November 14, 2013
Can Pop Music Really Parody Itself?

Lily Allen’s recent viral video “Hard Out Here" doesn’t so much parody pop music as it demonstrates how little space there is between parody and pop. Allen is ostensibly sending up various other uber-popular songs, including ones by Three-Six Mafia, Robin Thicke, and most obviously, Miley Cyrus. “Don’t you want to have somebody who objectifies you?” she sings before fellating a banana at the behest of a suit-wearing white dude and smirking ironically as her black dancers gyrate in slow-motion amid product-placed cars and booze.
Allen is both commenting on and pretending to be the exploited woman at the center of the music-making sausage factory. The problem is that this doesn’t actually end up looking all that much different from Miley Cyrus both lusting after and pretending to be a twerking black woman. Pop is always about surface appearances anyway; Allen’s presenting the tropes as tropes, but they were never anything but tropes to begin with. Even the clueless white studio exec isn’t so much biting satire as a standard-issue rube/foil for the sexy shenanigans—Allen’s own version of Cyrus’s discarded-but-always-referenced Hannah Montana persona. 
Read more. [Image: Youtube]

Can Pop Music Really Parody Itself?

Lily Allen’s recent viral video “Hard Out Here" doesn’t so much parody pop music as it demonstrates how little space there is between parody and pop. Allen is ostensibly sending up various other uber-popular songs, including ones by Three-Six Mafia, Robin Thicke, and most obviously, Miley Cyrus. “Don’t you want to have somebody who objectifies you?” she sings before fellating a banana at the behest of a suit-wearing white dude and smirking ironically as her black dancers gyrate in slow-motion amid product-placed cars and booze.

Allen is both commenting on and pretending to be the exploited woman at the center of the music-making sausage factory. The problem is that this doesn’t actually end up looking all that much different from Miley Cyrus both lusting after and pretending to be a twerking black woman. Pop is always about surface appearances anyway; Allen’s presenting the tropes as tropes, but they were never anything but tropes to begin with. Even the clueless white studio exec isn’t so much biting satire as a standard-issue rube/foil for the sexy shenanigans—Allen’s own version of Cyrus’s discarded-but-always-referenced Hannah Montana persona.

Read more. [Image: Youtube]

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