Tuesday, December 13, 2016

FrankJavCee - Pop Song (ft. Marionismagical)

I've written before about soundclowns, and meme music, yet have failed to address perhaps the greatest, tongue-in-cheek, talent, FrankJavCee. I first came across Frank when I was going through my vaporwave discovery phase, particularly spurred by Krystal Rodriguez's article on Thump "Is Simpsonswave a Real Thing?" This led me to find, and enjoy, much of his album vol 1.999, released on 4/20. I was particularly struck by "Clams Casino" which is a remix of Frou Frou's "Let Go," but that's basically just because I'm a sucker for Garden State. However, if you're into vaporwave at all, I imagine you'll enjoy "Simpsonswave 1995," Marge Krump Beat," and "Earth Bound Trap" as well. But back to the reason behind this post.

Yesterday, the world was gifted with the massive 30 track, FrankJavCee Volume Two, and while the majority of tracks are mere simplistic drivel (and purposefully so) there is at least one poignant production. "Pop Song" featuring frequent collaborator Marionismagical is a slice of sharp satire. It is tracks like this that have propelled Frank from internet obscurity to internet fame. He is no slouch when it comes to music production, and uses that skill to lampoon the masses who both create and consume the mindless tripe that is pop music. The poignant lines of lyrics are so utterly disarming; "What makes popular music so popular / Are you living vicariously through all the stars / Is it the money and fame and all the fancy cars / If you say it's tragic, you don't really got it."

"Pop Song" is actually a smartly produced piece of music, utilizing all of the hallmarks of its namesake, making it easily consumed. And I'm proof of that easy consumption, I've listened to it at least two dozen times in the past 24 hours. It sounds so clearly like a 2016 production; a year in which electronic and pop music have become more intertwined then ever. It's kind of kawaii, it's kind of trap, it's kind of future bass, but in the end, it's almost impossible to identify its genre. It's pure pop, pure 2016. Frank ingeniously puts a mirror in the face of the music industry, which rightly or wrong has evolved into this amorphous blob. Pop music has forever been a lighter, more accessible version of what was seen to be cool, whether it be rock, rap or hip-hop, but now it seems to have enveloped all of those and more, becoming the ultimate crossover. Yet again, I've let this post get off track and become a philosophical treatise, my apologies, unless you enjoy it, then you're welcome.

But back to the song at hand. The real quality of "Pop Song" comes in the lyrical/vocal content. Marionismagical delivers a believable performance, easily fitting into the song as any would any of the seemingly infinite number of utterly replaceable vocalists out there. This is not meant to be an attack on her quality, rather it's perfect for this production. The current state of pop music does not allow for personality and/or nuance in vocals, and even if it is there, it is easily wiped away through automation such as auto-tune. The dry delivery of Frank's voice in the "rap" bit, is yet another slice of his genius that overflows in this production.

As a cherry on top, Frank addresses perhaps the biggest problem I have with music, and more specifically the music industry, through the lyric "Are we really honest / when we say we're artists." What is art and at what point does art become business? I'll leave you to mull this over while you listen to "Pop Song" below. If you enjoy it, I urge you to dig a little deeper into FrankJavCee's online presence, and check out more of his, at times brilliant, album, Volume Two.