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…music reviews: “Written in the Stars” Tinie Tempah

May 10, 2011

I’m back!  Did you miss me?  Wait, before you answer, see how great this music review is…

“Written in the Stars” Tinie Tempah featuring Eric Turner (Billboard Hot 100 #12, Week of May 14, 2011)

Hip-hop was already post-modern when it was birthed in the ’70s, but recently it’s become an even more post-modern version of itself.  As a general rule, rap in the U.S. refuses to take itself seriously or stay put for longer than two seconds.  The more obscure the lyrics, the more outrageous the beats, the more heavily produced, twisted, screwed, and warped, the better.

Which brings us to the gaping hole filled by British rapper Tinie Tempah with his epic-sounding (in title and in arrangement) “Written in the Stars.”  Here we have a guy rapping, old-school style, in earnest, with no irony and no alter egos.  Just a straight-ahead self-empowerment anthem with an unabashed hook, sung breathily by the previously obscure singer-songwriter Eric Turner.

While the record is invigorating and refreshing in a sea of Drakes and Nickis, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the lyrics meander a bit in the first verse.  And to be fair, there’s a great deal of similarity of spirit with B.o.B.’s “Airplanes,” where another singer-songwriter waxes poetic with a skyward gaze on the hook.

Still, it’s easy to see why this song has bounded up the charts.  If they could bottle this baby, it would be a five-hour energy drink.

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