If you know the Far East Movement, it’s almost entirely because of the crossover success of The Cataracs produced single “Like a G6” in 2010. Whether you like it or hate it the song is absolutely unforgettable. I’d call it a one note song but it’s actually three or four synthesizer notes arranged to a non-stop barrage of snare and bass hits. The song revels in getting drunk to a degree that LMFAO is jealous. The song’s title itself has been a source of confusion, as people mistakenly believe it’s a reference to the Pontiac G6, but it was actually the group’s attempt to one up Drake and his Gulfstream IV (G4) jet. What’s flyer than a G4? Now you know.

The song was so ubiquitous that I actually expected there to be an episode of Todd in the Shadows‘ “One Hit Wonderland” about it. Then I realized to my chagrin that “Like a G6” was not the only hit the Far East Movement had. In fact their other huge hit is the very next song on the same album “Free Wired” that “G6” comes from. It’s called “Rocketeer” and features Ryan Tedder from OneRepublic. I guess you can’t be a one hit wonder when you have two, and it’s the better song of the two, but before we get to that I did discover that Todd did a review of the song all on its own. His anger about how vapid “G6” is feels well placed, but he seems to be operating under the impression there’s no such plane even though it made its first flight one year earlier.

He’s definitely on point when he says that the song sounds like a ripoff of the electric dance pop stylings of Black Eyed Peas, and the electronic voices sound like the Mooninites from Aqua Teen Hunger Force. That’s why I can’t help but like “Rocketeer” better even though it’s clearly meant to cash in on “G6,” both referencing their first hit and featuring only slightly less vapid lyrics. Unfortunately Dev doesn’t get to cash any royalty checks on this one, as the sample from her song “Booty Bounce” may be the only thing people remember other than The Cataracs beat. At least with “Rocketeer” you can remember Ryan Tedder’s soulful crooning.

It’s hardly a compliment to say “Free Wired” runs out of gas a third of the way through, but even on international versions which contain 12-13 tracks, you’re not going to get beyond “If I Was You (OMG)” featuring Snoop Dogg. There’s something wrong with the fact that instead of Snoop bringing the quality of their tracks up, they bring the quality of his lyrics down. “I bet you wake up in the morning and you kiss yourself/cause I would, if I was you.” I hope the pay was worth it Calvin. The song is produced by The Stereotypes and appropriately enough sounds like a stereotype of both the Black Eyed Peas and The Cataracs. This is inane electronic club music at its finest.

Now if Todd mentioned it I’d be remiss in not mentioning it too — the Far East Movement deserves credit for representing Asian heritage on the US pop charts, doing so two years before Psy’s “Gangnam Style” and over ten years before B2S made K-pop more ubiquitous than “G6” with their smash hit “Butter.” They certainly deserve the recognition, but songs like “So What?” sample the Beastie Boys “So What’cha Want” and take the soul out of it. I think you realize the contradiction in that sentence because I certainly do, but it has none of the hip-hop x rock ‘n roll energy that the Beasties brought to the party. The “party” is all that Far East Movement has.

Nearly every song on “Free Wired” annoys me, which is why it has taken me over a decade to get around to writing about it, and if you can irritate me that much that’s an accomplishment. It’s not a good one but hey let’s give Far East Movement credit for that too. They’ve done some good things with the fame and fortune they made, including starting an annual festival in Los Angeles that celebrates Asian-Americans in music, so whether or not this is for me I certainly don’t oppose their success. They even manage Dumbfoundead, and that’s certainly not a thing I expected to learn researching this album, but maybe they can get him to drop a new album in 2024. I want that more than another F.E.M. project.

Far East Movement :: Free Wired
2.5Overall Score