Thrift Shop vs. Suit & Tie

Thrift Shop vs Suit and Tie by krin.jpg

Date Aired
April 20, 2013
Running Time
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Todd plays "Suit & Tie" on his piano.


He quickly transitions into...


"Thrift Shop"

A pop song(s) review

Todd: [a la Timbaland] You ready, JT?

Video for Justin Timberlake - "My Love (Ft T.I.) "
Justin: Ain't another woman that can take your spot my love (so don't give away)

Todd (VO): It's been seven long years since Justin Timberlake dropped his second solo album, the one that cemented JT as the thoroughly respectable pop star instead of the squeaky-voiced punk and boy-band member. One would think that after that success, Justin would be eager to follow it up, but he apparently was so sick of record industry bullshit that he spent the intervening years doing basically anything else. [Clips from Access Hollywood] Hanging around Hollywood, ["3-Way (The Golden Rule)" by...] goofing off with The Lonely Island, [T.I. - "Dead and Gone"] making a few brief guest appearances on other people's songs, [pictures with Cameron Diaz] dating a succession of hot actresses, [Friends with Benefits] being a curiously unappealing leading man, [ article: "Justin Timberlake on his music career: 'I don't have a single song ready to go.'"] and otherwise generally not making another record.

Todd: Now you'd think that after such a long absence, music would've passed him by.

Images of Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Drake, and Adele

Todd: After all, so many of the current pop stars of today weren't even around when Justin Timberlake dropped that last album. [Clips of Maroon 5 - "Moves Like Jagger"...] But as Adam Levine and [...and "Boyfriend" by...] Justin Bieber have proved, there is still a large market for people trying to be Justin Timberlake.

Justin Bieber: If I was your boyfriend, I’d never let you go
I can take you places you ain't never been before

Todd (VO): Aw, that's...that's just precious. So...

Todd: ...when the time was right for Justin to bring "SexyBack" back...

Video for "Suit & Tie"
Justin: I can't wait 'til I get you on the floor, good-looking

Todd (VO): And with gigantic fanfare, Justin Timberlake did just that.

Justin: As long as I got my suit and tie

Todd (VO): His big comeback single, "Suit & Tie", was everything it needed to be—gigantic sounding, consummately cool, the ultimate in style and grace and pop-star panache. It is to Justin what [brief clip of...] "Vogue" was to Madonna — a spectacular black-and-white showcase for a dominant superstar designed to place him in the pantheon of pop culture icons.

Todd: One little problem though.

Video for "Thrift Shop"
Wanz: I'm gonna pop some tags
Only got twenty dollars in my pocket
I - I - I'm hunting, looking for a come-up
This is fucking awesome

Todd (VO): A new challenger appears. Enter Macklemore, an upstart white rapper, well-known in his hometown of Seattle, but fairly unknown elsewhere until this year, when he took the world by storm without even a major label record deal to his name.

Todd: Seriously, an independent artist topping the charts, going platinum, making bank like this?

Todd (VO): Macklemore is basically the [paidContent article about...] Fifty Shades of Grey of music, in that respect. (NO) And absolutely no others.

Despite Justin's massive marketing push, "Suit & Tie" has been completely and thoroughly chart-blocked by Macklemore and his breakthrough hit, "Thrift Shop". Also by [clip of one of those YouTube videos for...] the "Harlem Shake", but I'd...I'd really rather not dignify that one.

Todd: Now keep in mind, "Suit & Tie"...

Todd (VO): ...isn't doing badly. It's doing pretty well, reaching as high as #3, and it's still hanging in there. Now normally a Top 5 hit would be enough success for even the biggest stars, but "Suit & Tie" is different because it implicitly presents itself as the absolute pinnacle of glam and cool.

Todd: This is a song that demands to be #1, and here comes...

Todd (VO): ...this pug-faced nobody stealing his mojo by rapping about wearing [picture of clown] used clown outfits or something.

