Nice Hits! is a Reverb column that unironically dissects, reviews, and appreciates the best songs of the current Top 40. It is unsnobbishly premised on the logic that just because a lot of the music on the radio is crap doesn't mean all the music on the radio is crap.
The hit: "Va Va Voom," Nicki Minaj, off Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded: The Re-Up.
Current chart position: #50 on iTunes, #98 on the Billboard Hot 100.
The team: Nicki Minaj wrote "Va Va Voom" with the powerhouse hitmakers Dr. Luke and Max Martin (who currently has two other massive hits on the chart, Maroon 5's "One More Night" and Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"). Also credited are the Canadian producer Cirkut, who has written and produced for Britney Spears ("Seal It With a Kiss"), Katy Perry ("Part of Me," "Wide Awake"), Jessie J ("Domino"), and Flo Rida ("Good Feeling") and also worked on both Ke$ha and Ellie Goulding's new albums; and Kool Kojak, whose biggest hits to date have been Ke$ha's "Blow" and Flo Rida's "Right Round." Kool Kojak, Cirkut, and Dr. Luke share producing credits on "Va Va Voom."
Breakdown: Nicki Minaj has two songs charting on iTunes right now: "Va Va Voom" and the lower-key "Freedom." "Freedom" is a slow-burner; it recalls Minaj's Drake collaboration "Moment 4 Life," but for my money "Va Va Voom" is the more standout track. Minaj's previous single, "Pound the Alarm," was a fuzzy, barely palpable mess. In terms of slick pop songs, a la "Super Bass," she returns to form on "Va Va Voom." It lacks the assailing thud of "Pound the Alarm" and "Starships," and its lighter, airier feels comes as something of a relief. The frothy beat is instantly catchy, as is the singalong chorus; Minaj's stuttering vocal melody--"I-I-I wanna give you one last option/I-I-I wanna give you one last chance"--and all the "va va voom"s are reminiscent of "Super Bass"'s infectious "boom, badoom, boom boom, badoom, boom bass."
Lyrically, Minaj doesn't drop any particularly killer lines on this song. And the "Monster" Minaj purists will probably end up decrying its fluffy subject matter (dancing, dudes, sex). But at this point Minaj has focused her career on bright dance-pop as much as she has on aggressive hip-hop, and on "Va Va Voom," she executes the glossy pop style perfectly.