Music

Will Butler - "What I Want" (Singles Going Steady)

What an inventive video for such a drab, uninteresting slab of rock blandness.

Timothy Gabriele: In which a member of the Arcade Fire envisions that he’s Morrissey and instead goes full “Weird Al”. There’s a lyric in there about buying his baby a pony and because he knows “a great recipe for pony macaroni” that someone,anyone, perhaps his 10th grade creative teacher, should have stopped him from using at any step in the writing process. Not to mention the #notallmen chorus, which pleads ever so romantically “I will tell you what I want” before concluding “I will tell you if it’s okay”. This is followed by a bridge of scratchy amateur chorus of oohs and aahs -- maybe the most punk thing about the whole affair -- wherein Butler proceeds to say that he can’t be held responsible for being unable to control his body and his heart. “It’s not my fault… it’s your fault”, he says, and maybe this is some kind of blame the victim critical roleplay that gets lost under a perplexing word salad, but I will tell you that it's not okay, Will. Sonically, there’s evidence, particularly in that bridge of why people still think the Arcade Fire are a noteworthy band deserving of attention in the A.D.Decade. I guess in the dismal ruins of rock and/or roll it’s possible they are. Per Will, he did a surprisingly honorific job scoring Spike Jonze’s Her with fellow troubadour Owen Pallett. However, even if it wasn’t a pseudo rape anthem or if it presented anything remotely new, this attempt at an old school punk raver comes off a tad stale, the patented A.F. vocal crack sounding rehearsed and melismatic, the inverse mirror reflect of all the “not real” pop music this is likely to get compared against. If you're looking for passion or perversity in your gee-tars, draw your gaze elsewhere.

Then, the video. The credits for this lists its character roster divided into “Punk Kids” and “Boring Parents”. Did they find this script unused behind the toilet in a trailer formerly owned by Peter Angelus? [3/10]

Dustin Ragucos: Love him or hate him, Will Butler is doing his own thing and succeeding in it. You can compare him to Jack White with his ambitious nature, but at the end of the day, Butler has created a stream of consciousness with "What I Want" that gets the job of being a sufficient single done. He's eating some pony macaroni right now while watching TV. Probably. [6/10]

Ryan Dieringer: I like to believe there's some kind of divine order at play when a family band chooses instruments. I want to hear Will Butler “do Win” as badly as I want to hear an Ed O'Brien singer-songwriter set. I think I would feel differently about this track if I felt his real talents were being played up and not just his front-man character, amidst generally down-the-center indie rock. And that “pony-macaroni” bit could be doing way less. [3/10]

Evan Sawdey: What an inventive video for such a drab, uninteresting slab of rock blandness. The director deserved better than attaching his concept to this. I legit couldn't tell you anything about the shape of the song 10 seconds after it played. [2/10]

Steve Horowitz: What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s too late, you already are. You don’t need a ray gun to get old. The video is playful and entertaining as punk rockers become transformed into lame adults -- like in real life. Butler’s music lends itself to the lighthearted treatment. It’s bouncy and fun, but in real life it will be the adults, not the kids, who dance to the song. [8/10]

Paul Duffus: What you want is a chorus, mate. A chorus and a haircut. And brevity. Four minutes of this? You're having a laugh. I'd had my fill of it after 45 seconds. But then that's down to the chorus, isn't it, the lack thereof? On a positive note, the track's new wave/garage pop rush reminds me, however erroneously, of Graham Parker. Without hooks or clever lyrics, obviously. Yeah, you want some of those too. [4/10]

Kevin Korber: Here’s a pitch: one of the other people from the Arcade Fire (not the main two, but one of the other 15 or so band members) is going to start putting out his own music, and it’ll sound like leaden, bland retreads of the worst Arcade Fire songs. And he’ll put out this one song that sounds like “Month of May” from The Suburbs, but without any of the frantic energy or world-weary doom that makes the Arcade Fire interesting to begin with. Interested? [3/10]

COMBO SCORE: 4.14

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