We Asked Music Critics to Review Tom Sandoval's Single from 'Vanderpump Rules'
This week's episode of "Vanderpump Rules" followed actor-model-bartender Tom Sandoval as he created an elaborate music video for his band's single "T.I.P. (Touch in Public)." Is the song good, or is it very bad? We asked a few experts.
Screenshot via YouTube
The critics agree: Vanderpump Rules—a reality show that follows several consistently drunk and oftentimes deeply upset employees of Real Housewife of Beverly Hills Lisa Vanderpump's SUR (Sexy Unique Restaurant) Restaurant & Lounge—is a crowning cultural achievement. Wrote Naomi Fry in the New York Times magazine, "Watching it is like having my brain stroked to a very low-grade, consequence-free orgasm."
This week's episode followed Vanderpump leading man and SUR bartender Tom Sandoval as he filmed a music video for the first single for his new band, Charles McMansion, which consists of himself and a friend named Isaac Kappy. The single in question is called "T.I.P.," which stands for "touch in public."
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Sandoval said the song is about the feeling when "you walk in [the bar] and you're just vibing off the music ... and maybe you see somebody else who is just feeling your vibe ... and you kind of of come together and your energy, and your attitude, everything—positiveness—sort of like, it's an infectious vibe that takes over the whole space," adding that the line "Is your ass good luck, 'cause girl I wanna rub it" refers to his girlfriend, Ariana Madix, "'cause I love her butt, and I love to rub it."
In the episode, he alludes to the fact that production costs for the video alone approached—and perhaps exceeded—$10,000, and understandably so. This video is very well produced, and involves a bass guitar covered in dildos.
As for the song... well, it is hard to be sure. As someone who exclusively listens to Enya and occasionally Rihanna, I felt that my own musical judgment too uninformed to make a clear call. Thus, I reached out to several esteemed music critics and people in the music industry to ask them the most important question of our time: Is "T.I.P. (Touch in Public)" by the band Charles McMansion, which consists of Vanderpump Rules cast member Tom Sandoval and a friend, a good song? Here are their answers.
Rich Juzwiak, senior writer at Gawker
It sounds cheap and not exactly like a "real" song because of its preset cliches (like the ridiculous slap bass and the horrible fake horns [Ed note: The horns are real!!!]) and its vocals being mastered way too loudly, but it also is being kind of wacky on purpose and so it gets away with not being perfect. In its electrofunk facsimile, it seems to be ripping off Chromeo, an act that openly (and humorously) rips off '80s and '90s dance music already, which makes this redundantly redundant.
The guy with the fro can actually sing. He blows the other one out of the water. But the non-fro guy is pretty, so he's necessary, too.
I wouldn't have listened to this if you didn't make me, and I'll never listen to this again unless someone makes me. But it's OK. It took me till the end of the song to figure out that "T.I.P." stands for "touch in public," so I guess I learned something, at least.
I wouldn't have listened to this if you didn't make me, and I'll never listen to this again unless someone makes me. But it's OK.
Lauren Nostro, managing editor at Complex
I didn't even catch that "T.I.P." stood for "touch in public" until the last line and yes, I listened/watched until the last line. I did my googles before and apparently this was inspired by his girlfriend's butt, so I don't want to hate too hard because I think that is endearing. But I would categorize this as hot garbage but extremely catchy. At first, it kind of reminded me of a bad Chromeo song.
It sounds like the egos of men who grab girl's asses in clubs and tell you to relax when you smack their hand and cuss them out. Also, like a bad MDMA trip—like, when your entire body gets hot and you want to dance but you feel nauseous but you keep dancing anyway because then the drugs would've been a waste of money.
I do not understand why it would cost $10k to rent out a library. I also do not know of many people who want to rub people's asses in libraries. I also thought the other guy was Zach Galifinakis.
Sasha Frere-Jones, writer and music critic
I couldn't get past the 30 second point. I am old. This is meme funk.
Jeremy Gordon, deputy news editor at Pitchfork
My exposure to Vanderpump Rules is so limited I can't even tell you which guy is Charles [Ed. note: Neither guy is Charles], but from my exposure to many an ego-driven pop side project over the years, I can say this is way better than it should be. The squelching bass line, the triumphant horns, the high-low vocals, the lockstep groove—these boys wanted to make their best cut-rate Chromeo x "Uptown Funk" jam, and they definitely succeeded. Now, which one is McMansion?
It sounds like a bad MDMA trip—like, when your entire body gets hot and you want to dance but you feel nauseous but you keep dancing anyway.
Haley Potiker, music writer
The opening has a "Thriller" vibe that I can't hate. But when the singing starts and I'm lost completely. Yes, baby, I think I can deny your cosmic energy. This song feels like it was created in the same corporate boardroom that spit out Mayer Hawthorne. It makes me want to apologize to Sly Stone.
Kurt Feldman, producer and mix engineer
I watched it thinking it was going to be appallingly amateurish but as far as squiggly retro funk goes, the production values are pretty high. Even if the lyrics are awkwardly delivered at times, the song is undeniably catchy.
Rembert Browne, writer-at-large at New York magazine
I do not like anything about the guy with the Afro. Wait, is the Afro guy the Vanderpump guy?
A previous version of this article stated that the horns in this song are fake. We regret the oversight.