Sometimes, you have to wonder if certain collaborations don’t just scream “Stop! Don’t do it! Terrible idea!” And then you wonder if anyone else can see it, or if music producers are maybe just impervious to perceiving bad ideas. And no idea, none, screams disaster from the top of its sad, non-existent little lungs that matching up Wonder Girls and Akon. This is probably the worst idea since Kanye got a guest verse on Katy Perry’s E.T. – the two just don’t seem like a mix that’s going to mesh well. At yet, someone thought, with their superior money-making judgement, that this was a match made in music heaven, or at least good enough to sell to the general public.
So, will the English-language Like Money defy all expectations and be a million dollar hit, or will it continue the trend of bankrupt songs coming from this previously successful group? Let’s take a look.
Here’s the music video:
See, big problem one is, of course, the lyrics. I don’t mind the material girl-schtick, where girls sing about how they are more precious than gold, ergo, boy, you better give up the goods lest she leave you. But it only works when it’s cleverly written, or done with a hint of sarcasm or cynicism. This song has none of that. They sing is so straight-faced that they just come off as both disinterested and shallow. There’s no charm to it, there’s just soulless materialism, something we haven’t seen really from this group before so it just feels out of character. It all breaks down to this: “I am the most special star in the sky, love me like all these fancy, fancy things and give me all your stuff cause that’s true love.” Again, a song like that is fine every-so-often but it’s inclusion in the Wonder Girls repertoire just seems like a bit of a sell-out.
Not to mention, this is the worst analogy ever. “Love me like money, love me like cars” ? Yes, love me like the paper currency that you constantly spend away and accidently put in the washer by mistake, and like the automobiles you can totally destroy and after ten years have to get a new one anyways in order to stay current. It’s like what ToddintheShadows said about Katy Perry’s Firework - comparing a human being to a bright flash of light that everyone soon forgets about is a terrible metaphor. Similarly, telling your boyfriend to love you like something highly valuable but also something that has a limited span – you don’t just keep money, you spend it, otherwise keeping it around for no good reason essentially takes away all that value.
Akon’s verse has nothing, zilch, zip, zero, nada to do with the song itself. It’s all about how you shouldn’t listen to your jealous girlfriends and that you should trust Akon more…I’m sorry but that was an issue? When was there any mention of this in the previous like minute of the song. What sucks is that he takes up a sizable portion of the song: I guarantee this isn’t getting any American radio-air time, so his guest verse only detracts from the enjoyment by fans, who tuned into it to, you know, listen to the Wonder Girls sing. Why include Akon at all? Did they really think his “super-star” status would add anything to the value of this track?
The intro to the music video is a little cliched but fun since its playing with a futuristic Tron-esque theme. The whole robot-singers isn’t new but the graphics look great and the introduction is a mix of creepy (the good kind, mind you) and cinematic. If this intro had been before a strong song like Be My Baby or even something like Tell Me. But there’s such a disconnect between the theme of the video and the lyrics. I know this is over-analyzing but why would robot women care about love? Or money? Why not do a video a la Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend? That would be a more logical set up.
Still, I got to praise the music video for being so beautiful. The colors are clean and bright, futuristic without the awful sterile Apple look that appears in so many sci-fi films now. The shots of the girls as robots are imaginative as well as incredibly detailed, and even the dance reflects this robotic new nature. The dance in itself isn’t really a stand-alone feature and I doubt anyone’s going to go out of their way to learn it. The costumes range from skin-tight chic to something you’d expect to find in a 1960s B-grade Scifi film. Still, I can’t help but find the video entertaining – maybe it’s the geek in me.
The song itself, sans lyrics and video, is just your bland generic pop-hip-hop fair – a standard beat, very much a song you’d hear at a club. What’s worse is that even with songs that are less than stellar, Wonder Girls always produces something catchy but this is song is barely memorable. Even now I can barely recall how it goes, which doesn’t do much when sales are low.
Like Money just goes to prove what a bad year this for the Wonder Girls. Unoriginal, uninventive, and overall just a bland track whose video is the only admirable thing about it. And I’m not the only one who hates this song – only peaking on the charts at 14, this song has fallen out of favor quickly, despite being released in this July. Ultimately, if they don’t pull a hit out of a magic hat somehow, this could lead to the death of their career in the long run. You just can’t compete like this in a market where groups are able to produce tracks of higher quality, not when there are so many of successful groups. Here’s hoping they can finish out the year strong!