadillac," huh?

Clip of Jason Derulo - "Wiggle"
Jason: You know what to do with that big fat butt


Todd: Yep. Well, anyw... (BUTTS) Yes, I'm aware. So, the nex... (BUTTS) Please stop. [Pasted over still from "Baby Got Back": BUTTS WILL NEVER STOP] Yeah.

Jessie and Ariana: Bang bang into the room (I know you want it)
Bang bang all over you (I'll let you have it)
Jessie J: Wait a minute

Todd (VO): Yeah, "Bang Bang" is a good name for it because this song, it's just noise. I'm not saying it's painful or obnoxious or anything, but there's literally only one chord. It's just bang and blam and percussion and the two girls getting their Christina Aguilera on.

Jessie and Ariana: Bang bang into the room (I know you want it)
Bang bang all over you (I'll let you have it)

Todd (VO): If I had to sum up the message of the song, it'd be, "we are sexy; and by sexy, we mean loud."

Todd: Very, very loud.

Clip of Sam Kinison on Dangerfield's
Jessie and Ariana: See anybody could be bad to you,
You need a good girl to blow your mind, yeah

Todd: Look, terrible double entendres aside, basically everything the song's gonna say, was summed up in a different song from a British pop singer a couple years ago.

Clip of Neon Hitch - "Fuck U Betta"
Neon Hitch: ...prettier than I'll ever be
She can fuck you good
But I can fuck you betta
Betta, betta...

Todd (VO): Now, that wasn't God's gift to pop music either, but I at least believed it. I at least believed that this person had had sex once in their life. ["Bang Bang" continues] I don't buy it from either of these people. Jessie J is just too phony, she's always kinda given off this asexual vibe. And Ariana.

Todd: Hoo boy, let's get to Ariana.

Ariana: She mighta let you hold her hand in school, but I'm-a show you how to graduate

Todd (VO): You'll show me how to... have you graduated? From middle school?

Todd: Look, Ariana Grande's singing about her sexual prowess, it's just cute.

Todd (VO): Like, it's not even inappropriately jailbaity. See, this is exactly what I was talking about when I was saying I didn't find her attractive. She's a very beautiful little girl. She's a sixth grader wearing her mom's makeup. I just don't buy it. Even the name of the song is kinda juvenile. "Bang Bang".

Clip from How I Met Your Mother
Ted and Marshall: Bang, bang, bangity bang
I said bang, bang, bangity bang
Marshall: Bang bang bang

Todd: Now, you take the pop princesses back when I was a kid.

Clips of Christina Aguilera - "Genie in a Bottle", Britney Spears - "...Baby One More Time", and Mandy Moore - "Candy"

Todd (VO): You know, Britney, Christina, those videos boiled with sex, and thank God those songs came out when it was age-appropriate for me to watch those videos over and over again like I did. I'd be a real perv now. Honestly, even back then, some of those videos made me kind of uncomfortable, and I was their age. [Promo pic of Britney wearing short shorts that say "Baby Baby" across the back] "Oh, I'm lost on my bike. Wanna come drag me into the woods?" [..."Baby One More Time" continues] But those girls, whoever, you know... they were smart enough to sing about wanting sex, not being experienced love goddesses.

"Bang Bang" continues

Now, that's something you've gotta have a certain level of adultness to pull off, and neither of these two can do it. They don't sound like people you take seriously about sex because Ariana sounds like she's nine, and I'm pretty sure Jessie J's species mates by laying eggs in their host's digestive system.

Todd: And yeah, there's not a lot else to this song. Although one of the more interesting things to come from it is the theory I've seen floated around...

Todd (VO): ...that this was written as a response to [brief clip of Robin Thicke's...] "Blurred Lines".

Pharrell: Everybody get up

Todd (VO): Not the obvious response of, "hey, Robin Thicke, stop being sleazy and gross," but more along the lines of, "hey, who needs a good girl when you could have a bad girl?"

Robin: Good girl
Ariana: You need a bad girl to blow your mind

Todd (VO): I'm not sure if that's true, but there's a case for it, and it even uses "Blurred Lines"'s most infamous lyric.

Robin: I know you want it
Ariana: I know you want it
Bang bang...

