We have all seen them, these youth beyond reach or rehabilitation, these children raised on Kidz Bop. These poor, naive souls, not entirely cloistered from popular music, but experiencing it only through the unthreatening, bubble-wrapped lenses of homogeneous censorship. These unknowingly deprived creatures, consuming only the sanitized reproductions of Top 40 Hits, at once both heartless and deceivingly angel-voiced, with any remaining vestige of originality (a quality already rare) now boiled out until all that is left is the musical equivalent of the colorless, pressed meat fragments of a bland chicken nugget.
These sorry Kidz Bop kids grow up bitter without knowing why. They fixate on the vague suspicion that something important has been taken from them, or, if not taken, then denied (But what and by whom?). This is how they drift through life, angsty and confused. One day, as they shuffle their way toward the mall’s food court for the temporary, sweet distraction of an Orange Julius, they pass a Spencer’s Gifts. Their attention, first caught by a strobe light flashing against an ironic Sesame Street T-shirt, is now seized by the intoxicatingly vicious music shrieking from the speakers like a frightened car alarm clawing desperately from the gaping maw of a wood-chipper. Like Sesame Street under a strobe light, the tune is familiar but rebellious, inviting but dangerous. It is recognizably DJ Snake & Lil Jon‘s over-saturated “Turn Down For What”, but this is most certainly not the DJ Snake and Lil Jon version. The electronic bleeps and bloops have been replaced by the shredding of angry guitars and relentless, overbearing drums, and now lyrics! Not just any lyrics, but a nihilist orgy of bad words! Frightened and exhilarated, adolescent Kidz Bop kid inches ever closer. Is this what’s been missing from my life? This music, the adolescents tell themselves, fills that personality-shaped hole inside. This music will provide the soundtrack to my revolt (a revolt against who or what still yet to be determined, but parents will provide a satisfactory substitute until a more fitting raison d’etre makes itself known).
Emboldened, Kidz Bop kid approaches a Spencer’s employee and inquires about the track. The band, they learn, is known as Upon a Burning Body (the menacing moniker providing Kidz Bop kid with a little thrill). The employee adds that the track also features gangsta rap legend Ice-T.
“Who?” asks Kidz Bop kid.
“Detective Tutuola from Law & Order: SVU.” The employee hands Kidz Bop kid a CD, Fearless Records’ Punk Goes Pop 6. Kidz Bop kid is pleasantly surprised to learn there are five more albums of songs just like this to collect; it reminds him of Kidz Bop.
A few thoughts on this fascinating music video:
Ice T’s few lyrics mostly focus on assuring us that he doesn’t give a fuck. If there was ever any dispute over Ice T giving a fuck, his very appearance in this music video is irrefutable evidence that he most certainly does not. For most of the video, he doesn’t even bother getting up from his seat.
At 2:42, he rifles through a briefcase full of Spencer’s Gifts party favors and can’t even contain his disgust for the sponsor’s products. He hands them off to his wife, Coco Austin, like, “Here, you figure this crap out.”
Meanwhile, Danny Leal’s earlobes serve as a visual cautionary tale against removing your ear gauges. Every time he gets near the stage, I fear a stripper’s heel getting caught up in one of those Droopy Dog loops.
And are they seriously tipping the strippers with Spencer’s Gifts coupons? No wonder the security guard is giving them trouble.
[Photo Credit: Sinestra Studios]