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"Holy Grail" – the end of life as I know it (music review)

What… what the hell?

I presume that at this point, you’ve listened to "Holy Grail," the new jam dropped by Jay Z (featuring Justin Timberlake?!?) and have, accordingly, beheld that which occurs at about the one minute mark. This, to me, (along with the incessant use of ‘uh!’) is baffling.

Now the word "baffling" may imply something I have no intention of conveying, so let me first clear up exactly how I feel about "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

I’ll just say it… this song kinda sucks ass.

I know, I know, "Blasphemy!" you shout, but… just listen to it. Sure, it has some cool sounds and it was sorta different at the time, but frankly, this song has aged like the neatly coiled piles my dogs leave in the backyard do if I don’t clean them up – meaning, it has now turned to dust. This song is boring, and when you look up the word ‘repetitive’ in the dictionary, it should just say, "see ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’" because holy hell, it’s just the same thing over and over again. and it’s not much to begin with. When you couple this with the fact that the only lyrics I can understand are "bring your friends," "hello" and "here we are now," and of course, "acting stupid," you have a recipe for ambient.

Weird Al knows what I’m talking about:

Or, suffice to say, I don’t have any nostalgia for this song at all and never really liked it much in the first place.

Which brings us back to "Holy Grail."

Back in the day, songs used to sample stuff from the 70s and 80s, and these were generally songs I didn’t already know – observe:

But now, Jay Z has gone and sampled* one of the most popular songs ever… and there’s not even that much to sample. The hook to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" just isn’t much of a melody, and I have to wonder if he recorded the first minute plus of the song and thought, "Huh. Now what?" Hence the Justin Timberlake segment, because musically, that section of the song… it sounds like a totally different song. Square peg, round hole… Sure, jamming two songs together is doable, but unless you’re the Beatles, I’d stay away from this strategy.

As nonsensical as I find this song, it’s also just disturbing for me that the practice of sampling old songs has caught up to stuff they played at my junior high school dances. I already knew I was old, but stop rubbing it in! Damn, Jay Z, you’re bald too! I thought we were cool!

Anyway, this song has inspired me to start saying "Uh!" between every sentence.

*I suppose this is technically not a sample given that they do not use the original recording… but whtaever.

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About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of CreativeJamie.com and BomberBanter.com

Posted on November 15, 2013, in music reviews and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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