Pillowtalk by krin.jpg

Date Aired
July 21, 2016
Running Time
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Todd plays "Pillowtalk" on the piano.

A pop song review

Todd: Okay, review time. So, today's video takes us back to the [image of, with the Union Jack covering it...] UK, which is funny 'cause...I don't know if you follow the news, but the UK is in a bit of a mess right now.

Montage of news footage covering the UK

Todd (VO): Yes, let's start this video with the international news that is absolutely impossible to ignore right now. Obviously, the UK is reeling, and shockwaves from this momentous and, to many, unthinkable decision are being felt all throughout Europe and over on our shores, too. It is truly a moment of dramatic upheaval that has left the United Kingdom in chaos, and even threatens to permanently dissolve one of the most powerful and...

Todd: ...influential alliances in European history.

Clevver Newsfeed broadcast
Dana Ward: Zayn Malik has officially left One Direction. No, this is not a drill; no, this is not speculation. It is official.

Todd (VO): Yes, it was slightly more than a year ago that the world was shocked when One Direction announced that founding member Zayn Malik would be leaving the band, [clip of "Story of My Life"] a decision which may spell the permanent end of the band itself. Zayn's exit—

Todd: ...or Zexit, as it is popularly known—

Todd (VO): ...sent the group into a tailspin, 'cause... Well, goddamn, you can't have a boy band with four members. Boy bands have five members. You can't just take away one! You know who was a boy band with four members? [Brief clip of "I Do (Cherish You)" by...] 98 Degrees. You wanna be 98 Degrees? Do you?! No. No, you don't.

Todd: Which is a shame 'cause...I was just starting to like them...

Clip of "Best Song Ever"

Todd (VO): ...and then, suddenly, they were gone. I mean, they had one good song that everyone agrees was pretty good, and they had moved past just shamelessly preying on hormonal girls, and they were making stuff that sounded like actual music. [Clip of "Perfect"] And then, Zayn left. They even managed a couple decent songs without him, but...I don't know, the magic's gone.

Todd: And honestly, the thought of Zayn trying to make it solo just seemed silly.

Clip of "Steal My Girl"

Todd (VO): 'Cause who is he without a group? What's his persona? Is...is he the cute one? The quiet one? The ugly one? I know all of you are crazed One Direction fans who can give me a hundred different ways that Liam is different from Nigel.

Todd: Is there a Nigel? I can't tell them apart, is my point. I couldn't begin to tell you who Zayn Malik really was.

Clip of "Night Changes"

Todd (VO): And that's a big deal. Going solo is difficult, especially when all your clout was built from being part of a group. And unlike any of the Spice Girls, he didn't really effectively brand himself. So...

Todd: ...who's he going to make himself up as as an adult? [Album cover of Mind of Mine, featuring a little boy with tattoos] Well, this album cover solves that. Apparently, he's going to be the bad boy. And I can hear you saying right now, "how's he going to be a bad boy?"

Clip of TMZ coverage of Zayn

Todd (VO): But Zayn's already established his bad boy bona fides. Look at the shit he's getting into now. [Album cover of Lil Wayne - Tha Carter III] Plagiarism! [Album covers side-by-side] Oh, you're a bad boy, aren't you? Skirting the edge of copyright infringement.

Todd: Be careful that Lil Wayne doesn't sue you, [close-up pic of Lil Wayne] or eat you. But yeah, he's the bad boy now, and by "bad boy," I, of course, mean [San Jose Mercury article: "One Direction fired Zayn Malik, says report"] whiny asshole, if the rumors are true. It could work. He's even going by [single cover] one name now. Just Zayn. Zayn. I don't know. Me personally, I don't think that's a cool enough name to go by on its own. I think [magazine cover] Zayn Malik, two names, that's cooler, honestly. Although I suspect that he's only going by the one because [three articles showing that...] various idiots are turned off by the name Malik, 'cause you know, [picture of Zayn with a goofy face] this kid is so threatening.

And hey, going solo is not always a disaster. Why, we have a prime example of how to do it right already.

