“Praising the Radio Songs”, Part 2
Titanium - David Guetta (feat. Sia)
Sometime between the Crookers remix of Kid Cudi’s “Day N Night”, Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance”, and Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop the Music”, American Pop music got infected with the 4/4. This trend has not exactly been meet with the most welcome arms from critics (fain caring about K-Pop insert here), fans and even my own parents who kept repeating the mantra that all these songs sound the same, not being able to distinguish between a Flo Rida, Rihanna, The Wanted, or Chris Brown. This perceived problem in pop music needs a fall man, and the one who has shouldered the brunt of the blame has been David Guetta.
David Guetta had been DJing for decades, but in the last decade he started releasing increasingly popular albums in France. In the summer of 2009 he released “When the Love Takes Over” with Kelly Rowland and “Sexy Bitch” with Akon, which got his name on people’s tongues in America. But, his career soared with “I Gotta Feeling”, which was not even his own song, but collaboration with the Black Eyed Peas, where this once hip-hop group completed their transformation into everyone’s least favorite corporate Electro group. Since, that summer Pop radio stations have excised the Rap music (and even other forms of Pop) with this Guetta indebted Eurohouse.
Personally, I’ve come around to this change in Pop music, because in combination with the rise of EDM from the semi-underground to headlining major summer festivals has given this decade a musical identity (which the 2000s according to random college freshman never had). Guetta’s singles from his latest album, “Where the Girls At”, “Little Bad Girl” and “Without You” were not exactly my favorite songs that have come from this trend. They were too predictable and the star guests Usher, Nicki Minaj, and Flo Rida had done similar songs before to better effect. But, for me the lesser known Sia was able to outshine her better known peers in her collaboration with Guetta.
“Titanium” the EDM ballad with the help of Sia’s voal performance finds a way to deviate from the usually 2010s EDM Pop formula. The opening guitar strums doesn’t rush into the immediate the fist pumping action of most Guetta songs. In fact it’s nearly a third of the way through the song, before that release is felt and hands would want to be raised. But, after that 15 second release Sia’s voice and the guitar goes back to the forefront. To the song’s credit the 4/4 stomp never takes complete control once introduced. A simple verse-chorus-verse structure is established here instead of an alternative closer to ver-cho-se-rus-verse, where the individual parts of the song are lost in the sameness of the overblown synths and bass. That simplicity makes is probably lost listening to the radio where every song starts to bleed into each other, but Sia powerful voice and a bit of restraint of Guetta’s part keep this song from getting lost in afternoon traffic mixes.