Fuck A Critic: What’s A Dog Think of New Releases From Meek Mill, Taylor Swift, Aerosmith, and More?


That’s Francie, above. The greatest pug in the history of pugs. She’s 9. And she loves music. Lives for it. She especially likes electronic music, with all the bleeps and bloops, the thwooooooshhhhes and zhhhrrmmmm and so forth. Anything Warp Records, she’s all over that shit like it’s a bowl full of Beggin’ Strips. But she’s into a pretty wide variety of stuff. Her whole life, she’s loyally sat beside me as I’ve worked at my computer, listening along with me to a ton of music of all types. Which makes her pretty qualified to offer her take on a batch of new tunes. And quite honestly, who gives a fuck about po-faced, self-absorbed music critics and their boring, pointless 2,000-word reviews? I played Francie a few songs, and these were her real, honest-to-God reactions.

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Paul Banks, “The Base”

Lifts head from dog bed, tilts head to right at electronic noises whirring through speakers at :06. Looks around room. Licks at front left paw for a few seconds. Puts head back down in blanket when Paul Banks starts singing at :21. Ears down. Inhales deeply. Eyes closed by 1:21. Perceptible snoring at 2:31.

Meek Mill, “Dreams and Nightmares”

Ears perk up immediately at tinkling piano intro, tilts head to left at :09 when Meek says “You ready?” and barks sharply at the “Uh…uh” that follows at :12. Looks around, runs in a circle, stops and stares at speakers as strings join in. Tilts head to right, then immediately left, when bass comes in at 1:39 and Meek raps “Hold on wait a minute, y’all thought I was finished? When I bought an Astin Martin y’all thought it was rented?” Growls, tail wagging, looks distressed, two more sharp barks. Looks around, scurries across room, jumps into dog bed, jumps out of bed and runs back to speakers. Starts panting, spins around in circle. Stares at speaker. Barks again at final “whoop!” at 3:38. Through all of it, never once says “Rap is often about contradiction, of wanting to stay humble and true while still stunting.” Everyone wins.

Aerosmith, “Something”

Cocks head to right at opening Hammond organ, then left when big drum beat comes in at :07. Sits down, looks around room. Stares straight ahead at speakers, ears down. No reaction when Joe Perry begins to sing. Blinks a few times. Lets out a huge yawn. Looks up at me for duration of song, doesn’t move.

Bat for Lashes, “All Your Gold”

Tilts head quickly left and right at percussive intro, lets out low growl. Stares intently at speakers as Natasha Khan begins to croon at :16. Slowly sits, still staring at speakers. Growls slightly and snorts at 1:08, tiny bit of dog snot flies out of nose. Licks lips a few times. Cocks head to left at squiggly synth noises at 1:44. Looks around, licks lips again. Gets up at 3:02, runs over to water bowl and takes long drink.

Kid Rock, “Detroit, Michigan”

No reaction to acoustic guitar noodling or drums of opening. Walks away from speakers, sniffing floor. Looks up at me, slowly walks over to wooden gate at top of stairs. Plops down against baseboard, back legs sticking out straight ahead at 1:24 when Kid Rock sings “In New Orleans the party never stops.” Ears down, stares through bars of gate and down stairs with sad expression.

Christina Aguilera, “Blank Page”

Shakes head a couple of times at delicate piano intro, looks up at me and snorts, a little more dog snot flying. Licks lips once. Stares straight ahead. Walks across room slowly. Sniffs at blanket in dog bed. Gets into dog bed, lays down, and stares ahead for rest of song.

Taylor Swift, “Red”

No reaction to banjo-y opening. Chews at front left paw. Looks up briefly at :39 when big guitar chord introduces chorus. Goes back to chewing paw. Looks up again when electronic-tinged “Reh-eh-eh-redddd” vocals come in at :56. Looks over at me. Shakes head vigorously, as if attempting to dislodge something from her ears. Looks at speakers again. Looks around room. Runs over to plush dog ball, stares at it for a moment, grabs it between her teeth and runs over to speakers. Drops ball next to speakers a few seconds into guitar solo at 2:28. Looks around. Continues to shake head sporadically until end of song.

There you have it. The week’s big winners: Meek Mill and Bat For Lashes! The rest, not so much. But we don’t profess to know what really goes on in the mind of a pug, so feel free to draw your own conclusions!

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