Todd: It's like those SNL skits where Justin is [clip from Saturday Night Live with Justin dressed in beer bottle costume] taking some other business's customers, except Macklemore is Justin in this case and he's like, [as Justin] "take it on down to Thrift-Shopville!"

And though they wouldn't seem related at first,...

Videos shown side-by-side

Todd (VO): me, the two songs kind of demand to be compared because on one hand, they're both about eye-catching style, but otherwise they're presenting two very different visions.

Justin: All pressed up in black and white

Todd (VO): JT rocks a suit and tie, which, in this case, symbolizes elegance and class, whereas Macklemore gets his duds from the thrift shop, which, for him, represents individuality and freedom, economical consumer decision-making.

Macklemore: But shit, it was 99 cents!

Todd (VO): I eagerly await this song about how awesome coupon clipping is.

Todd: And since I always take every single one of my cues from what's popular at any given moment, I think I'm gonna have to start copying one of their fashion senses. I, of course, have my own personal eclectic sense of fashion that I'm very proud of.

Todd's hand going through his rack

Todd: Okay, this is my normal gray hoodie that's just for regular, you know, out on the town. Okay, this is my filmed gray hoodie, looks better on camera. And my logo gray hoodie for when I'm at [camera pans down to show "Todd in the Shadows" written on hoodie] promotional events and such. cold weather gray hoodie; uh, I wear the other ones on hot days. Gray un-hoodie for when I wanna mix it up. Ooh, and a black hoodie, for when I'm feeling really edgy.

Back at piano

Todd: But I guess it wouldn't kill me to freshen up my style a bit. If I'm gonna do that, though, which way should I take it.

Justin: Let me show you a few things

Todd (VO): He's selling a better image.

Macklemore: Passin' up on those moccasins someone else's been walkin' in
But me and grungy fuckin it man

Todd: Well, I'm torn.

Todd (VO): Oh, Justin, you're so suave and classy. Oh, Macklemore, you're so new and hip.

Todd: This is tough.


Todd (VO): Okay, now obviously if I'm going to choose a style to emulate, it's gotta be one that I can afford.

Todd: Quite frankly, if you got one guy bragging about how super-expensive and fancy his clothes are...on its own, that's just gonna rub me the wrong way, like...who does this jerk think he is?

Wanz: I'm gonna pop some tags
Only got twenty dollars in my pocket

Todd (VO): [mocking] Ooh, look at me, I'm Mr. Fancy Pants, I carry actual money, I buy my clothes instead of finding them abandoned on the side of the road. Pfft. Quit bragging, dude.

Todd: That's to say nothing of Justin's. Yeah, maybe I should just throw that criterion out. Well, I guess we could rate them on who makes the best first impression. Okay, Justin, what do you have to say for yourself?

"Suit & Tie" starts
Justin: Ooh
I be on my...

Todd (VO): Okay, looks like we're starting with a slow buildup. And,, uh...

Todd: Wait, what is he saying?

Justin: I be on my suit and tie, shit tie, shit tie

Todd (VO): I cannot be hearing that right. "Shit tie, shit tie."

Justin: I be on my suit and tie, shit tie, shit

Todd (VO): Hey, maybe I can have Justin's style after all.

Todd: I got a few [four ties featuring Garfield, Shrek, the Three Stooges, and guitars] shit ties. Yeah. Am I really that hard to buy birthday presents for? Pfft. Thanks, everybody. And Macklemore, what's your first line in your song?

Macklemore: Walk up to the club like, "What up, I got a big cock!"

Todd: [long pause] I can't argue with that. Point, Macklemore.

Todd (VO): I'm not sure I can pull that off. But Justin's whole song is operating on a very high level of flashy "look at me" coolness. Like, he's out dancing with his girl, attracting attention, throwing compliments, like...look how suave he is.

Justin: Hey baby, we don't mind all the watching, ha
Cause if they study close, real close
They might learn something

Todd: Nice.

