I Love College
October 17, 2019
Todd plays "I Love College" on the piano.
ASHER ROTH - I LOVE COLLEGE
A one-hit retrospective
Todd: I, um... [pause] wasn't gonna make a thing about it, but... uh, this is my ten-year anniversary.
Clip of fireworks with text: TEN YEARS OF TODD!!!Todd breathes a sigh of relief
Montage clips of Todd's reviews over the yearsTodd (VO): Ten years of Todd in the Shadows. Wow, I have no clue what to make of that. It's been, uh... it's been weird. I'm more successful now than I ever dreamed of being. But that was also true three months in when I had twenty subscribers. I've made a lot of videos over the years. I do have regrets.
Montage clips from...Like when I reviewed the Hannah Montana movie, and I complained about the stupid subplot about, you know, "Stop the evil real estate developer from building a mall." In hindsight, a mall was a pretty bad investment, and Hannah was right to oppose it.
Todd: And from the Lil Dicky review a couple months ago.
Clip of Todd's review of Lil Dicky - "Earth"
Todd (VO): I don't know how or [clip of Lil Dicky ft. Chris Brown - "Freaky Friday"] at what cost Dicky produced Kendall Jenner's involvement...Todd: I meant procured. Not produced, procured. Terrible error, weighs on me. And, um... I guess that's it. Everything else that's happened to me has been great, and everything I've ever done has been perfect.
More montage clips of Todd's reviewsTodd (VO): It's a weird, isolating job, and I worry that I've completely tainted one of my main interests by monetizing it. But... you know, look where I started. A broke, depressed alcoholic versus who this job has allowed me to become: a merely mopey, moderate drinker who can afford to take out every now and then. And I say it's been absolutely...
Todd: ...worth it, and I owe it all to you, so thank you very much for ten good years. And I figured I should mark the occasion, so I thought... why not take us back to the year I started?
Clip of The Black Eyed Peas - "Boom Boom Pow"
will.i.am: (Boom boom boom)
Gotta get thatTodd (VO): Ten years, that's far enough back to officially be a one-hitter. So, let's revisit 2009, a magical year. [footage of Obama inauguration...] We had a black president, [movie poster for...] Crank 2 was in theaters, [clip of Katy Perry - "Hot N Cold"] and music was a hell of a lot stupider and easier to make fun of. Surprisingly though...
Todd: ...one-hit wonders were kind of hard to find.
Video for Owl City - "Fireflies"Todd (VO): A lot of the acts you'd think are one-hit wonders are... technically not. And I didn't want to fudge this one, so I had to go way down the list. But I...
Todd: ...finally found the right guy.
Clip of Asher Roth - "I Love College"
Asher Roth: That party last night
Was awfully crazy, I wish we taped itTodd: Yeah. Yeah, I kinda remember this being a thing.
Asher: Man I love college (Hey!)
I love drinking (Hey!)Todd (VO): This is the white rapper, Asher Roth...
Todd: ...and he definitely did not go to college to get more knowledge.
Asher: I wanna go to college for the rest of my life
Sip Bankers Club, and drink Miller LiteTodd (VO): Roth's only hit, his ode to wild frat parties, "I Love College," wasn't exactly huge; it only made it up to #12 on the Hot 100. But, I think it's a fitting track for my ten-year Toddiversary. 'Cause after all, this show started from me and my buddies in college busting on shitty pop songs we heard on the radio.
Todd: So put on the college T-shirt you got from the university bookstore, turn on some loud music, [reaches for...] and break open an ice-cold pack of Natty Lite, 'cause we're about to celebrate ten years of Todd! [opens beer can and takes a sip before retching quickly afterward] Forgot how bad that tastes! How is this the starter beer for college kids? Shouldn't you have to work up to this? Ugh!
Before the hit
Clip of Eminem - "The Real Slim Shady"
Eminem: And there's a million of us just like me
Who cuss like me...Todd (VO): So, back around 2000/2001, Eminem predicted that he was going to bust open the doors of white rap.
Clip of Eminem - "Without Me"
Eminem: There's a concept that works
Twenty million other white rappers emergeAs I recall, that kinda didn't really happen for a while.
