Free Single Review: Porcelain Black, “This Is What Rock N’ Roll Looks Like”
Let’s consider for a moment what Lil Wayne apparently thinks rock music is.
A few years ago he contributed a guest verse to “Let It Rock,” the debut single from producer-turned-singer Kevin Rudolf. “Let It Rock” isn’t really a “traditional” rock song in any sense; it’s more of a typical club banger that happens to feature power chords. The song itself is okay, but I really bring it up because it seems like the seeds of Weezy’s ill-fated attempts at crossing over were planted within that track. Ever since that song came out, he’s been trying to add rock elements to his usual rap and AutoTune pop and… well, let’s just say it hasn’t really worked out.
In January of 2010 Lil Wayne unleashed Rebirth to a world that had been dreading its arrival since the day it was announced. The album had been delayed so often that by the time it finally came out its lead single “Prom Queen,” which is already a strong contender for worst song of the decade, was all but a distant memory. The critics, of course, completely eviscerated it – and rightfully so; Rebirth was a total disaster.
Rebirth was a rock album made by someone who had no clue how to make rock music – hell, he could barely even play two notes on the guitar – but tried anyway because nobody was going to tell him, “Dude, this is a really bad idea.” It was filled with extremely overproduced guitars, cheesy solos, and quite possibly the worst singing I’ve ever heard from a major-label artist. This is probably an unfair distinction to give it – Lil Wayne was, after all, a rapper using excessive amounts of AutoTune, but it was his idea to let us hear him warbling like a whiny robot and so he must pay the penalty.
Flash forward to April of 2011, when the iTunes single of the week comes from a young lady calling herself Porcelain Black. She’s the latest addition to Lil Wayne’s Young Money record label, and her debut single “This Is What Rock N’ Roll Looks Like” features Lil Wayne and is another attempt to bring rock sounds to club bangers. And, uh… it doesn’t really work.
I think the thing that irritates me the most about this song is Porcelain Black’s singing itself. She has a very rough and scratchy voice, but it might actually be too rough. She sounds like she’s trying too hard to sound tough and instead her voice sounds strained and overprocessed. You want to know the first comparison I thought of when I listened to this song for the first time? Imagine how someone like Chad Kroeger might have sounded if he’d been born a she. Oh yeah. I just went there.
So what, pray tell, does she think rock and roll looks like? I… I’m actually not even sure. There isn’t really anything in the lyrics that describes what rock and roll is supposed to look like. There’s a line about “wearing leather and lace” and that’s pretty much it. I guess maybe she’s trying to tell us that she herself looks like rock and roll. Personally I think she kind of looks like Hot Topic’s answer to Ke$ha, but that sounds more like what the Disney Channel might think rock and roll looks like.
I’ve never really thought of rock and roll as having a particular “style” about it anyway. In fact, it seems kind of silly to think there’s only one way to look like rock and roll. I mean, you don’t see Lady Gaga going around in her ridiculous outfit du jour and saying, “Hey, this is what pop music looks like!”
As far as I can make out, “This Is What Rock N’ Roll Looks Like” is really about trying to paint Porcelain Black as the new up-and-coming hard-rocking rebel who’s totally dangerous and will start a fight if you piss her off… but, you know, she’s not too dangerous for MTV. Remember when Avril Lavigne first came out and they tried to sell her as some kind of “punk rock girl” who dates “sk8er bois” and wears neckties and baggy pants and covers Metallica songs and doesn’t like preppy people, even though she’s actually about as punk rock as Hannah Montana? This is giving me that same kind of vibe. The difference is that here you can hear pseudo-industrial power chords pounding away in the background, which is pretty much the only thing making this any different from your typical synth-heavy dance track.
So do you know what all this stuff means? It means it falls to YOU, Lil Wayne, to try and salvage this song and keep it from being completely forgettable! Please… I’m practically begging you… please don’t sing! And try not to half-ass the guest verse!
I-I-I-I need a cigarette and a bad bitch
Come be my soccer ball and get your ass kicked
I like my pizza cold, I like my glass full
I don’t like bullshit, but I like Red Bull
I smell like Guns N’ Roses, I look like money bitch
I taste like rock n’ roll, I make her lick her lips
And all the drama’s dead, I’m in the past life
I forgot her name, but I remember last night
You can do what you do
I done did enough
I’m on that gangsta shit
I don’t give a fuck, Weezy!
Aaaaaaaaaaaaand what do you know, he half-assed the guest verse. Thanks, Weezy.