Justin: And I'll burn myself, but just had to touch it

Todd: I like to believe that he did one of these, [points finger at tongue and out] "ssss!" and actually pulled it off because he's Justin Timberlake.

Justin: Stop, let me get a good look at it
Oh, so thick, now I know why they call it a fatty

Record scratches to a halt

Todd: Did...was he talking about her ass?

Justin: So thick

Todd (VO): Okay, now, first he called it thick, which is already walking right up to the line. And then you say she's a fatty? No, no, not even that. It was, "I know why they call it a fatty," so everybody's talking about it.

Todd: Yeah, I don't think even Justin can pull that off. Okay, I think Macklemore might actually be outclassing him here with,'s it go again?

Macklemore: Walk up to the club like, "What up, I got a big cock!"

Todd: [beat] Do they call that a fatty?

Wanz: I'm gonna pop some tags

Todd (VO): Okay, what about the beat? Well, I'd like to say that "Thrift Shop" isn't just a tribute to buying cheap threads, it''s also just a fun, cool song to listen to.

Wanz: I'm gonna pop some tags

Todd (VO): That swunking sax and that killer hook. "Thrift Shop" is actually a pretty decent dance song on its own. I'm not sure it's better than Justin's, though, which is all blissed-out retro cool. Timberlake is practically an elder statesman of music at this point, and is making efforts to sound like it, beginning his inevitable transformation into [picture of...] Michael Buble. He hasn't hit that quite yet, but he's working with a whole lot of old school here. Like, the video is scotch and cigars, Rat Pack, the song is part swing, part 70s, and a chop-and-suey intro straight from 2006. In fact, I think Justin might be doing more retro shopping than Macklemore here. The best comparison I can think of is [clip of "Step in the Name of Love" by...] R. Kelly, who at his peak, treaded that same line between modern and classic smoothness.

Todd: Of course, Macklemore also invokes R. Kelly.

Macklemore: Draped in a leopard mink, girls standin' next to me
Probably shoulda washed this, smells like R. Kelly's sheets
[Whisper] Piiisssssss

Todd: Okay, point, Justin.

Todd (VO): Apparently, in the thrift shop, you can also buy retro, vintage R. Kelly jokes from 2003.

Todd: I...I think that's my problem with "Thrift Shop". I have no idea how seriously I'm supposed to take it.

Todd (VO): "Thrift Shop" is a silly song, maybe too silly. It's the kind of first hit that usually dooms artists to one-hit-wonderdom. Although Macklemore already has a [clip of "Can't Hold Us"] second hit, thus saving me the opportunity to wrongly predict that he won't.

Todd: Whew.

Todd (VO): Like, on one hand, having your own fashion sense is cool, and half the time, he makes what he's wearing actually sound awesome. But...

Todd: ...on the other...

Macklemore: I'll take those flannel zebra jammies, second-hand, I rock that motherfucker
The built-in onesie with the socks on that motherfucker

Todd: No matter how I stretch my mind, I can't make footie pajamas sound like something I'd wanna wear. And, uh...

Macklemore: They had a broken keyboard, I bought a broken keyboard

Todd: Why?

Todd (VO): What are gonna do with it? Club someone over the head with it so you can steal their working keyboard?

Macklemore: I bought a skeet blanket

Todd: A sk... [shot of Urban Dictionary definition: "a blanket that a male uses to jack off into."] Why do you need a blanket, actually, do not clarify that, please.

Todd (VO): The other problem is that there's only so much you can say about shopping for used clothes.

Macklemore: I'ma take your grandpa's style, I'ma take your grandpa's style,
No for real

Todd: Right, there is that.

Macklemore: Thank your granddad for donating that plaid

Todd: Right, you could say it again.

Wanz: I'll wear your granddad's clothes

Todd: A few more times.

Wanz: I'll wear your granddad's clothes
Macklemore: Your grammy, your aunty, your momma, your mammy
I'll take those

Todd: Maybe one more, pretty sure.

