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Music Review: 3OH!3 – Want (Deluxe Edition)

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Colorado’s 3OH!3 has been gathering steam amongst the teen squealers for a little while thanks in large part to their frat boy swagger and wannabe hip-hop swagger. It’s all intended in good fun, apparently, but these two Boulder slims come across artificial and downright irritating.

Released in the summer of 2008, Want exposed a broader audience to what Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte were up to. And now, thanks to a new remix of “Starstrukk” featuring the one and only Katy Perry, Want is making the rounds again in the form of a deluxe edition.

It’s easy to discard this sophomore record, released on Photo Finish Records, as meandering, monotonous muck. There are so many riffs on the hip-hop genre that it’s a little hard to take at times, as the procedure smells more like botched contempt and less like legitimate art. While I’m certainly all for a brush of comedy in music, 3OH!3 seems categorically outdated in their limp attempts at humour and style.

Musically, Want is pretty subpar stuff. Songs play with punk, rap and electro-pop without ever achieving the magic of the suggested synthesis. Instead, it’s like a science experiment gone nowhere: no explosion, no gross liquid, no nothing. Without the tenaciously unpleasant and childish lyrics, these bloody tunes just simply (and scarcely) exist.

Lyrically, it’s hard to tell if dear Nathaniel and Sean know what irony is or if they bathe in it like an eigth grader's cologne. Tracks attempt some mild form of “depth,” like the embarrassingly emo “Still Around,” but for the most part it’s all vomit-caked idiocy.

Take the big flashy single, “Don’t Trust Me,” for instance. The boys attempt a really, really old-fashioned Helen Keller line, sadly failing in an era of Family Guy and South Park, and the basic refrain of “Don’t trust a ho, never trust a ho” sounds gaudy with all the backing wailing and electro-tweeting.

The swirling techno of “Starstrukk” featuring Katy Perry, which appears on the deluxe edition of Want, is still annoying thanks to that stupid whistling, but at least Perry adds another dynamic to the song that diminishes some of the frat boy bullshit.

The deluxe edition also features a Benny Blanco remix of “Don’t Trust Me” that locks in the talents of Kid Cudi and uses his swaggering tone to make things halfway interesting.

The basic problem with 3OH!3 and Want’s deluxe edition is that it’s boring. The music is tasteless and insignificant and the lyrics seem designed solely to manufacture reactions. The whole thing stands out as being incredibly insincere and fabricated solely for purposes of mass consumption, leaving any actual heart and soul behind in a blob of electronic haze and sophomoric, unfunny “humour.”

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