June 27, 2014
Todd plays "Fancy" on the piano.
IGGY AZALEA ft. CHARLI XCX - FANCY
A pop song review
Todd: Okay, you know how I was complaining about how we [clip of Pharrell Williams - "Happy"] weren't getting any new hits a couple months ago? Yeah, well, whatever intestinal blockage the charts were suffering from, it cleared up shortly after I said that, 'cause we got all sorts of new stuff now, a lot of them by people I've never even heard of.
- Clip of MAGIC! - "Rude"
- Nasri Atweh: Why you gotta be so rude?
Todd (VO): I looked down the Hot 100 now, and I'm like, "Who the hell are [pics of...] MAGIC!, Sam Smith, Disclosure, Nico & Vinz, MKTO, Rixton, DJ Snake?" [clips of DJ Snake & Lil Jon - "Turn Down for What"...] Oh wait, I did a review of that guy. Okay, I know that one. [...and Nico & Vinz - "Am I Wrong"] Yeah, the freshman class of 2014 suddenly got a lot bigger. Though I know not to make predictions, if most of them were gone by 2015, I would not be surprised.
Todd: But there is one newcomer who I do expect to stick around; her name is Iggy Azalea. [pic of...] No, that's Iggy Pop. [...then of...] That's Iggy Koopa. [...then of Miss Piggy...] That's Miss Pig- okay, you're getting it wrong on purpose now. [...finally.] There we go, Iggy Azalea.
- Clip of "Work"
Todd (VO): Rapper from Australia, moved to Miami at age 16, lived all over the south since then, and if I'm correct, she is the first white girl to become a major success in hip hop. [clips of "Gucci Gucci" and "Rich Girl" by, respectively...] Yeah, you had people like Kreayshawn, who had buzz, but haven't really broken through, and you had your Gwen Stefanis and other pop singers who took some ideas from hip hop, but they weren't really rappers.
- Clip of "Fancy" performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live
Iggy Azalea, meanwhile, has the top-charting song in the country, and is featured on the second-biggest. She is the first white female to really make a mark in hip hop, and she's from a whole different continent too. She is, in that regard, a ground-breaker. [clip of Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea - "Problem"] And I totally get why too. The more I was exposed to her, the more I realized this person is an A-lister in the making. It's the same feeling I got when I first heard Nicki Minaj or Kesha. I thought, "This person is gonna be big." They just have that star quality, you know?
Todd: [beat] I feel like I need to clarify here that star quality is not the same thing as... quality.
- Clip of interview with Billboard at MTV VMAs
Todd (VO): So Iggy Azalea, hottest new pop star of 2014. Why is she so big? Well, let me give you an analogy. [Picture of, with Elvis Presley...] Record executive Sam Phillips, right before he discovered Elvis Presley, [clip of performance of "Hound Dog"] he said he could make a million dollars if he could just find one white boy who could sing like a black guy.
Todd: The appeal to Iggy Azalea appears to be something similar.
- Clip from White Chicks
- Latrell (Terry Crews): Now that's what I'm talkin' about. A white girl with a black girl's ass.
Todd (vo): Yes, that's right.
Todd: That was a clip from the Wayans Brothers classic, [poster] White Chicks. I watch a lot of bad movies just so I have a large supply of movie references I can use. You're welcome
- Video for "Fancy"
Todd (VO): But I guess I was kind of being really dismissive there, right? Surely she has some musical talent too, right? Well, um...
Todd: ...she isn't untalented.
Todd (VO): But I've listened to her big hit "Fancy" a bunch of times now, and I just...I just don't really get it. The song—more specifically her on the song—is just not very good.
Todd: Like, at all.
Todd (VO): By the way, as you've probably noticed by now, she has chosen to make the video an homage to everyone's favorite 80s movie disguised as a 90s movie, Clueless, which is kind of distracting and doesn't remotely fit the tone of the song at all.
Todd (VO): Just... just try to ignore it.
- Iggy: Who dat, who dat, I-G-G-Y
Todd (VO): And for a billion overplays, it takes me a ton of effort to remember a single thing she says in this song except, "Who dat, who dat."
- Iggy: You should want a bad bitch like this
- Drop it low and pick it up, just like this
Todd (VO): Apparently, the way to become a big hit rapper, even if you don't fit the rapper profile, is spew all the same generic clichés and hope no one notices.
Todd: Here's what "Fancy" is about.
- Charli: I'm so fancy (pronounced fan-say)
- You already know
Todd (VO): She's fan-say. She spends money and is attractive.
Todd: That's basically every rap song from the past ten years.
Todd (VO): Minus all the parts that are threatening, ugly, dangerous, witty, or interesting. This song bores me to tears.
- Charli: I'm so fancy
Todd (VO): I don't care that you're fan-say. And the weird thing is, none of it is actually about being fancy.