Todd: Or if it did happen, all the wannabes didn't really get anywhere.
Video for Bubba Sparxxx - "Ms. New Booty"Todd (VO): A couple white guys popped up, but nothing like nowadays, [image of Macklemore, Iggy Azalea, and G-Eazy] where white rappers are pretty common.
Video for "Without Me"Eminem was the only really big name for a long time.
Todd: So, it's kind of a big deal when this particular white kid started getting buzz.
Clip of Asher Roth - "Roth Boys"
Asher: The Roth Boys in the building tonight
White boy on the beat, how surreal is that?
I mean for real he's the illest, I hate to kill the catTodd (VO): I mean, he did sound quite a bit like Eminem. To the point where he eventually wrote a whole song about trying to escape Slim Shady's wide shadow.
Todd: But he was different, 'cause unlike previous white rappers...
Todd (VO): ...he was not trying to prove at all that he was from the streets. [clips of Paul Wall - "Sittin' Sidewayz"...] He didn't come from the dirty south like Paul Wall, [...and Eminem - "Role Model"] he wasn't violent trailer-trash like Slim Shady. He was just some kid from the burbs. And he didn't try to hide it, or not sound like it at all.
Todd: And he was good!
Todd (VO): His name was Asher Roth. 22-year old kid from Morrisville, PA near Philly. At this point, he was just a sophomore in college. And then he started blowing up from mixtapes that he posted on... [image of myspace.com logo; Todd intentionally mispronounces the name...] Mi... miss... miss-space. Mis-mis-space.com.
Todd: The song that really grabbed people's attention was his...
Clip of early Asher Roth performanceTodd (VO): ...remix of Lil Wayne's "A Milli."
Audio for "A Milli (Remix)" plays over clip
Asher: A million here, a million there
Yeah, you got a mil but for real dog nobody cares
If you don't share, don't donate to charity
Children who can barely eat, no shoes on their feetTodd: Holy shit, he's goin' there.
Asher: It's just these stupid motherfuckers never get it
Yo they get to the pros and don't do shit
Like they RedickTodd: Well...
Clip of NBA game with...Todd (VO): ...JJ Redick eventually developed into a very good NBA player.
Todd: But you get the idea.
Todd (VO): He's calling out all the underground rappers who sell out when they get signed.
Todd: Remember that one.
Clip of interview with Asher Roth and Akon on Last Call with Carson DalyTodd (VO): And that's when the major labels came calling. He dropped out to pursue his career, and got in tight with a young executive named, Scooter Braun.
Todd: You might recognize that name, because Scooter Braun is [image of Scooter on front cover of Success magazine] now one of the most powerful men in music.
Todd (VO): [images of Scooter with Kanye West...] He has financial ties with some of the [...and Ariana Grande] biggest pop stars alive, [shot of Variety headline: "Taylor Swift's Battle With Scooter Braun"] and a couple months ago he acquired Taylor Swift's entire back catalog, and there's a whole thing about that.
Clip of Scooter Braun interview on Artisan NewsEven as far back as nine years ago, you might have heard of him, because [clip of TMZ showing...] at that point, he was already known as the mastermind behind the worst new artist of 2009.
Clip of Justin Bieber - "One Time"
Justin Bieber: Me plus you, I'ma tell you one timeTodd (VO): [groans angrily] I don't know who this kid is, but he fuckin' sucks!
Todd: Yeah, I cannot wait until this little shit's fifteen minutes are up!
Clip of another Scooter Braun interview on Blue PrintTodd (VO): But at this point in the story, Scooter Braun is nobody. He's a newly independent rep, [still shot of Tom Cruise as...] trying to Jerry Macguire his way to success. [image of Scooter with...] Asher Roth is his first signing. And by the end of 2008, the whole enterprise is within weeks of collapsing.
