Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Iggy Azalea, straight outta Mullumbimby

Via the Herald-Sun today comes news of Iggy Azalea, the girl from Mullumbimby trying to become the next girl-next-door Britney Spears type but with a twangy voice like Nicki Minaj and the street message of M.I.A. She has the #2 song in America right now with Fancy, though she's a far cry from Wally de Backer. The video is boilerplate Spears, portraying female pop artist as desirable virginal cheerleader schoolgirl, but the music is more beat-heavy for the clubs as is the modern trend.

Should one pay any attention to the lyrics in such a song? Yes, because millions of girls will sing it to themselves and each other, reinforcing its message. That message is pretty standard rapper stuff about how hot she is, how she's in the "Murda Bizness" (!), how she's about to blow up as a star despite the haters, etc etc. The bridge is what caught my attention:
Trash the hotel
Let's get drunk on the mini bar
Make the phone call
Feels so good getting what I want
Yeah, keep on turning it up
Chandelier swinging, we don't give a fuck
Film star, yeah I'm deluxe
Classic, expensive, you don't get to touch
Now, I could easily imagine Iggy (or collaborator Charli XCX) writing that after getting put up at a plush hotel by their label Virgin/EMI like any other kid who just got signed by a major, and it's grist for the mill for a rapper to be boasting about living the glam lifestyle... but when it's an Aussie white girl singing it, it boggles the mind a bit.

As the rise of gangsta rap in the 1980s coincided with the excesses of the rich fuelled by Reagan-era profligacy, so this song is part of a confirmation of New Gilded Age conspicuous over-consumption. Azalea makes it explicit by referring to "bringing '88 back", when maximum air was in Reagan's bubble just before the '89 crash. I look forward to seeing whether she has anything of substance to say in future songs.

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