Clip of Justin Timberlake ft. Clipse - "Like I Love You"
Justin: Sing this song with me
Ain't nobody love you like I love you

Todd (VO): It's shocking to think now what a goofy-haired lame-o Justin Timberlake was to everyone except 14-year-old girls back in 2002. [Clips of "Señorita...] If you weren't there, you can't imagine the shock that his solo album turned out to be...you know, good. Course, nowadays, [...and "CAN'T STOP THE FEELING"] JT is making the music equivalent of your dad dork-dancing at a wedding. Clearly, it's time for somebody new to come bring sexy back.

Todd: Come on, Zayn. Rock our bodies.

Video for "Pillowtalk"

Todd (VO): Okay, we're starting off a little low-key here.

Zayn: Climb on board
We'll go slow and high tempo
Light and dark
Hold me hard and mellow

Todd: So...when he's finished warming up, do we get a song or something?

Zayn: I'd love to hold you close, tonight and always

Todd (VO): Wow. Uh...subtle.

Todd: Guys, I think this song might be about sex.

Zayn: Be in the bed all day, bed all day, bed all day
Fucking in, fighting on

Todd: These are lyrics?

Todd (VO): Hold on, hold on, we're about to kick into the chorus.

Zayn: So we'll piss off the neighbors
In the place that feels the tears
The place to lose your fears
Yeah, reckless behavior
A place that is so pure...

Todd: [facepalming with both hands] You see?! You see?! This is exactly what I've been talking about.

Todd (VO): About how most of the big songs this year barely even function as songs. Where is it? Where's the music? Where's the melody? Where's the hook?

Todd: Was I wrong to assume that Zayn is still a pop singer? Does he now make [Album cover of Ambient Therapy 1] Ambient music? You know, just like the [picture of woman relaxing] soothing CDs they play at day spas? God, where to start. I mean, not where should I start.

Todd (VO): Where does this song start? Why should I start when...

Todd: ...the song never does.

Todd (VO): So, judging by the name of this song and the ridiculous video, this is, I'm guessing, supposed to be sexual in some way.

Todd: Well, I can say this: it definitely sounds like a member of [picture of the band holding puppies] One Direction trying to sing about sex.

Okay, let me try and figure out where it breaks down.

Zayn: Climb on board
We'll go slow and high tempo

Todd (VO): Yeah, start slow, go fast. Build to a climax, of some sort? Well, we got the "starting slow" part. Then high tempo.

Zayn: We'll piss off the neighbors

Todd: Okay, that's a little louder, but there's no tempo.

Todd (VO): Why isn't there? That'd be a good trick. It'd make the song actually build to something. Goddamn, [brief clip of Lynyrd Skynyrd performing...] "Freebird" sounds more like sex than this.

Zayn: Hold me hard and mellow
I'm seein' the pain, seein' the pleasure

Todd: Pain? Okay, well, I mean, if that's what you're into.

Zayn: It's a paradise and it's a war zone

Todd: "War zone"?

Zayn: Pillow talk
My enemy, my ally

Todd: [pause] Are you sure you're doing this right?

Zayn: My enemy...

Todd (VO): Okay, this song is about violent hate sex. Have you considered dating Rihanna? I think you two have a lot in common. Oh, hold up, he's about to...

Todd: ...drop a lyrical bombshell on us here.

Zayn: It's a paradise, and it's a war zone

Todd: You already said that part, dipstick!

Todd (VO): What did you pause for? The dramatic pause is for something dramatic!

Look, I don't care what kind of sex you're into. It should at least sound like sex. I mean, your sex is angry and violent, apparently, so why does this song sound like a gentle summer breeze?!

Todd: To put it mildly, this subject has been done.

Clip of Marvin Gaye - "Sexual Healing"

Todd (VO): Done in a lot of different ways, but the whole point is to be hot. It can be funky or smooth or gentle or nasty, but it should evoke the physical act of lovemaking in some way.

