The history of pop music is littered with what can be referred to as victory lap singles—the kind of songs released by an artist just as their popularity appears to be peaking, where the song basically sounds like the artist celebrating their recent success for three and a half minutes. They never reflect much effort on the part of the artist, they often sound incoherent (or at the very least poorly edited) and nine times out of ten, they sound like drugs were prominently involved in some way. In a best-case scenario, they can feel intoxicating, like a second-hand buzz scored off the artist's commercial (or pharmaceutical) high, but more often, they just sound arrogant and off-putting, and they (somewhat ironically) can even signal the beginning of the end for the artist.

Needless to say, David Guetta's "Where Them Girls At" is one of these victory lap singles, and it falls squarely in the latter category. Guetta's surprising 2010 success, which saw him score hits with musical celebrities like Akon, Rihanna, Fergie and Kid Cudi and bring European-style dance music to US shores in a way that no one else had in over a decade, seemed to imbue him with the belief that all he needed to do for a hit single was to slap a couple high-profile guests over a phoned-in, fist-pumping house beat. Sadly, he may not have been terribly far off, as the song debuted at #14 on the Hot 100 off high iTunes sales, but "Where Them Girls At" destroyed any claim that Guetta could have to artistic credibility, a clichéd retread that pushed his musical over-exposure to unstable levels.

The most despicable part of "Where Them Girls At," aside from the fact that it needlessly tries to extend Flo Rida's way-longer-than-15-minutes-of-fame, is how blatantly the song rips off "Sexy Bitch," David Guetta's stateside breakthrough single from barely over a year prior. The dynamics are the same, the synth hook is the same, the structuring is the same—you could sing Akon's "Sexy" verse and chorus over the "Girls" instrumental and only the most discerning of pop ears would even be able to tell that anything was unusual about it. Not that Guetta's color palette has ever been particularly wide—he's always been formulaic to an extent, and was never particularly apologetic about it—but to recycle his biggest hit so blatantly, and so soon after the fact, is unforgivably insulting to us as listeners and pop fans.

Meanwhile, neither of the guests involved seem particularly into rising above Guetta's beat-ass production by elevating their own games. Flo Rida, who five years into his career has still yet to come up with a single memorable rap lyric, isn't exactly used to being a scene-stealer, and his rote-as-rote-gets chorus ("Where them girls at, Where them girls at / So go get them, we can all be friends") isn't even memorably annoying enough to get stuck in your head at inopportune moments. More disappointingly, perennial Best Supporting Actress candidate Nicki Minaj isn't particularly game either, doing her "repeat certain lyrics and spit some gibberish noises and let's see if we can't stretch four bars to sixteen" thing and getting out before too much of the song's stink can really cling to her.

The end result is a song that doesn't seem designed to please anyone except whoever runs the Saturday Night Dance Party on your local Top 40 station, an anthem for being so shitfaced at the club that you couldn't possibly care less about what music is playing as long as it has a pulsating house beat and an unchallenging sing-along chorus. To call it Lowest Common Denominator music would almost be giving its intentions too much credit, though—rather, it's just the sound of a lazy DJ who believes he can do no wrong, and who is going to find out sooner rather than later that he doesn't have nearly as much credit with the American public as he thinks he does.


5. Zac Brown Band ft. Jimmy Buffett, "Knee Deep"

4. Bruno Mars, "The Lazy Song"

3. Jason Derulo, "Don't Wanna Go Home"

2. Hot Chelle Rae, "Tonight Tonight"

Crisis Banking in the East: The History of the Chartered Mercantile Bank of India, London and China, 1853-93