- Iggy: Takin' all the liquor straight, never chase that
Todd (VO): Like, there's a couple of expensive things listed in there. But mostly, it's not about being fancy at all, and it certainly doesn't sound fancy.
- Iggy: Swagger on stupid, I can't shop in no department
- To get my money on time
Todd (VO): Minimalist beat, dark tone, trashy vibe, this is fancy in the same way as the [pic of...] fancy ketchup packets from McDonald's.
Todd: Let's take a closer look, shall we? Let's see if there's anything worth salvaging here. Start from the beginning.
- Iggy: First things first, I'm the realest
Todd shrinks a little
- Iggy: First things first, I'm the realest
Todd (VO): Okay, you know how I said she's not even from here?
Todd: Yeah, that makes Iggy Azalea's entire existence awkward because...you heard what she sounds like.
- Iggy: I said, "Baby, I do this, I thought that you knew this."
- Hot girl, hands off, don't touch that
Todd: Yeah...so I have basically only one response to her being "the realest."
- Clip from Clueless
- Cher (Alicia Silverstone): Ugh, as if!
Todd: Yeah, this is what turns a mediocre song into the kind of thing that gives me a headache to think about.
Todd (VO): In this country, we have a whole [pictures of man in blackface, white guy wearing FUBU shirt and flashing gang symbols] unpleasant history of white people pretending to be black, and so, whenever we hear someone with a really contrived accent like hers, for a lot of us, it hits our [various pics of...] "No No No No" button. [Clip of "Tik Tok" by...] Like, Kesha and Miley use hip hop slang pretty often, but I never thought they were trying to sound like anything but the spoiled rich girls they are.
Meanwhile, Iggy Azalea's putting on this really phony-sounding accent, and she's not even American.
Todd: [sigh] But, you know, I do want to give her the benefit of the doubt. I don't know what an Australian expatriate who's lived all over the Dirty South since she was sixteen is "supposed" to sound like.
Todd (VO): Or maybe worrying about whether someone is real is kind of a stupid thing to worry about anyway, right?
Todd: Because you can overthink this.
- Clip of...
Todd (VO): Macklemore worries all the time about the implications of being a white man taking over a black art form, [Vulture.com article: "Macklemore Texted Kendrick Lamar to Apologize for Winning"] and it's made him downright neurotic. I...I don't really recommend that approach.
Todd: Iggy Azalea does not have to worry that she's overthinking it.
- Clip of "Pu$$y"
Todd (VO): Look, she's been fairly popular in the UK for a couple years now. [Brief clip of Cher Lloyd - "Swagger Jagger"] Apparently, they have less issues with white girls rapping than we do. My point is, she's been in the public eye for at least a little while now. You'd think someone in her position would know they might want to be careful, considering the minefield they're already in.
Todd: Instead, she's got kind of a reputation for saying somewhat insensitive things. [Tweet: "This Asian lady on the plane tried to act like she didn't understand me I told her ass bitch u gone know English today cause that's my seat!"] A lot. [Vibe article: "Iggy Azalea Apologizes for Slave Master Lyric: 'It Was a Tacky and Careless Thing to Say'"] A lot. [Collage of five tweets from Iggy] A lot.
But I'm not here to review her Twitter feed, goddammit. I'm here for the music.
- Iggy: Bring the hooks in, where the bass at?
Todd: The boring, boring music.
Todd (VO): The music whose first line sounds like outright bullshit. And it sure doesn't help that she's dressed as one of the whiter characters in film history either.
- Another clip from Clueless
- Cher: Oh, my God, I'm totally buggin'
Todd: Hold on, let's try and see if we can't find something in here.
- Iggy: Drop this and let the whole world feel it (let them feel it)
- And I'm still in the Murda Bizness
- I could hold you down, like I'm givin' lessons in physics
- Iggy: ...like I'm givin' lessons in physics
Todd (VO): What the hell sense does that make? Because...gravity? That...that's a stretch and a half, lady. What physics classes did you have?
Todd: I mean, I did get held down a lot in school, but [cover of Gimme Your Lunch Money! A Parent's Guide to Bullies and Bullying] That was more of a lesson in economics, really.
- Charli: I'm so fancy
- You already know
Todd (VO): Whatever it is that people like about this song, I guess it's mostly all the parts that don't have to do with Iggy Azalea herself. Now, I'm not a huge fan of the chorus, but it's got that smooth, kind of slick vibe that [brief clip of "The Motto" by...] Drake is constantly trialing and failing to achieve. The singer on "Fancy" is Charli XCX of [clip of Icona Pop - "I Love It"] "I Don't Care I Love It" fame. Yeah, she's one of those indie pop acts that are halfway between Britney Spears and Bjork. I hope she turns out to be the more famous person on this track because she's running circles around Iggy. Even though the chorus she's given is kind of pretty bad.
