I have a theory. I don’t expect it to be a popular one, but here goes anyway: Justin Bieber is the male Lady Gaga.
BEAR WITH ME.
Now, I don’t mean in a musical sense, or (somewhat disappointingly) in terms of fashion either, no matter how much I’d like to see Bieber wearing a giant lit cigarette on his head at his next concert, or shoes that meet regulatory standards for the butchering of cattle, or just dousing himself in pig’s blood and running around screaming, “SISSY SPACEK! SISSY SPACEK! SISSY SPACEK!” as I’m sure Lady Gaga will have to do at some point because ideas are finite.
Presently sitting at number 2 on Billboard and ARIA charts (after previously hitting #1 on the Billboard), Moves Like Jagger is the quadrennial reminder that yes, Maroon 5 do exist. And they make music still! How cute! It also has Christina Aguilera in it, presumably a pairing borne of Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera working together on US talent search The Voice. So naturally, after spending so much time searching for said Voice, Levine has returned his band to success after – IF NO ONE ELSE WILL SAY IT, I GUESS I’LL HAVE TO – a bit of a SLUMP, quite frankly. For shame, Maroon 5. For. Shame.
Just quickly, I’d like to say sorry for my lateness with this post. I’ve been meaning to get around to this for some time but I’ve been working on a very important project in collaboration with my couch and my television.
(NOTE: I am too lazy to find a non-Vevo, embeddable version of most videos, mostly because it is nigh impossible. I apologise for this, but I’m sure you’re all capable of right-clicking and choosing ‘Watch on Youtube’, or using YouTube yourself. I hope. I think this one should work, though.)
I’ve intended to cover this song ever since it hit number one. And really, I can’t say anything else before I talk a little bit about their band name. Yes, yes it is LMFAO. Yes, yes it does stand for ‘laughing my fucking ass off’. This is a real thing whose success people are facilitating. This is a real thing that has happened.
Pop music is…a lot of things. Often terrible, but sometimes awesome. Sometimes used to convey messages about important issues, or messages about bitches and hoes (a lesser problem since President Snoop ‘Doggy’ Dogg took all of them in from off the streets). Frequently used for shameless shilling for a product or company, or used to kick dirt in the eyes of the same people. But pop music as a vessel for an R&B and reggae-tinged anti-capitalist jam? This one’s new to me.
As a song, Price Tag is, frankly, unremarkable. It breezes by on a fairly catchy, almost reggae-evoking guitar lick, an infectious vocal hook, some autotuned faux-harmony and a fairly stillborn guest verse from B.o.B. It’s vaguely anthemic in its build, and it’s probably a truer pop song than, say, the recent output of Rihanna or Britney mostly in the sense that it’s not designed simply to make ecstacy-using clubbers’ eye sockets rattle.
So why bring attention to this song at all? Well, it’s chiefly because its core message is so wonderfully ironic that it would make Alanis Morissette’s uterus explode.
It’s actually moderately surprising it has taken me this long to get to Ke$ha since she would appear to be the nadir of the sluttiness in pop I’ve talked so much about, but NOT SO. Read on, fair reader.
For the record, I will henceforth simply type Kesha, because she is really not worth the effort it takes to type any symbol of a currency. When she popped up as a solo artist in 2009 with ‘Tik Tok’, it immediately became an absolute smash, and really stepped into a mostly unfilled void (which she herself rarely has) in the pop music world. Sure, we’re used to hypersexual pop stars by now, and pop stars that love to party, BUT: was the world quite ready for trashbag-pop?