Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rude Girl

Fair warning: this is a blatantly pop music post.

And I normally eschew pop music and the culture that goes with it completely. However, I have to say I've found one record by one performer that is really interesting to me over the last few months. Even I'm surprised by it.

Her name is Robyn. I was flipping through channels one night during a particularly bad bout of insomnia, and I came across her video for the song "Konichiwa Bitches" (the first one shown below). I stopped for a second and found I really liked her flow (among other things I'll talk about in a second after you see the vid). The next day, I was just browsing in the library and found a copy of her self titled (at Amazon) album. I thought it was interesting for that to happen, so I checked out the record and found I really liked it.

So here are the 3 official videos to songs I most dig off the album (except "Who's that Girl"--that'll get an entry all its own at some point), and some reasons that they really interest me (other than the fact that they all have basslines that I really like a lot):

"Konichiwa Bitches"

While I have to admit, I'm not crazy about the use of the B word, notice how she's using it, here; its not a gender specific derogatory term. She's using it to mean everyone else. It's still derogatory, and gender-based, but not gender specific, if you see my distinction. The female version of Busta saying "I Got You All In Check" . And I'm not crazy about yet another white artist adopting hip hop beats and culture, notice what she's doing here...were it not for her (no other way to describe it) "cute" voice, you'd see these lyrics move between nonsense and hardcore gangsta ideas. This continuous tension between sexism and culture appropriation and sincere violence and reverse sexist intent is what really interests me about this song.

"Crash and Burn Girl"

I like the idea that some people should have to wear warning stickers *grin*. "It's just that every time you mess it up like that I see myself in you" she sings and I like the idea of a super-dance-y club song not about how sexy someone is, or about how much fun the party is, but about the after effects and how one person has been there, done that, and gotten out trying to tell another about what is coming down the road. It was just (and I mean JUST) featured on an episode of "Gossip Girl" .


Every time I listen to this song, what catches me is her use of the term "rude girl" . I am not very familiar with Jamaican or British slang, so I'd never heard anyone use that term before. I like how her seeming nonsense lyric, here, reminds us of the classic "nonsense" parts of The Sugarhill Gang's classic "Rapper's Delight."

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