01 5 / 2013
18 5 / 2012
Now that my day includes hour-long commutes, the radio has quickly brought me up to date on hip pop music. To my surprise, there is some promising stuff out there: salient refrains, groovy harmonies, kickass ladies. But it seems to me that every time I’m ready to buy into a sweet new song, I am sideswiped by some glaringly douchetastic aspect. And so I ask: can we please just eliminate the persistent douche element in potentially awesome pop songs?
Case A: Gotye, Somebody That I Used to Know, ft. Kimbra
Like I said, salient refrains and groovy harmonies. Kimbra’s haunting interjection gives me goosebumps every time. And the music video! (Andy Samberg and Taren Killum know what’s up.)
But the lyrics outside of Kimbra’s lines make me nauseous. Gotye is portraying himself as a self-centered dick. His immature perpective is the only thing that matters; he was bored with his lady but throws a hissy fit when she moves on like he asked. And the line: “But you treat me like a stranger and I feel so rough” —lyrical shit. ”Rough” doesn’t fit the rhyming scheme, and it makes him sound like petulant child.
Even the music video is problematic: Kimbra only sings (has voice) when facing Gotye. She does not have any independent thoughts or agency; she only exists in relation to Gotye. The song and the music video have are so aesthetically pleasing…can we just please eliminate the douche factor?!
Case B: Fun, We Are Young ft. Janelle Monae
Emphasis on the salient refrain. By the time Ruess hits the word “brighter,” I’m ready to initiate a drunken march of goodness after which all the members carry each other home…tonight.
But the first verse puts a serious damper on the happiness party:
…asking ‘bout a scar
and I know I gave it to you months ago
I know you’re trying to forget
but between the drinks and subtle things
the holes in my apologies
you know I’m trying hard to take it back
Abuse alert! For fuck’s sake. There can be no goodness march if the dude who’s taking you home injured you (verbally, emotionally, physically, whatever) and you don’t buy his apologies…except when you’re drunk and lonely. SHIT.
And the music video; why the bar brawl? Is this what it means to set the world on fire these days? What happened to taking down oppressive institutions? Or attacking the buildings and structures that represent The Man? Are we so fucked up that our only expression of discontent and/or hope is to fight each other before hooking up? I blame the douche factor for downgrading this song from “Hey! Pop songs sound cool now! Let’s party!” to “Fuck, my generation is a depressing heap of aimless discontent.”