LMFAO, like it or not, was the musical duo that shook the ass of 2011. Hell, they are still shaking our asses now, as they reenter the Billboard top 10 with their inescapable “Sexy And I Know It.” I don’t think I like it, and though I am stoked you have a positive self-image guys, I really want to stop hearing about it . Fat dirty club stomping beats. Men in shining speedos. Golden robots and thick gold chains. These are all things I love. But when they fold them into one another and boil them over with the flat simplistic rhymes of RedFoo and SkyBlu, who seem to give no fucks about anything but parties, rocking, and the act and style they call PartyRockin, it can just be exhausting. I can’t say I haven’t danced to it. The first five times it was really fun. The music and lyrics just become redundant annoyances, blighting airwaves and ear drums of the global population as they keep hammering and hammering and hammering away. Unless you are hammered, they are really no fun at all. The music is all about having fun, but it lacks sincerity and originality so much it makes me want to spit. You can’t see that internet, but I just spat on my apartment floor.
I think what eventually irked me the most though was discovering that Berry Gordy is the father of Stefan Kendal Gordy (RedFoo) and grandfather of Skylar Austen Gordy (SkyBlu). Don’t get me wrong, I love funky family bands – Sly and the Family Stone, The Carpenters – but this I cannot hang with. We are talking about musical royalty flapping their dicks, wearing lens-less glasses and using Autotune. The children of Motown use Autotune.
Then again this does make a sad sort of sense; Motown Records, one of the most influential forces in American music, if not the inventors or perfecters of pop music, was also one of the first institutions that made music into a marketable product. The sound was tight and together, the image was dialed into the perfect taste of the moment; harmonies were together and never unpleasant and the songs had a coy sexuality, never “sexual.” What divides the HARD-TO-PRONOUNCE-ACRONYM claptrap from Classic Motown though are two major reasons.
First is the reason for the past and present’s meticulous crafting of image. With Motown, this was actually Gordy’s attempt to integrate the music industry. Though tyrannical and potentially detrimental to Black aesthetic (i.e.: if you look white enough or approachable to White people, you will be a success), Gordy did this because he wanted the artists he represented to be Black ambassadors to a segregated America. He did it to prove a Black artist could be as or even more polished and talented than their White counterparts. You can see LMFAO’s image is built carefully, from the hipster frames to the insta-nostolgia 90s wardrobe, but to what end? To be possibly misinterpreted as irony or just look like the sparkly scratching post for children who are rolling? I am fine with people looking so ridiculous that it’s awesome, but to do so with what seems like a lack of knowledge as to why they are styled in such a way is an affront to general taste. Yes, I just said that, it’s sounds a little Tipper Gore, but I mean it. The most sinister thing I can think of is that LMFAO recognizes a stupidity in American Pop consumers and will do anything to match it, but I believe in people too much to make that my main argument.
The second is the passion and talent of Classic Motown performers. Those men and women cared about creating music. LMFAO cares about shots. Motown’s men and women performed music as an act of passion, they put love and heartbreak and life into their work. Smokey Robinson stated that the famous “Motown Sound” that everyone thought was in the air of Detroit, really was in the spirit of the singers, who recorded all over America and sought to capture that sound because they believed in their music. There doesn’t seem to be any genuine sound to a LMFAO record. Its buzzy electro fun, but it hardly deserves recognition beyond club fodder. I also might add that Motown was also a way for some artists to move up economically, hence the additional passion. RedFoo was a day trader before he was a rapper, yet another thing I blame the Recession for, this blasted career.