Blinkered beats and dunderheaded lyricism – but compellingly committed nonetheless.
Mike Diver 2011-07-20
You don’t need to be a playground nipper to know what the LMFAO acronym typically stands for. But in this instance it also means "Loving My Friends and Others" – that’s what the video to the Los Angeles duo’s track Champagne Showers states (for pre-watershed audiences). The pair’s rise to prominence has been a while coming, given they’ve been active since 2006 (and this is their second album), but hardly a surprise when their connections are considered. Stefan Gordy, aka Redfoo, is the son of Motown founder Berry Gordy, while his partner Skyler Gordy, aka SkyBlu, is Berry’s grandson. The duo are uncle and nephew, then, but their musical output isn’t always wholesome fun for all the family.
Setting their stall out early with the impressively offensively titled debut single I’m in Miami B****, a Billboard hit in 2008 and a top 10 success in the UK the following year, LMFAO’s stylistic direction is one of blinkered consistency – hard and fast beats, everything-louder-than-everything-else production, and dunderheaded lyrics. Vocal hooks are simple and, to their credit, highly memorable. But the subject matter tackled is repeatedly of questionable moral value (albeit never without a smile on their faces), the stance being that a party spent wasted is never a wasted party. Booze and babes dominate the pair’s agenda to such an extent that one has to admire their steadfast commitment to debauchery. It’d have been easier, surely, to diversify, as putting together 16 tracks of the same stuff must have been quite the mission – and a mission accomplished.
In the record’s defence, Redfoo and SkyBlu are clearly not taking themselves at all seriously. It’s dumb for sure, but knowingly so, and its incessantly upbeat vibes do provide something of a lift. Their timing is perfect too, as this just wouldn’t work in the darkness of a British winter – it needs sun, sea and quite possibly the other ‘s’ to properly connect. The overall impression left is of an act equally informed by crunk-juice-swigging rapper Lil Jon and Scottish dance-pop chart-topper Calvin Harris – appropriately, both appear as guests here. Also involved is The Black Eyed Peas’ will.i.am, as executive producer. They’ve plenty of friends in high places then, but it’s LMFAO’s voices that cut through the cleanest, this collection very much their vision realised. Granted, it’s a vision obscured by designer shades, splattered with sticky drinks and steamed-up by passing ladies barely retaining their modesty, but it’s theirs alone.
Quite what granddad Berry makes of it all, though…