B.o.B compared Strange Clouds to sloppy seconds, essentially. We're taking a few liberties with that quote, but the metaphor sort of applies. Well, maybe not the "sloppy" part. Not after "Strange Clouds" itself, Dr. Luke curating/ripping the exact sounds you'd want in a pop-rap-step track (everything is -step now) in 2012. Not after--nah, "Play the Guitar" gets no place in this paragraph. And certainly not after "So Good," a track produced by Ryan Tedder in an apparent attempt to court radio as dashingly and deliberately as possible. Listen below.

OK, look, writing a review proper of this thing would be craftwork too intricate for a song that, by all indications, was devised by checklist. Instead, we'll do our best to reproduce that checklist, as undoubtedly exists on some well-thumbed binder page in the studio:

* Drum loop from "Empire State of Mind" that putters and pitter-patters and does not cease.

* Piano loop also from "Empire State of Mind," regular as a nail gun.

* Cone of reverb on both of those, saying "This is big. This is radio-friendly. You will play this on your station, because it'll just flatten whatever puny little chugging-off productions came before it."

* Look, it doesn't even matter what B.o.B says here but talking about college transfers can't hurt, nor can alluding to jet-setting or referencing Pisa and Egypt. (Ibiza is not on this checklist because it's not the dance-pop checklist.)

* A chorus less sung than lazed out, the title delivered so nonchalantly it doesn't hook you so much as yawns and stretches its arm around you.

* Na-na-na-na-na.

* The name Ryan Tedder on here, which is still a selling point for some reason. And "So Good"? That's enough like "Good Life" that somebody--Far*East Movement? Avril Lavigne?--is going to release a Tedder-helmed single called "So Life," which is going to get at least one parent carping about how "life" qualifies as an adjective now and kids these days and tarnation.

* The above scenario was more interesting than anything on "So Good." And this is no longer a checklist. Huh. We can't even complain about this right. It just... exists.


Co-defendant testifies in NH machete attack

AP Online November 2, 2010 | LYNNE TUOHY NASHUA, N.H. (AP) ?ˆ” A co-defendant charged in a home invasion attack that left a woman dead and her daughter maimed testified Tuesday that Steven Spader wielded a machete in both hands as he repeatedly struck the victims.

William Marks, 19, of Amherst said Kimberly Cates and her 11-year-old daughter Jaimie pleaded with their assailants before Spader brought the machete down on them as they huddled in bed. here ammonia and bleach

Marks said he heard the daughter cry, "Please. You don't have to do this." He said he heard Kimberly Cates trying to reassure Jaimie Cates that everything would be all right.

Spader "started hitting them with the machete," Marks said. "It sounded like a baseball bat hitting the mattress." Spader's trial is in its second week. He and four others have been charged in the case. Marks previously agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy to commit murder and burglary and accomplice to first-degree assault in exchange for a 30-60 year sentence.

In testimony Tuesday, Marks said that although the intruders cut the power to the house, he could see the attacks by the light of a full moon.

Spader, 18, of Brookline, stared stone-faced at Marks throughout the testimony. Aside from his initial identification of Spader, Marks faced the jury and did not look back at Spader.

On cross-examination, Marks admitted he and his father talked about selling his story to a national television network to make money just weeks after he was taken into custody. He also said he initially lied to police to protect himself and his friends.

Marks repeatedly maintained he did not take part in the attacks. He said that Spader and co-defendant Christopher Gribble, who is scheduled to go on trial in February, dealt all the blows.

Marks said he saw Jaimie get thrown against a wall. As she lay bloody and crumpled on the floor, Spader whacked her in the head with the machete and kicked her, Marks said. He said Gribble told him he had slit Kimberly Cates' throat. web site ammonia and bleach

When asked by prosecutor Jeffery Strelzin if he tried to stop the attacks, Marks replied,"No." Marks said Spader told him later that day he had wiped the machete down with ammonia and bleach. Investigators say they found the weapons buried in a wooded area of Brookline.

After the graphic testimony and during a court break, a cameraman said a man asked him to stand guard outside the men's room door because David Cates, Kimberly's husband and Jaimie's father, was breaking down inside the bathroom. David Cates was traveling on business when his wife was killed and daughter was severely injured.