The first I heard of Jessie J was when I suffered a nasty bout of outrage fatigue after listening to her song “Price Tag” on the radio one morning. For those who haven’t heard it, it sounds very similar to “Where Is The Love” by The Black Eyed Peas, and seems to have been custom made for dense, socially unaware teens and 20-somethings to blare out of small, tinny speakers on the bus.
It’s easy to see why some people are so critical of contemporary music and popular culture at the moment. Songwriters seem to be perpetually rewriting past hits for people who are too stupid to remember that they’ve already bought those past hits several times before, albeit under different titles and with ever so slightly changed lyrics.
Very much in a similar vein to that horrendous “I need a dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need, hey hey!” song, the chorus of “Price Tag” features Jessie singing the words: “It’s not about the money money money, we don’t need your money money money, we just wanna make the world dance, forget about the price tag.”
As I said, very much in a similar vein to the horrendous “I need a dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need…” song.
So initially, mostly because it sounded like an irritating mix between a song by The Black Eyed Peas and the horrendous “I need a dollar dollar, a dollar is what I need…” song, I wasn’t too fond of “Price Tag”, or Jessie J. I particularly disliked the intro in which Jessie bellows a short snippet of incomprehensible nonsense that confused me so much that I literally spent the entire song trying to decipher what the hell she was talking about.
She says: “Okay, coconut man, moon heads and me. You ready?”
No, no I’m not ready. NO.
“Okay, coconut man, moon heads and me. You ready?” Now there’s very little discussion about this online, which surprised me because it’s ridiculous. She basically sounds like how I would sound if I decided to become a raunchy, urban pop songstress. And I’m not a raunchy, urban pop songstress, I’m an 80-year-old white man trapped in the body of a young person. I’m not in touch with my generation, or any generation for the matter. I like sitting down, resting and quiet sounds, not pretending to be edgy, rapping, warbling my voice and not wearing very many clothes.
If I was told to come up with a sentence that sounded vaguely cool and “down with the kids” this kind of nonsensical crap that would find it’s way out of my mouth. She’s basically pretending that she’s making a shout out to her homies. Except, she doesn’t have any homies, so she’s resorted to making a shout out to two fictional rappers/DJs that only exist in her head — coconut man and moon head.
As it happens, this is Jessie’s thing. She likes introducing her songs by stringing together a series of random words or simply making annoying noises. For example, in her most popular song, “Do It Like A Dude” — in which Jessie brags that she can be just as obnoxious as a dude, if not more obnoxious — she kicks things off by stuttering, “J-J-J-Jessie J!”
You see, it’s very similar to, “G-G-G-G UNIT!” but whereas many of us heard 50 Cent going “G-G-G-G UNIT!” and labeled him a twat, Jessie J heard 50 Cent going “G-G-G-G UNIT!” and decided that he was actually quite cool. She thought, “You know what? I’m going to replicate that, changing ‘G-G-G-G UNIT!’ to ‘J-J-J-Jessie J!’ because my name is Jessie J.” That’s what she thought.
Her gimmick for this video is that she has weird, sparkly lips. Edgy, I think is the word that’s needed to describe Jessie in this video. She even says “motherfucker”, one of George Carlin’s 7 words you can never say on TV. Sorry, she says “motherfucker” in the “explicit version” of the song; in the clean version she just kind of goes quiet and in the acoustic version she laughs, as if she finds parental incest amusing.
As I said, she’s edgy.
In the chorus for “Do It Like A Dude”, Jessie sings: “Do it like a brother (bruddah), do it like a dude (derp). Grab my crotch, wear my hat low like you.” And then, to prove how well she can do it like a dude she does a little walk with her legs apart and then grabs her vagina.
Admittedly, I was impressed by how well she could do it like a dude. But I bet she can’t respect Jeremy Clarkson or piss up against a urinal, scratch herself, break wind, spit into the urinal and then walk off without washing her hands. I bet she can’t make borderline rapey comments about a member of the opposite sex without her friends wondering whether or not she’s actually a rapist. I bet she can’t knowledgeably debate the advantages and disadvantages of a variety of popular lagers, ranking them in order and assigning them scores, when chatting to mates in a pub/bar.
I bet she can’t do any of those things remotely as well as a dude.
But don’t get me wrong; Jessie’s very good at doing it like the dudes, if not better, as evidenced by her excellent Allan Sherman impression.
I’m not sure if Allan Sherman and his grammy-winning novelty song “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah” are popular with the kids or not, but Jessie seems to bringing it back in fashion either way. She’s making the way a middle-aged, long-dead, Jewish comedian pronounces the words “mother”, “father” and “brother” sexy again. Although I can’t ever recall Sherman using the word “motherfucker” or “man dem”, which wasn’t a word I was familiar with before I consulted the Urban Dictionary.
“Man dem”, in case you were wondering, refers to ones group of homies or friends, which, as we discovered in “Price Tag”, Jessie doesn’t have. Yet, as if she’s overcompensating, she repeatedly sings “man dem, man dem, man dem…” in what I guess is a vain attempt to appear loved.
She’s accompanied throughout the “Do It Like A Dude” video by a hired collection of doped-up hipsters. But these people don’t appreciate Jessie’s love for the work of comedian Allan Sherman, they’re not impressed by her sparkly lips and bizarre shaky head, and they’re definitely not her “man dem”. They’re taking advantage of poor Jessie.
She might seem like Lady Gaga with black hair (edgier colour) and the voice of Allan Sherman, but she’s actually very different. Lady Gaga sets out to cash-in on vacuous morons who have only recently mastered the act of blinking. Sometimes Gaga shamelessly tries to appeal to minority groups by unwittingly writing songs that are surprisingly offensive to minority groups. Whereas Lady Gaga seems to have been created using venn diagrams and pie charts, Jessie J just seems a bit original — a bit more edgy.
Perhaps the record companies have got to me, but after I saw Jessie gyrate her head and pout her sparkly, gem-encrusted lips, I couldn’t help thinking that she was a bit weird – a bit edgy. And now, after hearing her music being blasted out of small, tinny speakers on the bus, everyday for the past 2 months, I love Jessie J. She’s actually very edgy – bit different.