Jesse Jarnow

“crank that (soulja boy)” – soulja boy tell’em

“Crank That (Soulja Boy)” – Soulja Boy Tell’em (download) (buy)
from Souljaboytellem.com (2007)

released by Collipark Music/Interscope/Stacks on Deck Ent.
week of October 27, 2007
#1 this week, #1 last week, 14 weeks on chart

(file expires November 1st)

The question that “Crank That” poses is thus: can a single chord, played ad nauseam, count as a hook? Perhaps, when played at an enormous volume, the overloaded piano hit here sounds dope. Streaming through Hype Machine, though, there’s not much to it. At first, the ear moves towards it. What is it made from? Is that just piano? Is there some orchestral oomph behind it? Kettle drums, maybe? It’s almost like the way illusory melodies suddenly surface in the elongated shimmers of Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music (or any other feedback session), except mega-compressed, so it goes by too quickly to distinguish. Ultimately, though, who cares? Yeah, a single chord can probably carry a song (any suggestions?), but not this one. Not nearly weird enough. It’s kind of lame, as big chords go. I do like the layered vocals, though only as a potential source for cascading/refracted remixes.

I also like that his album is called Souljaboytellem.com, that the album is indistinguishable from the project as a whole — which now includes 179,295 streamable answering machine messages from, er, Soulja Girls — one medium pointing at another. More, I like that the Soulja Boy concept is embedded at every level — the song title, the album title, the artist name, in the lyrics, etc..