Monday, October 21, 2013

Art That Dares to Criticize

Lorde

This is Lorde.

She’s a singer from New Zealand whom you’ve probably heard of. Usually with the caveat, “sixteen year old.” And that is noteworthy, I suppose. But not as noteworthy as her music.

Lorde currently has the number one song in the country with Royals, a stripped-down bluesy critique of the fetishization of bling and Cristal sipping fantasy life.

It’s a masterpiece of a pop song hidden in a simple, hypnotic anti-dance mix. Musically appealing at the same time it sneakily subverts the requisite formal expectations of the genre it usurps.

Gone are the dubstep bass drops and over-sampled drum tracks of our Miley Cyrus Skrillex produced artifical landscape. Instead we receive the simple snapping of the fingers. This is pop music as rejection rather than celebration. Criticism rather than inclusion.

You might even say Lorde is her own form of ‘bag huntress.

The song’s simple refrain dispenses with the generic tropes of overproduced pablum and replace it with a simple clarion truth call — the voice. The pounding dance-track tribal thumps of the mass media machine gives way to the vocal harmonies of resignation and acceptance.

The dream is bullshit. The party doesn’t exist.

Reversing the economic hierarchy of mass-produced Katy Perry Barbiedoms, Lorde talks up, rather than down. The pop song as audience voice. All this in the form of a pop hit. All this from within the machine itself.

And so truth to power climbs the pop charts.

And a “sixteen year old” slays the beast.

Analog reality slays the digital fraud. Left in its wake is a simple critique. The Ghosts of Britney grab money by selling ideal beauty and dreamland nightscapes of limousines and champagne. All while taking money from the poor wannabes who will never, ever drink from that fantasy chalice.

But Lorde is also a very young woman. So while I often pollute our cultural discourse with my own reduction of ladies into “hot chicks,” I will refrain from commenting on Lorde’s hottness. Suffice to say, 2015 will be a very good year. Not only for hottness. But also for talent.

But I come here not to discuss Lorde’s future hottness. I come here to discuss the recent kerfuffle, and yeah I just said kerfuffle, that broke out when Lorde criticized pop starlet Selena Gomez for promoting a woman-as-sex-object fantasy via her song, “Come & Get It”.

Lorde commented in an interview in Rolling Stone:

“I love pop music on a sonic level, but I’m a feminist and the theme of her song ‘Come & Get It,’ is when you’re ready come and get it from me.. I’m sick of women being portrayed this way.”

Lorde was immediately and mercilessly mocked for daring to point out how the starlet machine sells young female singers as sex objects. The idiotic Gomez replied:

“I think she is super talented and I think it’s awesome. But I think at the same time that feminism and that specific thing is very sensitive because in my opinion it’s not feminism if you’re tearing down another artist.”

The stupidity. It burns.

What clueless clowns like Gomez don’t understand is that real art criticizes. Real art challenges. Overturns. Mocks. Disturbs the status quo.

Real art forces us to think about our suppositions. Our assumptions. About gender. About sexuality. About race. About class. About life.

What genericlowns like Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez produce is not art, it is product. To call them “artists” is to vomit in Duchamp’s urinal. Actually, no. Strike that. Vomiting in Duchamp’s urinal would be the first artistic gesture that Selena Gomez ever made, whether or not she fluffed James Franco in a Harmony Korine film.

To her credit, Lorde refused to issue the standard mea culpa forced on celebrities who dare to rock the media boat. It takes a 16 year old girl to call bullshit on the electric whore show.

And it’s about time.

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TL;DR: I like Lorde because she’s willing to criticize the underlying assumptions of contemporary popular media.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars
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# posted by douchebag1
Links n' stuff:
8:13 am October, 21 DarkSock said...

First – I call dibs on “The Electric Whore Show” as a band name.