Scooter Braun: And on month eleven of '13, when I'm done, I'm broke.All Braun has is a white rapper from Myspace, and [brief clip of Justin Bieber on...] a 12-year old who makes YouTube videos. Supporting Roth and this kid and his mom has driven him right to the edge of bankruptcy. Scooter's about to give up, [image of Scooter at awards ceremony sitting next to...] and we are this close to never hearing of Justin Bieber ever, and Taylor Swift has to find someone else to feud with. And then, Asher Roth walks in like, "Hey...
Todd: ...I think I've written a hit."
The big hit
Todd: 2009 was the year everything became a party.
Clip of The Black Eyed Peas - "I Gotta Feeling"
will.i.am & Fergie: Tonight's the night, let's live it upTodd (VO): I want to say it was because [another clip of Obama inauguration] Obama was getting everyone high off of hope and change. [clip of Flo Rida ft. T-Pain - "Low"] Or maybe it was Flo Rida dominating 2008, and everyone jumping to join in. But whether it be [side-by-side pictures of...] Obama or Flo Rida...
Todd: ...two equally important men...
Video for Kesha - "Tik Tok"Todd (VO): ...it seemed like the entire country was at a nonstop rager.
Video for "I Love College" startsSo perhaps it is not surprising that Asher Roth's first major label single was not as thoughtful as his mixtapes.
Asher: I'm nice right now man
I-I feel goodTodd (VO): It was a song about college parties called simply, "I Love College".
Asher: That party last night
Was awfully crazy, I wish we taped itUnlike the other party jams of 2009, this was not a club anthem. It had an entirely different vibe, with the laid-back guitar and an equally laid-back flow. Which is fitting, 'cause it's about an entirely different kind of party. You can practically feel the Solo cup in your hand, and smell the piles of stale, unwashed laundry drifting down from upstairs.
Clip of live performance of "I Love College"Todd (VO): And it also fits 'cause Scooter Braun's big insight about Roth was that white college kids love hip-hip. So a rapper who was actually one of them and spoke to them could find a huge, untapped market.
Todd: So first, let me say... I am not opposed to the song in concept.
Video for "I Love College"Todd (VO): A song about college parties... it deserves to exist. We can't all get in the club, but college parties are open to anyone who has decent grades and willingness [image of college graduate chained to wrecking ball...] to shoulder crippling debt.
Todd: Now, I can easily imagine people who would be opposed to it, because... you know, [image of...] frats suck, and frat culture sucks.
Video for "I Love College"Todd (VO): But college parties aren't just for douchebags. Me and my crew of hipsters and nerds drank as much as anyone.
Todd: Hell, we even threw our own frat parties! [image of guy dressed up as stereotypical frat boy] Frat-themed parties, we'd put on khakis and polos, and play shitty music. It was [air quote] "ironic". In hindsight, by "ironic", I mean "jealous."
Todd (VO): So I can't be up here acting like I'm too cool for this. I went to a few frat parties I enjoyed. [clips from Old School...] But more importantly, I watched and enjoyed frat movies. [...and Animal House] And honestly, I think every established movie genre needs at least one song to go with it. [images of...] If we have cowboy movies, [single cover for Douglas B. Green - "Singing Cowboys"] we should have cowboy songs. If we have monster movies, [single cover for...] we need a "Monster Mash".
Video for Afroman - "Because I Got High"The stoner comedy has no end of songs for it. College comedies should, too. [image of frat boys in matching pink shirts] It's not just a movie genre, it's a lifestyle. Surely, it deserves its own soundtrack.
Todd: So, I support the song in concept. [pause] Do I support it in practice? Well, that's a different question.
Clip of "I Love College"
Asher: I wanna go to college for the rest of my lifeTodd (VO): Uh, I like the vibe of it. We need laid-back party songs just as much as we need bangers. Although, [brief clip of Blake Shelton ft. Pistol Annies - "Boys 'Round Here"] bro country eventually filled that niche, so we don't need it that much. ["I Love College"] But I do like this beat.
Todd: This is not even the original beat for the record.
Audio for original version of "I Love College" plays over single cover
Asher: That party last night
Was awfully crazyTodd (VO): The first version uses the riff from Weezer's "Say It Ain't So," and, uh, they just couldn't clear the sample. ["I Love College"] Honestly, I prefer this version. The guitar playing's a lot... warmer, I guess.
