Because when your better half sings so sweet, it’s easy to overlook diminishing relationship returns.
“Hate That I Love You” popped up like a tender mercy or urban radio this year, sandwiched between skeezy/silly-ass/sad sensitivity like “Soulja Girl” and “Shawty Is A Ten,” but I also found myself daydreaming about a chart-hungry emo band or a conservative Nashville act playing the song straight for a hit of their own, their producers not even needing to musically fiddle with the master tapes. That programming malleability may not fly with the snobs, and to be honest, the Sugarland
clusterfuck cover of Beyonce’s similarly strummy genre-trasher “Irreplaceable” on this year’s American Music Awards and pop emo’s general pass-agg ickiness probably prove that the divas should be the ones who stick to sticking it to scrubs/admitting to clinginess. Still, forget figuring out what to tag the backing, because what makes “Hate” great is far less difficult to nail down, i.e. it gets cars (or bars) full of heads swaying as they pretend to be the biggest P.Y.T.’s in contemporary pop serenading each other. (Killer karakoke tune as well, though you need to have a pretty… interesting relationship with your duet partner.) This became a late ’07 sing-along anthem for me after a few heartbreak knocks and spending most of the year as an infamous “Umbrella” agnostic, and the sad way I still melt at that telegraphed high note after the breakdown makes me wonder if “mid-tempo R&B with the kind of cheddary acoustic guitars I’d never put up with in a rock tune” is a musical soft spot I just never knew about until 2006.