Monday, March 21, 2011

Black day

Long-time readers may recall a post from a few years ago, when I flippantly remarked that in the future, Z-grade party music would need to be accompanied by more and more explicit imagery in order not just to sell, but to penetrate the clogged mind-space of our Twitter-addled kiddies. I mentioned in passing, too, that the nudge-nudge, wink-wink style of most of today's MTV and VH1 fodder would soon edge closer and closer to outright pornography as music plummeted towards its auto-tuned nadir.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it gives me no pleasure whatsoever (well, only a bit) to announce that that day has come to pass. In the last two weeks music has bottomed out as a creative force, and videos have abandoned their former faux-modesty and embraced out-and-out stroke material. It would be perfect if these two events had occurred simultaneously in the same song and the same video. Unfortunately for fans of synchronicity, I'm talking about two separate things. If the creator of the song in question had commissioned the director of the video in question to create a clip to accompany their musical offering, well, I'd have melted down my CD collection, disconnected from the internet and enrolled at a monastery to await the End of Days, which could surely only have been a matter of months away.

The song, then, as you may have guessed, is Rebecca Black's Friday. Having heard this described by the Twitterati as the worst song ever, my guard was immediately up. Really? The worst ever? Clearly you haven't heard any Gay Dad, I thought. But while this blog's raison d'ĂȘtre is (in part) to challenge widely-held cultural assumptions (what, you thought it was just mp3s and witless drivel?), in this case the majority are correct. The song is absolute dreck by any standard. It's witless, charmless and cynical. Metre, scansion. rhythm have all been jettisoned. Its lyrics are trite and banal. It's below.

This fresh hell was superceded, though, by my discovery of the latest video from Skepta. No, I hadn't heard of him before today, either. He's from Tottenham, apparently. But I suspect you're going to be hearing a bit more about this young man in the next few weeks. When every other video on VH1 is borderline pornography, and when even Rihanna and Lady Gaga are adopting the sort of mise-en-scene that was previously the preserve of the likes of Eric Prydz, I guess it was only a matter of time before someone pushed the envelope. Skepta has not only pushed it, he's torn it into pieces and shoved it up the postman's jacksy. I'm really not sure whether this is a good thing. A large part of me applauds the lack of hypocrisy in posting real sex, as opposed to the stupid faux-titillation on offer from every other R&B star (particularly Lady Gaga, who uses sex to sell her image, but is actually, as far as I can tell, deeply uninterested in the act). Another part of me, though, thinks "must we fling this filth at our pop kids?", a phrase bandied around jokily in the NME for many decades but now strangely apt. The music that accompanies this bacchanalia? Well, it's OK. It's no Rebecca Friday, but still...

If you haven't yet seen the Skepta video, there's a link below. Be warned, it's definitely NSFW. It's also unsuitable for Daily Mail readers, grandmothers, people of a nervous disposition, children, your husband, your wife. Once again, NSFW. I'm still not sure what I think (though there's a definite feeling that the genie's out of the bottle and that things won't be the same again), but as someone on another forum commented, "We've come a long way since Bohemian Rhapsody."

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