“It’s My Birthday” by Will.i.Am and Cody Wise

I wondered what it would take for Will.i.am to come up with a halfway tolerable song by this point in his career, and the answer is basically, steal one. This song is pretty much stolen wholecloth from an A.R. Rahman composition called “Urvasi, Urvasi”, with a couple of Jamaican samples thrown in there for good measure. I know he went through all the proper channels and had A.R. Rahman’s permission and everything, but there’s something inherently lazy about this kind of sampling-as-plagiarism. On top of that, the beat is Will.i.am’s usual tinny, artistically sterile late-career work, guest singer Cody Wise is basically a B-list Justin Bieber, and his lyrics are, as always, idiotic. Because the source of the sample was in fact a wonderful song, this is still better than “Scream and Shout” or “#Thatpower”, but he can hardly take any real credit for its redeeming qualities, and it’s still bad enough to make the other birthday-related hit at the time, Katy Perry’s moronic but catchy “Birthday”, look like a masterpiece by comparison.

Verdict: Bad, and without the stolen melody it would be completely irredeemable.

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