No Trivia

“Girls (Who Run The World)” vs. “Ass On The Floor”


Yes, this new Beyonce song is disappointing, but her strategy for the last two albums has been to first drop a “meh” single (because people will still listen and radio will still play it no matter what) and save the better stuff for when the album is out or 5 months after it dropped. B’Day’s first single was the “Crazy In Love” retread “Deja Vu,” and the second, the edgy Kelis rip-off “Ring The Alarm.” The third single was ” Irreplaceable.” Though it was officially released at the same time as “Single Ladies,” the first song we heard from I Am…Sasha Fierce was the boilerplate, double-standard ballad “If I Were A Boy.” The last time Beyonce came out swinging was on her solo debut with “Crazy In Love,” and that was because she had to.

“Girls (Who Run The World)” at least finds Beyonce a little closer to the cutting-edge, playing off the steady ubiquity of Major Lazer’s “Pon De Floor” and the mega-success of Diplo and Afrojack’s production for Chris Brown “Look At Me Now.” In a sense, Beyonce’s attempting what M.I.A could, and should be doing, if she could actually hack it as pop star–and if the industry weren’t so afraid of female pop stars with opinions. So yes, a comforting, zeitgeist-grabbing first single, complete with motivational lyrics is exactly what Beyonce’s supposed to do and everyone needs to be okay with that. It is a bummer though, that the beat is so weak: A “Pon De Floor” rehash with a backing track that crams a whole bunch of synthy radio sounds together. “Girls (Who Run The World)” feels undercooked and cynical.

Diddy-Dirty Money’s Swizz Beatz-produced “Ass On The Floor,” does so much more with the “Pon De Floor” drums. Swizz and Diddy know that even though it’s all about those off-kilter catchy drums, the rest needs to be fleshed-out if it’s to be peddled to regular-ass people, who intuitively grasp the core elements of dance music much better than a producer/ DJ making music for a contingent of likeminded, solipsistic dance music nerds. So, Swizz puffs up “Pon De Floor” with more percussion, and then, smooths it out with fluttering synths and subtle vocoder, and scores the song’s break-up back and forth with electronic strings. Like “Girls (Who Run The World),” “Ass On The Floor” is a song of goofy platitudes, but it’s also tinged with this very-real sense of post-relationship anger in the Dirty Money “pop” verses (“you motherfucker”) and it all builds to Diddy’s verse, which is wounded, knowing, narcissism. Once Diddy’s verse fades out, Dirty Money return, as do those just gorgeous swooping Phillip Glass-goes-disco strings. It’s an epic moment that expresses the frustrations Diddy couldn’t fully figure out with words, and gives the song’s cast some hope for clarity and maybe even, reconciliation.

Swizz Beatz the art-collecting, A.D.D producer who sampled Daft Punk before Kanye, who sliced and diced Justice into a hit for Jay Z, seems to always be just a little ahead of his time. And Diddy? A few years ahead, obsessively working out a way to incorporate house and trance into navel-gazing broken-hearted dance pop for so damned long that he was lapped by Kanye,, and much of the industry, but was still, just a little too early for this post-dubstep, Diplo-on-the-radio trend.

Written by Brandon

April 23rd, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Posted in Beyonce, Diddy, Diplo, vs.

8 Responses to '“Girls (Who Run The World)” vs. “Ass On The Floor”'

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  1. The funniest thing about this comparison was that I forgot that “Ass on the Floor” even sampled that Major Lazer song. Same with the Justice sample on “On to the Next One”, Swizz Beatz alters the original sample so much that I barely even hear the sample source. I guess Swizz and Diddy being ahead of the curve on trends rap fans don’t really like does not end up counting for too much in the end.

    As for “Girls” I have yet to hear it on the radio, but the lack of a clear defined “chorus” makes me want to hear it next to current pop hits. There is a chorus and easy to remember hook, but there is so much that happens that I almost feel lost listening to the song not really knowing what is going to come next. That could be a good thing, but for a pop song the lack of structure is slightly jarring even more so when all of the different elements are coming from a song that has been played and remixed to death.


    23 Apr 11 at 9:33 pm

  2. Yeah, it seems like a ton of people forgot about “Ass On The Floor” and Major Lazer. Diddy especially, really gets fucked or ignored on this stuff. He’s pretty much responsible for how rap sampling sounded in the 2000s and not only the “bad” stuff but like what Kanye or Just Blaze or Heatmakerz were doing.

    Yeah, I wonder if “Girls” will take on a “HAM” quality on the radio of just being so weird and different. At the same time, “Pon De Floor” is just so familiar, what’s the point here? We’ll see.


    24 Apr 11 at 2:51 am

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