Brooklyn Grinnell: Is that your grandma's coat?

Todd: Come on, you can do better than that, Macklemore.

Todd (VO): Honestly, the more I listen to this, the more I prefer the other guy. Like, you only have this guy Wanz, he's got a cool voice. But as far as guests go, Justin's got Jay-Z, who, at this point, has reached Snoop Dogg's level of "the less I try, the cooler I get."

Justin: Hey
Get out your seat, Hov

Todd: Justin, no matter how famous you get, you don't tell Jay-Z to stand up.

Todd (VO): Jay-Z will stay in his seat until he's good and ready to stand.

Jay-Z: This is truffle season
Tom Ford tuxedos for no reason

Todd: Yes, Jay-Z has officially become Jack Donaghy.

Clip from 30 Rock
Liz: Why are you wearing a tux?!
Jack: It's after 6:00. What am I, a farmer?
Jay-Z: Tell your mother that I love her cause I love you
Tell your father we go farther as a couple
They ain't lose a daughter, got a son
I show you how to do this, huh, uhh!

Todd (VO): So cool. Well, shit, Macklemore. I guess I'm on the side of Justin on this one.

Todd: I mean, I like ya, but you just got too many dumb jokes on your side of it. I mean, do you actually have anything to say that would earn my respect?

Macklemore: They be like, "Oh, that Gucci - that's hella tight."
I'm like, "Yo - that's fifty dollars for a T-shirt."
Limited edition, let's do some simple addition
Fifty dollars for a T-shirt - that's just some ignorant bitch (shit!)
I call that -

Todd: [long pause] Sir, you have my undying loyalty.

Macklemore: I call that getting swindled and pimped (shit!)
I call that getting tricked by a business

Todd: You're totally right. It is stupid to spend that much on clothes! Yes, being a slave to trends is completely lame! After, what, twenty years of overspending in hip hop, it is so nice to have someone come in and tell people, "yes, you are getting ripped off, and that's just dumb!" Like, even if I disagree with him, I like this song because no one else says it. And it's not gonna get ya laid!

Macklemore: That shirt's hella dough
And having the same one as six other people in this club is a hella don't

Todd: Oh, God, that's so embarrassing. I came into the club wearing the same shirt as another guy. God, I just wanna die.

Todd (VO): Oh, God, yes, yes, yes. Oh my God, that feels good. I take back everything.

Todd: So, final conclusion, which is better? Hmm.

Todd (VO): Macklemore...Justin...Macklemore...Justin...

Todd: Actually, why do I have to choose? Can I just have both of them? They're the only good things on the radio at all!


Todd (VO): Like, what do I have to choose from besides these two guys? What else is good?

Clips of Maroon 5 - "Daylight", performed on The Voice
Adam Levine: The daylight...

Todd (VO): Boring.

Rihanna ft. Mikky Ekko - "Stay"
Mikky: I want you to say

Todd (VO): Boring!

Bruno Mars - "When I Was Your Man"
Bruno: Now my baby's dancing

Todd (VO): Boring!

Drake - "Started from the Bottom"
Drake: Started from the bottom now we're here

Todd (VO): Boring!

Todd: No, I refuse to take sides here. These aren't just the only...


Todd (VO): ...good songs right now, they're the only interesting ones too, this and Macklemore's other song.

Todd: Yeah, I'm not gonna pick. So why don't I just split the difference and buy myself a suit and tie at the thrift shop. [Picture of black-lined yellow pimp jacket with hat] Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. I am totally gonna go down there and buy me a... no, no, I'm gonna keep wearing the same outfit I always wear. But you see, yeah, both songs are great. [Gets up and leaves] Only good things on the radio, all. Why is everything crappy lately? Jeez.

Wanz: This is fucking awesome
Justin's video ends

Closing tag song: ZZ Top - "Sharp Dressed Man"

"Thrift Shop" is owned by Macklemore LLC
"Suit & Tie" is owned by RCA Records
This video is owned by me

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