Saturday, April 27, 2013

2 Points 1 "Cups"

For those of you who don't participate in a pop music charts fantasy league and scan the Hot 100 every week, the current number 59 song on the Billboard Hot 100 charts is "Cups (Pitch Perfect's When I'm Gone)" by Anna Kendrick from the "Pitch Perfect" soundtrack. It is definitely one of the more unusual songs to chart on the Hot 100 in recent memory. There's the obvious novelty of the credited artist being a film actress with no prior singing career. Even odder still is the actual song which is Kendrick's rendition of a roughly 90 second a cappella tune accompanied by a percussion routine involving the titular cups; a viral video that she randomly taught her self and was unexpectedly incorporated in the film. Even with some extra padding the radio version barely goes over 2 minutes. Overall I sort of dig the song. It's short, catchy, and cute, plus Anna Kendrick has a pleasant enough voice. Additionally I find it to be an excellent little button to end a mix CD with, especially if you have around 2 minutes of spare space.

With that being said I have two additional points I wanted to make about the song (and you thought  that title was just for cheap crude humor):

First is the ridiculousness of the recently released music video for the song. The video has nothing to do with the film, which sort of makes sense considering the radio single version is now being released almost a year removed for the actual film soundtrack. The real craziness of this "director's cut" music video is that they manage to stretch an essentially minute and a half long song into a 4:22 video. They use every trick in the book short of adding extra lyrics. There's the extended intro and outro scenes, extended breakdowns, and of course just straight up repetition of the limited verses. It's one of the most impressive displays of padding since "A Night at The Roxbury". On a personal note, that diner in the video looks like my dinning equivalent of hell. I don't think there is a single filled cup in that entire establishment. I'm a fairly demanding restaurant patron when it comes to water and refill service. In fact, it may be the the most important criteria for me when eating out. I think I will forgive sub par food if my glass never goes empty. So to watch this exceptionally poor display of refill service is quite distressing.

Secondly, according to one of those bizarre facts you find casually thrown into a subject's Wikipedia page that you just can't believe, "Cups" is the official song of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup. I had to find another source that corroborated and it appears to be true. For those of you non-soccer fans (i.e. Americans) it's a biyearly soccer championship between the nations of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean; and your guess is as good as mine in figuring out why the organizers decided that this song fit so well with the tournament. I suppose "Pitch Perfect" could also be the name for a soccer movie. I mean are they really pipping this song in at the stadiums to get the crowd psyched? Does the decision process really come down to picking the most prominent contemporary song with the word "cup" in the title (I suppose Toby Keith's "Red Solo Cup" was too specific)? Did they have to out bid the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs? The Ryder Cup? The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series? I suppose there is past precedent for "cup" related pop songs being incongruously selected as themes for soccer tournaments as was the case for Ricky Martin's "The Cup of Life" being selected as the official song to the 1998 World Cup. Maybe if "Cups" can hold on for another year it can make it to Rio.

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