Snippet of Weezer - "Say It Ain't So""Say It Ain't So" is a harsh song where Rivers Cuomo screams about generational alcoholism. Even out of that context, I didn't think the sample fit.
Todd: Although, "Say It Ain't So" is absolutely a song you would hear some guy playing on guitar in the corner of a frat party.
Video for "I Love College"Todd (VO): On the negative, some of the details reminded me too much of what I didn't like about frat parties.
Asher: I am champion, at beer pong
Allen Iverson, Hakeem OlajuwonTodd: Beer pong's lame. Sorry.
Asher: Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!Todd: [holding the beer can he had earlier in the review] No, I'm not doin' that.
Todd (VO): And moreover, there's just not a lot of surprises in it. Like, you get the point in, like, the first half-minute and it just keeps going.
Todd: I mean, you don't really even have to listen to the song. You just look at [image of...] a John Belushi college poster and that tells you all you need to know. Also, the chorus.
Asher: Man I love college (Hey!)
I love drinking (Hey!)
I love women (Hey!)
I love college (Hey!)Todd: "I love college, I love drinking, I love women, I love college" is not a hook. And that's a shame.
Asher: Time isn't wasted, when you're getting wasted
Woke up today, and all I could say isTodd (VO): "Time's not wasted when you're getting wasted"? That's a great lead-in for a hook.
Todd: And then... [shrugs] there just isn't a hook.
Todd (VO): Seems like he ran out of ideas. This is more like a [shot of Todd typing "Uh...in conclusion college is a land of contrasts" in Word] college essay he ran out of time to finish, and just scribbled down something for the last paragraph. ["I Love College"] Then we get the second verse.
Asher: Don't pass out with your shoes onAgain, this is just a really rote list of college party cliches. It's got tips about how to party.
Asher: And don't leave the house, 'till the booze gone
And don't have sex, if she's too goneTodd: Heh, yeah. What the fuck?!
Asher: Don't have sex, if she's too goneTodd (VO): I mean, yes, don't rape.
Todd: [sarcastically] Serious party foul, bra! [throws hands up]
Todd (VO): How do you get to the point where you think this is a pearl of wisdom you need to drop?!
Asher: Yeah, of course, I learned some rules
Like don't have sex, if she's too goneTodd: Learned that one the hard way, let me tell ya! Heh-heh. [image of jail cell] I miss college!
Todd (VO): Eh, maybe I'm being harsh. Asher just probably heard all the horror stories about the party scene, or [clip from Revenge of the Nerds] saw all those frat comedies where the message is "Do rape". It's still a super awkward thing to bring up on a song this light and stupid, but I guess he thought if he didn't put a [text appears over video: "NOT THAT KIND OF PARTY. We respect women in this house."] disclaimer up there, people would assume.
Todd: Unfortunately, he follows that with some really terrible advice.
Asher: When it comes to condoms, put two onTodd (VO): In case you hadn't heard this one, no. Don't do that.
Todd: [sarcastically] Don't forget to double-bag it! No! Do not do that, the rubbers will chafe against each other and break!
Asher: I can't tell you what I learned from schoolTodd (VO): Yeah, Asher. Your sex ed classes specifically, we can tell.
Todd: I mean, if you don't like college parties, this would be why.
Todd (VO): Even though it's trying to be innocent fun, there's still an unironic and mildly gross atmosphere in this.
Todd: If I were a college girl, I don't know how comfortable I am at this party.
Asher: That party last night
Was awfully crazy, I wish we taped it (I wish we taped it)
I danced my ass off
And had this one girl completely nakedTodd: [pause] It's probably best you didn't tape that, man. [shot of Girls Gone Wild DVD set] She's not gonna want that floating around when she comes to in the morning.
Todd (VO): Honestly though, my problem is not that I get a douchey vibe from it or any of the questionable lyrical choices. It's...
Todd: ...it's just that it's so on the nose.
Asher: Keg-stand! Keg-stand!Todd (VO): Like, I try to imagine actually playing this song at an actual college party, and it just feels impossibly lame. Like wearing a band's T-shirt at their own concert.