Second – Sure, she’s a talented writer with an old soul who is beyond her years in maturity and talent, but hey – she ain’t no Miley Cyrus. She needs to wait until she’s 18, then shed her clothes, expose her shorn tooterbug, and go around with her tongue sticking out so much it needs SPF 30, licking hammers and what-not, to prove she’s a WOMAN now, with hair on her beaver. Which she shows everyone that she’s shaved off. THEN come talk to me about “Lorde”.
asa
Gotta stick to the rules. Son.

8:15 am October, 21 DarkSock said...

Oh, and twerking. I forgot about that. Kids want what they want. Twerk, my Lorde, twerk your narrow white booty.

8:21 am October, 21 Chris in 'Baghdad said...

Touche DB1. About damn time. Miley Cyrus gimme a break.

8:46 am October, 21 Fyodor Dostedouchesky said...

Well said boss, and I love the tunes. Now what’s this you say about Selena Gomez and James Franco?

9:08 am October, 21 Dude McCrudeshoes said...

Gomez has a point, though she probably doesn’t understand it herself. If you make a lot of bank playing along with the cliche, you still have plenty of time to be a feminist when you are off the clock. Depressing. Cynical. True.
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Lorde is awesome. I’ll lust after her Keri Russell’s little sister vibe in another couple of years. (Nah, I wont’ really wait.)

9:14 am October, 21 bruinflak said...

And that is why I love this place. One of the reasons, anyway.

9:31 am October, 21 Dr. Bunsen HoneyDouche said...

Some brilliant writing there Boss and the juxtaposition with the Sunday video is brilliant. And don’t forget, Lorde is a racist too.

10:13 am October, 21 Vin Douchal said...

@ Doc
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Verónica Bayetti Flores is fuccen full of herself. Get over it.
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The song? Meh. The attitude, perfect

10:17 am October, 21 Dude McCrudeshoes said...

@Dr. BHD, I feel a little bit dumber having read that. Unless it’s double reverse irony… in which case it’s awesome, but also too subtle for my uptake.

10:19 am October, 21 Vin Douchal said...

Good shit comes in many forms. The Raconteurs feature the genius of Jack White and Brendan Benson. Dudes fuccen rock:
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Conselor of the Lonely

11:31 am October, 21 Steve said...

Bros are wearing padded longsleeve muscle shirts now.

http://www.uproxx.com/sports/2013/10/finally-undershirt-douchebag-lazy-hit-gym/

12:02 pm October, 21 Dr. Bunsen HoneyDouche said...

@ Vin and Dudue McC
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I included the link because the chick that wrote that tripe has gotten shit stomped by the rest of the free-think world as the complete asshat that I agree she is. Epic humor fail for me.

12:03 pm October, 21 Dr. Bunsen HoneyDouche said...

Whos is Dudue? Maybe Dude McC?
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Learning to fuccen type.

12:21 pm October, 21 Dude McCrudeshoes said...

It’s OK Doc, I my 2nd choice for a handle was Fondue la Frottage. This is a true story as far as you know.

12:50 pm October, 21 DoucheyWallnuts said...

Wait, what?
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And it could be considered feminism if you are tearing down another artist(s) who is (are) clearly a misogynistic chauvinist, like most rappers.

1:34 pm October, 21 DarkSock said...

Frottage.
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MMMM….good.

3:51 pm October, 21 DoucheyWallnuts said...

Rev, give us an example of something – dare I say – you wouldn’t hit.

4:55 pm October, 21 Vin Douchal said...

Never mind Selena Gomez, look at Vanessa Hudgens. I would suck her pooch pouch until her pouch was pooched.
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That little ginch turns me on. NSFW leaked photo of her hairy triangle

5:00 pm October, 21 Vin Douchal said...

BTW, if’n your interested, this website has all her nudies. Your balls will thank me, your wrist will curse me

8:17 pm October, 21 Troy Tempest said...

I’ve been listening to Lorde since August. I bought her CD last week. It’s very very good.

8:44 pm October, 21 Bag Em Tag Em said...

Gosh, DB1

You use your tongue purtier than a twenty dollar whore

11:41 pm October, 21 Whoop-de-douche said...

