I don’t really fancy myself a fan of radio top 40 pop music, but I pride myself on staying hip and current with the latest jams. After scanning local radio, it was clear that two “artists” are owning the charts right now: Lady Gaga and Flo-Rida.
Lady Gaga is a talentless wannabe with an awesome agent. I look past “Just Dance” and “Poker Face,” two mindless pieces of sugar that have been made popular by drunk females and homosexual men in clubs. But now she’s trying to sustain her popularity with “Love Game,” another cookie-cutter club jam with pumping synths and cliched lyrics. The most egregious line: “Let’s have some fun, this beat is sick, I want to take a ride on your disco stick.” Really? And no, the beat is not sick.
The funniest part about Ms. GaGa is that she calls herself a songwriter. I found this quote online: “I get tired of reading reviews about people who say my work is all about shallow b*llshit,” Gaga said. “I talked to one of my good friends, Perez Hilton, about my record. He said ‘don’t take this the wrong way, but you write really deep intelligent lyrics with shallow concepts.’ Perez is very intelligent and clearly listened to my record from beginning to end, and he is correct.” WOW. Perez Hilton is who you site for validation for your “deep lyrics” such as “just dance dum dee dum day” and “can’t read my, can’t read my, can’t ready my poker face.” Look out Springsteen.
Flo-Rida specializes in pop rap that is soft enough for top 40 but hard enough for the thuggish women out there to like. His song “Right Round” is another tragedy. For whatever reason he sampled a cheesy 80’s song, but he’s tricky because instead of taking the hook word for word, he flipped it and created an ode to oral sex.
In the grand scheme of life, Lady GaGa and Flo-Rida are insignificant. They are two people capitalizing on the stupidity of their audience and the power of a simple hook. We all know that sex sells and pandering to adolescents is the easiest way to make money these days. There’s little more that I can say that will be as articulate and funny as South Park’s episode involving the Jonas Brothers.
But the real hypocrisy comes with the FCC and radio stations playing these two specific songs. GaGa basically states in “Love Games” that she would like to mount a man’s penis (a.k.a. “disco stick”) and ride it vigorously (naturally). Flo-Rida praises the oral talents of his female partners in “Right Round” by explicitly saying “You spin my head right round, right round, when you go down, when you go down, down.” I don’t think anyone over the age of 13 would make the argument that these songs are not about sex. But because neither song directly mentions sex, sexual acts or explicit curse words, they are acceptable to be played on the radio (multiple times a day). Radio stations look the other way and deny any responsibility. Because songs now use commonly accepted slang terms like “head,” “go down,” and “disco stick”–a new one, but it might catch on!–they are deemed less offensive and more acceptable for a mass audience. Remember “Superman” by Soulja Boy? Ask a high school kid what that song is really about.
Aside from being creatively bankrupt songs, it’s pretty disheartening that people who claim to be professional “songwriters” have penned these hits. Pop music must be immune to clever double entendre, sexual innuendo and metaphors. Nope, now writers just throw some slang phrases in that aren’t recognized by parents or the powers that be and call it a day. All-in-all it’s lazy and gratuitous.
As the case with most of these issues, I don’t blame Flo-Rida or Lady GaGa. Sure, they have no talent and go for the lowest common denominator, but give it a year; they’ll be ancient history and I’ll be complaining about the next flavor of the week. But I call complete bullshit on self-righteous radio stations, ridiculous censorship laws and the FCC who allow songs about overt sexual acts to be played but throw an apocalyptic fit when a nipple pops out during the Super Bowl, a comedian tells an off-color joke or a band uses a swear word as part of a well written song.
Green Day recently made headlines by refusing to censor 21st Century Breakdown for Wal-Mart, who will not sell the album due to explicit content. Well, after listening to Green Day’s album, Lady GaGa, and Flo-Rida, it’s pretty insane that people find the word “fuck” more offensive than descriptions of sexual acts. I’m not offended by anything so I don’t give a shit. Props to Green Day for standing their ground. Artistic integrity is worth more than iTunes downloads in my book.
This whole problem could be easily solved if everyone took a cue from my new favorite R&B singer Jeremih and his song “Birthday Sex.” Straight to the point, no slang, no innuendo, just a fella singing about sex on his birthday.