Business History Review April 1, 1998 | Bagchi, Amiya Kumar Crisis Banking in the East: The History of the Chartered Mercantile Bank of India, London and China, 1853-93. By Stuart Muirhead Aldershot, U.K.: Scolar Press, 1996. xvi + 379 pp. Tables, figures, plates, appendices, references, and index. $75.95. ISBN 185928244X. The Chartered Mercantile Bank of India, London and China (CMB) was one of the Eastern exchange banks which operated in the nineteenth century in India, China, and generally in all Asian countries east of the Suez. These exchange banks were the main financiers of the trade of Asian countries with Europe, America, and Australia, and of a large part of the intraAsian trade as well. Apart from their general area of operation, most of the British-controlled exchange banks also shared a common and somewhat curious history. They originated in the joint enterprise of Indians or Asians (including that of the Sassoons, a family of Baghdadi Jews who first migrated to Bombay and then to Britain) and Europeans. Although initially Indians played a major role in keeping these fledgling banks alive and making them a success, eventually the banks passed into the sole control of British directors and managers. This happened in the case of CMB as well: the idea of the bank was mooted by Cowasjee Nanabhoy. (He was an extraordinary entrepreneur since he had also been a promoter of the Commercial Bank of India, founded in 1845, and established the first modern cotton mill in Bombay in 1854.) During the four and a half years the bank's headquarters were located in Bombay, there were Indian directors on the board, although the Europeans formed a majority. But as soon as the bank obtained its royal charter and moved its headquarters to London (in 1858), the direction consisted only of ethnic British. Eventually, the shareholding interest of the Indians in the bank also became marginalized. this web site bank of india

Stuart Muirhead's book is a scrupulously fair account of the checkered history of the CMB from its conception until its winding up and reconstruction in 1892 as the Mercantile Bank of India-a bank that, through other reincarnations, was eventually absorbed as part of the HSBC group. Muirhead corrects the misleading impression conveyed by C. N. Cooke in The Rise, Progress, and Present Condition of Banking in India (1863), that the CMB had taken over the charter of the still-born Bank of Asia; the former had independently applied for, and obtained, a charter from the East India Company within a surprisingly short period. After failing to prevent the granting of a parliamentary charter (which conferred the privilege of limited liability) to the Oriental Bank, and the Bank of Asia, the East India Company Directors changed their mind and granted a charter to the Mercantile Bank of India, London and China in order to stimulate competition.

Muirhead meticulously traces the tribulations of the CMB in its days of prosperity in 1850s Bombay, its tumultuous period during the cotton boom in Bombay brought on by the American Civil War and the subsequent collapse, its series of indiscreet decisions during the period of the silver crisis, its loss of capital through silver depreciation, bad banking and frauds, and its eventual reconstruction. Muirhead records that despite early demands by sophisticated and entrepreneurial Indian shareholders of the bank (mainly Parsis), the managerial cadre remained exclusively European. In this it was no different from other joint-stock banks operating in India. Indeed, until the coming of the Indian Bank (established in 1906) and the Central Bank of India (established in 1911), no joint-stock bank in India of any significance had Indian managers even though they might have had Indian directors. A counterfactual as to whether this was a good or bad thing cannot be answered without begging many questions. But it is significant that the biggest single loss of the CMB was caused by a London manager who had been sent out to Bombay in the peak year of share mania through his reckless lending decisions, and that all three costly frauds perpetrated on the bank in 1862, 1872, and 1892 took place because of the gullibility of the European agents at Honk Kong, Singapore, and Bombay respectively. The perpetrators were Parsis in Hong Kong, Europeans in Bombay, and a Jewish firm in Singapore. The commodities concerned were opium in Hong Kong and Singapore, and Manchester goods in Bombay-the major staples of intra-Asian and British-Asian trade respectively. see here bank of india

Muirhead is less strong in his analysis of the global monetary and economic system within which the CMB operated than in chronicling its yearly fortunes. However, he generally succeeds in locating those fortunes within the global system. There is one uncharacteristic omission in the story related in the book. In the 1850s, the Oriental Bank successfully maneuvered the Government of Ceylon into giving up its own note issue and thereby, for a time, the bank became the sole authority for issuing notes that were accepted by the government. After the CMB had acquired its charter, it shared the note-issuing authority with the Oriental. However, after the collapse of the Oriental in 1884, the privilege of note issue was taken away from private banks and handed over to a Board of Currency Commissioners. This experiment in privatizing note issue and its failure in Ceylon somehow escaped Muirhead's attention. This book should be of interest to all students of the economic history of developing countries and also of the monetary and financial history of the world in the nineteenth century.

[Author Affiliation] Reviewed by Amiya Kumar Bagchi [Author Affiliation] Amiya Kumar Bagchi is Professor of Economics at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta. He is the author and editor of a number of books on the economic history of industry and banking in India, on the economic development of India and developing countries, and numerous Bagchi, Amiya Kumar