Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Listen: Jessie and The Toy Boys - 'Naughty'

About two weeks ago I posted a few ideas on career planning strategies in an open letter to Jessie Malakouti of Jessie and The Toy Boys. My main talking point involved releasing the fantastic "Money Makes the Girl Go 'Round" as a single, now that she's fresh off a wildly successful run opening for Britney Spears on the Femme Fatale Tour. I also brought up a few additional ideas for moves that could maximize her exposure and maintain her momentum, including a particular personal cause:
"Cough up a recording of “Naughty” already. Those who had the fortune of seeing you perform it on the Femme Fatale Tour will want to purchase it for a mere dollar without question. Those who did not get to see said tour (and thereby this song) want to HEAR the damn song and for that opportunity they will surely cough up a buck twenty-nine without blinking (probably two or three bucks for a mini-EP with a remix or two thrown in)...I speak as one who knows that pain. *spinning maniacally a la Neve Campbell/Ana Faris* WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, HUH? WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!?!?!?!?!"


Jessie and the Toy Boys - Naughty by headphonesupiii

Jessie has been touring hard over the long weekend from Northern California to Las Vegas and neither she nor her camp has confirmed anything (or mentioned its existence, for that matter), but from what I can tell it sounds pretty much legit - and it's pretty much terrific, to be honest. It's classic Jessie and The Toy Boys in just about every way, from its rich electronic production to the unabashedly carnal (and sometimes deliciously crass) lyrics ("Hold-na-na your banana, dip, dip, dip, dip, dip it in my milkshake") and Jessie's trademark vocals, which hop back and forth between exaggerated, almost grotesque cuteness and eager, earnest balladeering.

If that last part reminded you of another blonde pop singer whose name has also come up in this piece, you're not alone. I think if Britney ever did get to show-oh-oh all the di-i-irt she had running through her mind and wrote a song about it, it might sound a bit like this. In fact, I had originally written that "the whole thing sounds very Britney," but after a few more plays I'd crossed it out. "Naughty" does have a hefty Britney vibe that's not been present on other Jessie and The Toy Boys tracks (especially on the second chorus (around 1:09)...you'll know it when you hear it), as well as undertones of Ke$ha (it's essentially an explicit version of "(Fuck Him) He's A DJ") and Michael Jackson (moments of '80s-inspired production are more noticeable when he's name-dropped in the second verse), but ultimately, this isn't a song you've heard before. Isn't that refreshing?

Jessie and the Toy Boys isn't necessarily my favorite potential pop contender out there, but while listening to "Naughty," for which I have waited so very long - and surprisingly I am in no way disappointed - I couldn't help thinking "man, we need to get her working with Max Martin!"  I would really like to have a female pop star who can chant "hands, hands up, put your fuckin' hands up" without it seeming forced or pandering. I feel like Jessie and The Damn Toy Boys whose name I hate typing out so much but will of course not be likely to forget so well played Ms. Malakouti could really be a rocket in the current pop climate: she's got a lot in common with Ke$ha, but not to the extent that they would compete for the same slot; at the same time there's the willingness to be explicitly explicit, for which pop has to borrow Nicki Minaj because we don't have anyone like that; she's a talented and clever songwriter like Katy Perry and has the musical aptitude and pop-music-as-performance-art awareness of Lady Gaga.

In any event, "flip me like a pancake" is big improvement over "steaming like a pot full of vegetables..." Shouldn't that buy Jessie and the Toy Boys at least a Sabi's chance?
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