Well, this is surprising. I did not see Macklemore and Ryan Lewis having any staying power. I presumed "Thrift Shop" was a novelty single, and not just because I thought it was awful. I mean, it's a dude rapping about buying stuff at the thrift store, and, let's face it, the fact he was a white guy rapping made it feel even more like a novelty song. However, it would appear I was incorrect in this prediction, because here we are living in world where Macklemore is fronting another number one single in these United State of America. This newest hit is called "Can't Hold Us" and it features some gentle man named Ray Dalton.
When I went to listen to this song, I realized I had been hearing portions of it in commercials for... something. I actively try and avoid watching ads, so I can't remember which one. I assume they were trying to sell me a car or a cell phone or a product that will make me irresistible to women with sad, empty eyes. For starters, and just to begin on a good note, or at least a damnation with faint praise, "Can't Hold Us" is better than "Thrift Shop." First, the music is strong. Granted, that was the one somewhat tolerable thing about their previous hit. Is Ryan Lewis behind the beat and the instrumentation? Because if so, he deserves kudos. He knows what he is doing. I wish he was working with somebody else. The beat is propulsive and intense and has a real driving energy. The "na na" breakdown is solid, and the hook, presumably delivered by Mr. Dalton, sounds good as well. It certainly is much better than the chorus of "Thrift Shop" which may have been the worst part of it.
Another bonus is that Macklemore is rapping so fast I can't understand everything he says. From what I did make out, this is a good thing. His flow is pretty good. I will give him that. He's just an awful lyricist. He has a terrible sense of humor, and when he's not being funny he's just as bad. Recently, he was on The Colbert Report with a song about gay marriage or just promoting tolerance of gay people or something along those lines. Noble, sure, but his lyrics were so atrocious I had to stop listening to it. This is just a generic "We are great and we are on the rise so watch out" song. The hook talks about how this is their moment and the city can't hold them. It can if you are in Escape from New York and you aren't Snake Plissken.
I don't like "Can't Hold Us" I wouldn't call it a good song, mostly because I don't think that is true. However, it isn't bad. I don't know if I can necessarily tolerate it, but if it was on faintly somewhere it wouldn't bother me, mostly because I probably couldn't understand the lyrics. It's just noise, and that is where this song succeeds. Everything about this song is fine except for Macklemore's lyrics, which remain insipid at best, and all the shout outs to the Wu-Tang Clan can't change that. This duo deserves credit for not being one hit wonders, so I guess I won't be seeing "Thrift Shop" on some VH1 countdown show in 20 years. Actually, I bet it shows up on "Top 100 Songs of the 2010s." I'm already sad about it.