When I first heardHot Chelle Rae's summer hit "Tonight Tonight,"
I assumed that the pop-rock band came from the West Coast. Young, sun-drenched energy? A bit of naivete? Apathetic pop hooks? Check, check and check. Also: They name-checked the Hollywood sign.
Turns out I was wrong. Hot Chelle Rae hails from another sweltering center of phony pop music: Nashville, Tennessee.
No surprise here, then: Unlike the Pete Rodriguez song that shares the title, Hot Chelle Rae's latest single, "I Like It Like That," ain't got no soul.
The track, which features a piano chord coupled with Nintendo-like noises, is filled with cliché lines, starting from its very first words: "Let's get it on." To its credit, it has fewer throwaway cultural references than "Tonight Tonight" did, with iPhones and "the Academy" being the only two this time around. But that's not really a strong defense for this song.
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Neither is the fact that, for a bit of street cred, the song features a little assistance from rap duo New Boyz. Their contribution is meager, with the guys simply repeating a couple of the band's lines -- like "till the break of dawn" and another line about losing their phone.
This group is a great example of how pop-rock music is packaged for today's youth -- and how much even that has changed since such groups of my generation, like Blink-182 and Lit.
With the canned electronic sounds, preoccupation with partying and mediocre songcraft, I think Hot Chelle Rae is the band equivalent of a certain other solo Nashville music-industry brat.
Hard to like that too much.