Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Cash Cash's dance-pop falls this far from being absolutely killer

May 9, 2011

I knew the first time I heard the “ra-ra-ah-ah-ah” riff of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” that it was going to be an enormous smash. It has the unnamed x factor that makes pop songs into classics.

Cash Cash‘s “Love or Lust” has ten tunes in the Cobra Starship mold that all have the ability to be minor radio hits. But there’s not a track here that has the x factor. I only bring it up because every song is so close to having it. I don’t usually listen to dance-pop, because the majority of it is bland and formulaic. Cash Cash’s is not bland, and if it’s formulaic, it’s the formula listeners want. But there’s no go-for-the-throat melody, riff or hook here.

“Wasted Love” shows great promise through the verses and bridge, but the chorus is too soaring and sultry for the down’n’dirty mood. “Sexin’ on the Dance Floor” acknowledges that it’s a straight-up club jam, and the verses crackle with tension. But the chorus spins a bit too far into pop-punk to fit the tune perfectly. “Naughty or Nice” has the same tension bristling the verses, but the pre-chorus and chorus drops the energy with their choice of atmospheric synths instead of straightforward ones.

“Dirty Lovin'” is the most honestly techno tune here, and it’s a highlight. It’s like Cascada with a dude singing, and I like it. Again though, the charm is laid too thick on the pre-chorus, giving it a winking, pop-punk, Boys Like Girls attitude. It’s so incredibly close to being a killer.

“One Night Stand” has all the musical parts, but the lyrics are brutal (“Don’t touch my heart/I told you from the start/I’m only looking for a one night stand”). I don’t put it past the modern public to like harsh songs (I already quoted a song called “Bad Romance”), but this one is nearly unpleasant in its callousness.

You’ll have bits and pieces of these tunes haunting the aural part of your brain for days. But you won’t find a whole song that just won’t leave your ear.  I hope Cash Cash keeps making songs, because they have all the pieces here to make a whole string of hit songs. They just need to spin the BINGO tumbler once more and get a new combination of pieces. It’s a bright future for Cash Cash, if they can get there.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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