The Singles Bar: Neon Hitch, “Bad Dog”
Posted by Reviewson 07/18/2011 at 1:37 PM
How the music-executive and songwriterly parts of the world conspire to make the rest of the world care about Neon Hitch: find a girl with a wacky circus backstory that’s too good for flaks to invent, then get her collaborating first with B-listers like Professor Green (a British rapper and trust us, a B-lister) and then the passel of A-listers who work with producer/living embodiment of the lowest common denominator Benny Blanco.
Now that her resume’s padded with such lowbrow, high-charting credits like backing vocalist on Ke$ha’s “Blah Blah Blah” and involvement with 3OH!3 songs, as well as some Sky Ferreira and Kara DioGuardi collaborations that deserve to keep different company, and now that she’s made requisite appearances at Lollapalooza and SXSW, it’s time for her big solo break! This is “Bad Dog,” the song the world wants you to jam by way of the world likely jamming it into your life at every opportunity. It is also absolutely terrible. Listen below–we had to:
There are ways to make dog metaphors work. The Cardigans made it work, for instance, with “I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need To Be Nicer.” It’s an excellent example, because it gets two things right that “Bad Dog” gets preposterously wrong. First, the key lyric of the song is “I’m a pitbull, you’re a dog.” In other words, both parties to the relationship are animals. Second, it limits its metaphor to the pre-chorus and a few silly-but-passing ad-libs in the intro. The title doesn’t even mention dogs! See, good harmless fun.
Now compare “Bad Dog.” The song’s produced by Benny Blanco, which means subtlety, restraint and transcendence are off the table in favor of beat-’em-up bloops and the smears of poorly deployed autotune. Neon Hitch’s voice wants to land between Ke$ha and Britney, which should sound fantastic but ends up labored and overwrought, prone to really bad ideas like turning a pitched-up “woof!” into what’s supposed to be a come-on. The “like oh, oh”‘s in the chorus ground-pound the bar even lower than the subterranean level at which Usher and will.i.am’s “booty like pow pow pow” and Miley Cyrus’s “nodding my head like yeah” placed it.
But these are minor problems compared to the premise of the song, which in case you were stuck on the tiny details is all about comparing the guy you’re fucking brashly to a dog and threatening to shoot him if the fucking isn’t brash enough. This is a bestiality metaphor. It is a euthanasia metaphor. Neither bestiality nor euthanasia are sexy. The idea that someone conceived this idea, someone wrote that idea down, someone else sang it, multiple production engineers and record-label executives passed it along without objection and multiple blogs posted it without comment is disgusting. The metaphor doesn’t even work–so Neon Hitch caught the bad dog, who sprouts hands during the chorus, but she too is in a cage, except that she can put the dog down from that cage, with sudden licorice revenge and poisonous kisses and prayer and already I’ve put more thought into the songwriting than anyone involved. If “Bad Dog” becomes a hit, the world has no standards and ought to be more ashamed of itself than any salacious punishment Neon Hitch and company can inflict on any (dear god please) hypothetical dog.
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