Todd: And I... can't imagine where else you'd wanna listen to it.
Todd (VO): I think it feels in niche, and it's the right song for the right time, but I can't really say I'm a fan.
Todd: And it's a terrible first hit to have!
Todd (VO): It made him look less like a real rapper and more like a cartoon character. But it's not, like, obviously fictional or cartoony enough that he can shed that image either. You just think, "That's basically him."
Todd: Just like most frat houses, [image of messy ping pong table] there's a stink coming off of this song that kinda sticks to you.
Asher: I love college
Do I really have to graduate or can I just stay here for the rest of my life?Todd: In a sense, you very much will, my friend. You will never escape.
The failed follow-up
Clip of Asher Roth - "Lark On My Go-Kart"
Asher: Sitting on a truffet, puffing on the best cut buds
Trying to get butt from Miss MuffetTodd (VO): [sighs] This is, uh... this is his second song, "Lark On My Go-Kart."
Asher: Razor Ramon flow, oh so sharp
You can take Kapowski, I'mma take Lark on my go-kartIt has one of those stupid Flash cartoon music videos, so I'm not sure it's a real single. But, it's the only other song from that album that cracked the Hot 100. And it's, uh...
Todd: Okay, you know how he was compared to Eminem? This absolutely reminds me of Eminem.
Another brief clip of "The Real Slim Shady"Todd (VO): But not like prime Eminem. I mean Eminem...
Todd: ...right now.
Video for Eminem - "Venom"Todd (VO): Like, "Venom" Eminem.
Eminem: L-L-Like a salad bowl, Edgar Allan PoeTodd: Y-you get what I mean?
Clip of "Lark On My Go-Kart"
Asher: Me and Teddy Ruxpin sturring up a ruckus
Egging all the houses, smashing all the pumpkins
Suck a Dick ButkusTodd (VO): Like a lot of quote-unquote "clever rhymes and references," but they don't actually say or mean anything.
Asher: Chumps can't funk with the punk kids
Ash Roth be the king of the blumpkinsTodd (VO): A blumpkin is when you get a blowjob while taking a shit. In other words, it's not a thing.
Todd: It's a dumb frat boy sex joke like the donkey punch, or the dirty Sanchez, and so on and so on.
Todd (VO): This is the first track on the album, and that blumpkin line alone would have turned me off.
Clip of Asher Roth ft. Cee-Lo Green - "Be by Myself"
Cee-Lo Green: She wants to be my ladyHe also had a single featuring Cee-Lo that didn't chart.
Cee-Lo: But I'm a free bird
I gotta be by myselfTodd (VO): It's about how he's a player, and can't be tied down, and so on. It's a good hook and it should feel like it works, but it... doesn't. He is nowhere near cool enough or a player enough to write a song like this.
Todd: That was mainstream rap in 2009.
Video for Tyga ft. Chris Richardson - "Far Away"Todd (VO): Hot artists would have these mismatched pop hooks shoved on them. Like, I seriously doubt Tyga ever wanted to write a sad breakup song.
Todd: Thankfully, hip-hop has given up on that shit.
Clip of "Be By Myself"
Asher: And you think I'm the right dude
But there's another girl just like youTodd (VO): It's so obviously meant to be the big radio single, and he just can't do it.
Todd: In fact, the whole album's kinda disappointing. [album cover for...] Asleep in the Bread Aisle. What kind of name is that for a record?
Video for Macklemore & Ryan Lewis ft. Wanz - "Thrift Shop"Todd (VO): Like, you compare him to Macklemore, who did the same silly but serious white boy schtick a lot more successfully, [clip of "Be By Myself"] and Roth seems like he's just not doing it, 'cause he's not enjoying himself as much.
Todd: He feels like a comedy rapper, but he's not weird [album cover for Sit Down, Man by...] enough to be Das Racist, [clip of LMFAO ft. Lil Jon - "Shots"] he's not silly and over-the-top enough to be LMFAO.
Video for "Roth Boys"Todd (VO): What happened to the kid who seemed so sharp on the mixtapes? Where's that guy?
