In Defense of ... LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem"


I'm guessing most people who read my "The Problem With..." column think that I loathe all pop music as processed drivel that appeals to the unwashed masses. 

Well, believe it or not, I actually like a lot of that drivel. Hence this new column, "In Defense of...," which will highlight some of the pop music that I happen to like. And why. 

I heard LMFAO's "Shots" with Lil Jon a couple of years ago. Not having seen the guys, I imagined they were a hybrid rock/hip-hop group, like N.E.R.D. or Shwayze. Then I saw LMFAO in the video for "Shots." These two dudes displayed folly and self-satisfaction that recalled the stale humor of the Bloodhound Gang and Cobra Starship. 

I didn't LMFAO at all. I LOLWUT'ed. 

LMFAO's new single, "Party Rock Anthem," has been around since January, but it managed to creep up to No. 1 on a few charts last month. The duo still comes off as a gimmick in "Party Rock," sure. But the track has become a guilty pleasure of mine. 

It's bewildering how the same people who plagued us with The Black Eyed Peas took the same Euro-house template and made something good with it. It's fairly consistent, lacking the sloppy "switch-ups" that BEP uses to hide that they ran out of ideas for a track. 

This track has other redeeming features. First is the catchy vocal melody in the chorus. The higher notes in this melody actually sound like singing instead of the yelling heard in other vocal melodies. 

Second is the track's emphasis on shuffling, a dance style that's just fun to watch. Fun fact about shuffling: Its predecessor was the Running Man from the late '80s. I have a theory about its decline in America, aside from the awful music paired with it. It might be our emphasis on the upper body. I notice that the pop-lock dancers in America's Best Dance Crew move their arms and shoulders first then work downwards. It's in our sports too: Check out this play from the '85 Chicago Bears. Not a lotta footwork there. Anywho, the Running Man survived by hiding in Australia's rave scene, probably because of some kangaroo DNA that emphasizes footwork. It was absorbed into the Melbourne Shuffle and spread through the rest of the world, (where they play soccer, by the way). "Party Rock" might represent the return of fancy footwork to American dancing, and I like what the video shows of it. 

Plus, there's a healthy sense of humor involved in the whole thing. Now, I wouldn't call LMFAO the best joke music group out there. Lonely Island and Das Racist own them. But the duo has certainly left a good mark in music with this track. 

"Party Rock Anthem" might eventually grate on me, as it has with a lot of listeners. For now, though, I'm gonna keep shuffling.

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Tonzo B
Tonzo B

Luciana Caporaso did a verse for a re-edit. Awesome.

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