Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

POP ETC's 'Live It Up': Watch the Morning Benders Try to Remake Themselves Into Smooth R&B

Posted By on Tue, May 1, 2012 at 11:19 AM

"Hmm... on what level of irony should I operate for the next minute?"
  • "Hmm... on what level of irony should I operate for the next minute?"
"Hmm... on what level of irony should I operate for the next minute?"

See also:

* Pop Etc: Could the Morning Benders Have Chosen a Worse New Name?

Auto-tune? Yes'm. Funky R&B beat bathed in warm synths? Indeed. Lyric about leaving the girl in the morning? Oh yeah. Mention of a "main chick back at home"? And it's a sweet one, too.

So, aside from Chris Chu's cutseyface and light-as-air demeanor, the Berkeley-born Morning Benders, now NYC's POP ETC., are moving into full slow-jam mode with this new song and in-your-face video about how getting down in every town on the road is what it means to "Live It Up."

But note the hints of a vaguely apologetic and/or feigning vibe here. After a seemingly self-serious song -- not quite a decadent Weeknd-style come-on but certainly aspiring in that direction -- Chu stops lip-synching near the end of the clip and just starts giggling. It's silly and cute, yeah, and it completely relieves any heaviness or sexual tension the song had built up. Which leaves us with two possible conclusions:

1) This is all serious. In which case, just because you realized you love some Usher records, guys, doesn't mean you should start trying to be Usher. But if you are going to try to be Usher, go all the way. Don't summon all this me-staring-at-the-camera intensity and then start laughing at yourself at the end.

2) This is a joke. In which case it's funny, but only kinda, because skinny Asian dude winkingly trying to personify black masculinity has been done before, and it's still basically just hipster racism.

Conclusion: We're really hoping the Morning Benders us that this whole change of name and direction has been a joke. Please?

Follow us on Twitter @SFAllShookDown, follow Ian S. Port @iPORT, and like us at

  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

About The Author

Ian S. Port


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"