I'm not saying I need to hear Zayn nut into the mic, but it should at least suggest intercourse. This doesn't! It's just an empty soundtrack of nothing! Have you ever heard a sex song that sounded like this? Have you heard of any song that sounded like this?

Todd: Maybe "In the Air Tonight"...

Clip of the Phil Collins - "In the Air Tonight"

Todd (VO): ...which is about an angry bald man bitterly wanting to watch someone die. And that song actually had a climax.

Todd: Or...maybe it sounds like..."Radioactive."

Clip of Imagine Dragons - "Radioactive"

Todd (VO): Yeah, and that was a song about an apocalypse of toxic clouds and pollution. And it actually had a hook. They actually put some energy into this. And even so, can you imagine if this song was about you getting your freak on? It'd sound ridiculous, right?

Todd: Certainly Zayn is no help to this song.

Zayn: I'm seein' the pain, seein' the pleasure
Nobody but you, 'body but me, 'body but us

Todd (VO): It pains me to say this, but this kid is no Nick Jonas. He has absolutely nothing to recommend him as a singer. He sounds like the karaoke bar version of himself. And all these shots of women opening their legs? The video is trying to communicate all the things that the song can't.

Todd: Here, let me put together a video which more accurately conveys the images evoked by this song.

Zayn: ...my ally
[Clip of garbage truck emptying]
Then we're free, it's a thriller
[Clip of lumbering hippo]
I'm seein' the pain, seein' the pleasure
Nobody but you, 'body but me...

Todd: And when the chorus squeaks in, you feel nothing.

Zayn: So we'll piss off the neighbors

Todd (VO): Why would this wake up the neighbors? It doesn't even sound that loud. And there's no dynamics. It just sounds like white noise.

Todd: You could put this on to help you fall asleep. [Thinks about it] Wait a minute. Duh! Of course! He is falling asleep!

Zayn: Pillow talk

Todd (VO): Pillow talk happens after sex. Right? Well, no wonder. Listen to the lyrics.

Zayn: I'd love to hold you close, tonight and always
I'd love to wake up next to you

Todd (VO): Well, seriously, what the hell is that? Is he ad libbing? It's just so half-assed. It sounds like his girl asked him to say something romantic, and he's just trying to say whatever will satisfy her so she'll let him pass out!

Zayn: A place that is so pure, so dirty and raw

Todd: Oh, yeah, that was great. We were so hot, we were so dirty and raw. Zzzzzz!

Zayn: I'd love to wake up next to you

Todd (VO): Geez, girl, take a hint. He can't wake up next to you until you let him get some sleep.

Todd: I mean, you both have work tomorrow.

Todd (VO): I...I just don't get it. How is this a hit? When Justin Timberlake went solo, he got the hottest producers, he made upbeat funk jams, he worked at it. Zayn just makes this lazy, structureless blob. You know, I said that "7 Years" would be the worst song of the year, but this might actually unseat it. At least "7 Years" is a song.

Todd: This is a first draft of a song. No, it's not even that. It's...it's like a template of a song. It's a blank space where you can put a song. It's a song as much as [side-by-side pictures of...] a flat tortilla is a burrito.

Todd (VO): Just because the kid was one-fifth of One Direction, doesn't mean he should be releasing one-fifth of a single. Screw this. This song would've been more interesting if it was just him literally talking about [picture of two stacks of...] pillows.

Todd: You know, pillows are interesting. [Picks up a pillow] See this. This here is a...it's a high-end, hypoallergenic, goose down, memory foam Side-Sleeper with Iso-Cool technology. It's a...you know, it's a good buy. Worth the money. It's...it's very useful if you're listening to a former boy band member trying to pretend he's sexy.

Zayn: A place that is so pure, so dirty and raw
Be in the bed all day, bed all day, bed all day

Plops the pillow onto the piano and falls onto it face-first

Zayn: It's a paradise, and it's a war zone

Closing tag song: Sylvia - "Pillow Talk"

"PILLOWTALK" is owned by RCA Records
This video is owned by me


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