Todd: Well, about that.
Did he ever do anything else?
Clip of Asher Roth with...Todd (VO): Scooter Braun had big, big plans for Asher Roth. [image of Scooter Braun standing next to...] Roth and Bieber were gonna be his twin rockets to stardom, but that didn't happen.
Todd: Roth and Braun fell out shortly after the first album.
Brief clips from Jerry MacguireTodd (VO): Bieber became his Cuba Gooding Jr., Roth is the other guy who bailed on him.
Todd: Scooter's explanation for what happened is pretty simple.
Scooter: What Asher also told me, though, is sometimes artists don't want to be as big as you want them to be. Asher was super happy being who he was.Todd (VO): I don't think it's fair to say Roth didn't want to be big at all, but he certainly didn't want to be Scooter Braun's version of big. [clip of recent interview with Asher Roth] Both of them say there's no hard feelings, but Roth is just not a guy you can hand some song he didn't write, and tell him that's going to be his big hit. He was not going to be Justin Bieber, and honestly, who the fuck would want to?
Video for Asher Roth - "G.R.I.N.D (Get Ready It's A New Day)"So he left Scooter Braun, he joined Def Jam. But I get the sense he found the same problems there. You know, "Dress like this. Do a feature with whomever," and it just didn't work for him.
Todd: His second album, The Spaghetti Tree, never came out because... he decided a career in a major label just wasn't for him.
Video for Asher Roth ft. ZZ Ward - "Parties at the Disco"Todd (VO): Other guys, that'd sound like an excuse. But Roth seems like someone who genuinely decided he couldn't make the music he wanted to make within the system. And he's been strictly independent since. He grew his hair out, he became kind of a hippie, he moved back to Philly. And he's released a few albums since then, [clip of Asher Roth ft. Nottz & Travis Barker - "Rawther"] including one with Travis Barker. And I'm not sure I'd recommend his stuff exactly, but his music definitely feels a lot more self-assured and less forced. This is the guy he was meant to be.
Todd: By contrast, Scooter Braun has since filled the spot in his roster for a goofy white rapper from Philly.
Audio for "Freaky Friday" plays over article: "Scooter Braun Is Lil Dicky's New Manager"
Lil Dicky: What the fuck?
I woke up and I'm Lil Dicky (Lil Dicky?)
UghTodd: Roth made the right choice.
Did he deserve better?
Todd: This is gonna sound kinda weird, but he was good enough that he deserved worse.
Clip of "I Love College"
Asher: Chug! Chug! Chug!Todd (VO): If he had not signed when he did, if he had not broken through when he did, with the hit that he did, he might actually be bigger now than he was. [clip of "Best Day Ever" by...] He has kind of a similar energy to Mac Miller. And Miller never had that big crossover, but he maintained a decent fanbase and a steady level of success all his short life. It seems like with the right nurturing, Roth could've had that at least.
Video for "I Love College"But you can tell he was being pigeon-holed, and he just couldn't make the restrictions work for him, and he burnt out on it all really quick. He is now at the level he seems happy to be at. And maybe at some point if he keeps going, he can escape the shadow of "I Love College." At the very least, he knows his one hit altered the course of pop history; maybe not for the better, but it did.
Todd: But as not great as "I Love College" is, there's still a tiny bit of affection I have for it.
Clip of live performance of "I Love College"Todd (VO): Roth didn't write it in college; he dropped out to pursue hip-hop, and he was already missing it. So, if you see it as a song of nostalgia, the happier and more carefree days, it does sound a tiny bit better. I've been doing a lot of looking back myself on a weird and wild ten years.
Todd: It's... it's been something. So, thank you all for the support. I hope to keep doing this, and we'll see where it all takes me. [gives peace sign] Peace.
Gets up and leaves
Asher: Then do it again
Man, I love collegeClosing Tag Song: "I Love College (Punk Goes Pop Style)" - Asher Roth
"I Love College" is owned by Schoolboy Records
This video is owned by me
THANK YOU TO THE LOYAL PATRONS!
Brief outtakes of Todd sipping beer and almost throwing up