She’s sixteen.
She’s just a peewee kiwi.

10:11 am October, 22 FredN. said...

THANK YOU VIN THANK YOU VIN THANK YOU VIN

1:10 pm October, 22 Army of Douche-ness said...

While i appreciate the anti-elitist, anti-”bling” message of it I don’t really need to be told that for my own purposes. Plus, there’s always just hardcore. But then, I’m not an impressionable teen. However, I can’t wait to see the average motherfucker that sways with the breeze swing the opposite way coming up. It seems to both serve and speak to the collective conscious as a modern day Tin Pan Alley or “recession music” so good on the powers that be for getting the “austerity” message onto the airwaves and ironically turning it in itself into commerce, such as has always been the genius of the business elite; the ability to clown themselves while they make your money off of it and then have greater socio-economic power and influence than you in the society you live in as the result. Message aside, musically, it’s good music for napping, but not good music for actually listening to music

1:57 am October, 23 Jacques Doucheteau said...

If the industry bought it, then it was made to sell. It was not made by a real artist, it was made by a production worker. Artists like Cobain who got caught up in the organ grinder of pop music and resisted in earnest were murdered blew their own brains out. There are no real artists anymore. They’re all fucking dead. Dead, or hacks.
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This girl may think she has a real message…but let’s face it. She’s sixteen. At that age, no person has the worldly experience to realize when their getting bamboozled. Her message will get twisted to whatever suits the industries’ purpose: to make money. And they will make money. From EVERYONE, you and me included.
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They have garbage tailored for the superficial sex-obsessed masses. But they also have equally obnoxious, polished turds designed to appeal to the wall flower pseudo-intellectuals that eschew popular culture, yet are more than happy to lay their dollars down for anything they view as “subversive” and anti-pop. What have you bought or bought into in the past 6 months?
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Being against the grain has become a demographic all its own, with its own throng of money-hungry businessmen ready to pander to it. Need proof? Hot Topic. Suicide girls. Steam punk. Tattoo parlors by the dozens popping up in every town. But their all owned and run by the corporations they supposedly subvert. Every Warner Brothers has its Metal Blade. Every DC has its Vertigo. Rupert Murdoch has a stake in Vice Magazine for fuck’s sake.
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How independent do you think independent really is anymore? DB1 has to dedicate a link or two to some tripe Amazon.com has to sell every Friday just to keep the site up and running. It’s a labor of love he says, I know, but now love requires a corporate sponsor? I suppose Zappos should underwrite my marriage.
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Dead or hacks, that’s the only thing they’ll feed you. Hacks, because they play ball. Dead, because they didn’t play ball, and now the industry gets to keep the residuals off of what the artist died for.
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The closest thing I’ve seen to genuine artistic performance in the past 20 years is shitty teenage punk bands in basement shows, playing for donations or just the fuck of it. Street artists risking arrest just to make their art public, and don’t care if anyone notices. Photographers that don’t Photoshop the shit out of their pics, watermark them, and then try and hock them on dozens of stock photog sites at once. Hungover assholes that take sloppy whiskey dumps in them morning and yell from the bathroom “hey honey, look at this! It’s HUUUUUUUUGE!” have more artistic integrity in their armpit foam than these pop singers will have over their entire career.
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If it’s for sale, then it’s being tailored strictly for that purpose. Lorde is no different. Remember that.

2:17 am October, 23 Jacques Doucheteau said...

Troy. You bought her CD. Not trying to single you out, but as an example, you BOUGHT her CD.
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How much was it?
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How much of that will she see?
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You’re a musician. You’re familiar with the music industry, you know what percentage of record sales the artist actually sees. How much of your money did Republic Records (Universal Music Group) get? How much did they make off your distaste of the pop music machine?
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No offense intended, but you been had. Hey, me too. They’ve had us all.

2:19 am October, 23 Jacques Doucheteau said...

http://www.negativland.com/news/?page_id=17

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