Todd (VO): Now, if that is true,, former teen actresses [that clip from the 2013 MTV VMAs] sure do want to impress Robin Thicke for some reason. Daddy issues, maybe? I don't know. But imagining they're singing it to Robin Thicke doesn't make it any easier to listen to.

Ariana: No, I don't need to hear you talk the talk, just come and show me what your mamma gave ya

Todd: Wait, "show me what your mamma gave..."? Did I hear that right?

Ariana: Show me what your mamma gave ya

Todd (VO): That's not something you say to guys. Robin Thicke got most of it [picture of Robin with...] from his dad. What did he get from his mom, full womanly hips?

Todd: What the hell are... Wait, are they singing to each other?

Todd (VO): I mean, the song does kind of have a strong "women doin' it for themselves" kind of vibe, right? Honestly, it wouldn't surprise me if dudes didn't enter the equation. Hot, I guess. Although probably not likely, considering how hard Jessie J is pushing the message [Huffington Post article: "Jessie J Denies Being Bisexual, Says It Was A Phase"] that she is totally straight right now.

Yeah, I think this is just another example of not understanding adults and/or earthlings enough to get how this sexual innuendo thing works. Honestly, matter of fact, I think they're supposed to be competing with each other.

Jessie J: You need a good girl to blow your mind
Ariana: You need a bad girl to blow your mind

Todd (VO): All right, see, Jessie J is saying you need a good girl, and Ariana Grande says you need a bad girl. Of course, it doesn't really work because they sound too similar. But more importantly, they cast this one as the good girl...

Clip of "Do It Like A Dude"
Jessie J: Dirty dirty dirty dirty dirty dirty sucker

Todd: ...and this one as your bad girl.

Clip from Victorious - "Three Girls and a Moose"
Ariana: A hundred different flavors to vary your view

Todd: "I'm bad. Sometimes I make out with the lights on."

Todd (VO): Eh, whatever, there's a third woman on this track. Someone who sounds like she actually knows what she's talking about. Ladies and gentlemen...

Todd: ...Nicki Minaj.

Nicki: It's Myx Moscato
It's frizz in a bottle
It's Nicki full throttle
It's oh, oh
Swimming in the grotto
We winning in the lotto
We dipping in the pot of blue foam, so

Todd (VO): Okay, I do like this verse, and...I kinda gotta admit, I like Nicki the more I don't understand what she's saying. Like, her ferocity is her main asset, so the faster she goes, the better she is, even though I literally have no idea what she just said. And her voice is pitched up so high, she sounds like MC Chris.

Clip of MC Chris performance, with "I Want Candy" dubbed over
MC Chris: I want candy, bubble gum and taffy
Skip to the sweet shop with my sweetheart Sandy

Todd: The most I can gather is that...

Todd (VO): begins with a plug for her wine.

Nicki: It's Myx Moscato
It's frizz in a bottle

Todd: I've actually had [promo pic of...] her Moscato. It's like pure sugar and lightning; it's liquid Pop Rocks, basically, which...yeah, exactly what you'd expect.

Nicki: It's me, Jessie, and Ari
If they test me they sorry

Todd (VO): Kinda funny how the only woman on the track who's ever sounded like she's managed to get past second base does not seem to say a single thing about sex. I get the feeling she was told, "hey, you're on Ariana Grande's song; no talk about salad tossing, please. It'll confuse her 'cause she doesn't know what that means."

Todd: Look, this isn't a bad song. I don't think I've ever actually heard a genuinely bad Ariana Grande song, it's certainly among Jessie J's better songs.

Todd (VO): And there's something to be said about the beat to this, it's got energy. But of all of Ariana's singles, this is the one where it's easiest to identify what isn't working. There's just too much disconnect between the lyrics and the people singing it.

Todd: Honestly, it'd probably be better if they just took out all the sex stuff and instead just make it a song about making noise. Bang bang!

Jessie, Ariana, Nicki: (BANG) Bang, bang into the room
I know you want it
Bang bang all over you
I'll let you have it

Todd: Yeah, there we go. I'm Todd In The Shadows, and I'm out.

Gets up and leaves

Jessie J: Wait a minute 'til ya

Closing tag song: Nancy Sinatra - "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)"

"Bang Bang" is owned by Lava Records
This video is owned by me

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