Monday, 8 August 2011

Swagger Jagger isn't actually that terrible

It shocks me to say this but Swagger Jagger, the current UK number 1 selling single and spawn of the X-Factor music defecating machine, isn't actually as terrible as many people are making out. This is not to say that it is great piece of music by any description, I hardly expect it to be remembered in a years time, but after having listened to it a number of times I just can't find anything to class it as outstandingly terrible or the apex of pre-fab commercial Pop tastelessness. It is, at best/worst, just a wee bit naff.

Yes, it does have a large section of fake "urban"* hip-hop and excessive posturing egotistical rhetoric but this is delivered in such an over-the-top & cartoonish manner that to consider it pretentious would be like complaining that Billy Piper's "Because we want to" is a disrespectful pastiche of Public Enemy. It is a bit naff, but it's naff in the way that teenage female pop fans eat up, and it is also accompanied by a perfectly acceptable Euro style dance track where Cher Lloyd clearly demonstrates that she can actually sing. Were the dance section to have been released by itself (possibly without the X-Factor connections) it would be a perfectly respectable disco floor-filler. I actually think that the producers deciding to glue the two sections together means that they are willing to try something different and potentially interesting which I have to applaud them for, even if the end result is somewhat disappointing.

So why the backlash against this? Whilst some of it has to be the ongoing "death to the X-Factor" sentiment from the comments and abuse I have seen online (mostly on her youtube video) a lot of it falls down to snobbery and band-wagon jumping. The snobbery is in the form of people constantly referring to her as a "chav", which I can neither confirm nor deny due to not being bothered to know anything about her beyond the very basics. Hurm... not the best reason to dislike someone's music, however it's the X-Factor so where the projected-personality ends and the actual musical performance starts is a very difficult thing to say. But I still don't think it a great reason to dislike someone's music as it is rejection on the grounds of prejudice of background, rather than them just having been involved in something a bit weak and dribbly.

The band-wagon jumping comes from the repeated comparisons to "Friday" by the truly talentless (and possibly delusional) Rebecca Black. Now let me make this very clear: this song is in no way as bad as Friday. It is not as formulaic, it is not as inane, it is not as badly produced, it is not as badly performed, and it is not as mind slammingly offensively pointless. This is like watching slapping a five-year old so hard that they look kind of put out and then claiming to have watched the greatest fighter since Muhammed Ali, imo because the UK desperately wants to have something trendy and exciting to hate. However whislt Friday is terrible this is just a bit crap.

So, please, do not think is an endorsement of this tune as listening to it is a waste of three and a half minutes of your life and the criticism of listless bland corporate formulated music is something that I heartily encourage. But try and keep a sense of perspective in these things or you will use all your bile and venom against something that is mealy limp & disappointing that has managed to get into the singles chart (a chart that is getting more and more meaningless as the serious music purchaser focuses on albums, and is notoriously dominated by novelty pop chintz aimed at the teen  & pre-teen Pop market) and have nothing left for when something truly, apolitically awful comes along.
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