- Charli: I'm in the fast lane
- From LA to Tokyo
Todd (VO): Yeah, the fast lane from LA to Tokyo is the same as the slow lane: [Map showing route from Los Angeles to Tokyo, crossing...] the Pacific Ocean. Then she goes on to talk about trashing hotels and drinking minibar booze and...we're just getting farther and farther away from the entire concept of fancy, aren't we?
- Charli: Trash the hotel
- Let's get drunk on the mini bar
- Make the phone call
- Feels so good getting what I want
Todd: "Make the phone call"? For what, pizza delivery? No, seriously, for what?!
- Charli: Make the phone call
Todd (VO): Unless you say what you're calling for, which she doesn't, then she's just bragging about using a phone. I get that, by "fancy," they apparently just mean good in some nonspecific way, but making phone calls? Are you bragging about doing something that everyone [picture of telephone captioned with "fancy"] in the first world has done since the 1890s?
Todd: I mean, if you're just gonna sit there and brag, at least say something clever about it. Why are you so fan-say?
- Iggy: And my flow retarded, each beat did depart it
Todd: [beat] Her flow...is retarded. [Tries to say something, but...] I can't even really add anything to that because, you know, I'm not...trying to offend anyone here. I mean, all the jokes are right there and I can't touch them! Goddammit, Iggy Azalea!
Todd (VO): To recap, "fancy" just means generically good, "retarded" means good, everything means good. Her flow is retarded, that's how she describes it. And the sad part is...
Todd: ...if I can be positive for a moment, her flow is actually really good.
- Iggy: To get my money on time, if they not money, decline
- And swear I meant that there so much that they give that line a rewind
Todd (VO): Like, I wanted to call her just a female Vanilla Ice, but that would be actually super unfair because, if nothing else, she knows how to work a rhythm and a rhyme, unlike Vanilla Ice.
- Clip of "Ice Ice Baby"
- Vanilla Ice: Take heed 'cause I'm a lyrical poet
- Miami's on the scene just in case you didn't know it
Todd: Yeah, just a reminder, Vanilla Ice is exactly as bad as everyone always said he was.
Todd (VO): So you know, I'm giving her as much...as much credit as I can here. But I feel like I'm saying, you know, "Oh, she knows how to chop vegetables really well." I mean, it's a good skill to have, but it isn't the same thing as knowing how to cook.
Todd: Here, right here. This is the biggest problem with "Fancy".
Todd (VO): Not the questionable racial politics, not the failure to display any fanciness, not the...basically unfinished beat, not even the lack of clever lyrics.
Todd: No, see, the main problem with "Fancy" is the same problem that afflicts almost all of modern hip hop.
- Charli: I'm so fancy
- You already know
Todd: First off, no, I don't already know because...
Todd (VO): ...I've barely heard of either of you. But if I did already know, then what's the point of me listening to this?!
Todd: It's not gonna tell me anything I don't already know!
Todd (VO): The worst thing to happen to hip hop is that it became all about having it, and not about getting it. [Clips of "Started from the Bottom" by...] Like, you know how Drake claims to have started from the bottom, but doesn't actually provide any details about how he started from the bottom? Well, that song's awful, but at least he hinted that there was some kind of journey. [...and...] When Lorde released "Royals" and blasted all those pop songs and rap songs about partying and stuff, she didn't do it because it's overdone, or because she doesn't like partying, or because she doesn't get hip hop and she's looking down on people who had to work their way up to success.
Todd: No, she doesn't like these songs because they're goddamn boring!
Todd (VO): It's like watching a sports movie where, [brief clip from The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training] instead of being underdogs, the heroes start out the #1 seed, and then they win every game and they become champions. [Poster of Bad News Bears, with "Bad" sprayed out and replaced with "Good"] Who'd watch that?!
And yes, your generic bragging track can still be good, but they're so overdone at this point, you had better be amazing. Iggy Azalea has confidence, I'll give her that, but otherwise, this is basically just an inane Black Eyed Peas song.
- Iggy: Rooftop like we bringin' '88 back
Todd: Have rooftop parties gone out of style since the late 80s? I don't get any of this!
- Clips of "Change Your Life" and "Work"
Todd (VO): Look, I listened to a bunch of other of her songs just to try and figure out why she's successful, and mostly, I wasn't impressed, but she does have some bits in there that do seem to stem from who she actually is. You know, her whiteness, and her femaleness, and her foreignness, so Iggy Azalea may have better hits in her. But as of right now, all she's proven is that white girls can rap just as uninspired as anyone else. She's gonna have to try harder if she wants to be a real rapper with respect and stuff, 'cause right now, she seems like this...
Todd: ...dull person who says dumb things who's really just kind of ignorant and...[has to say it...] clueless.
- Iggy: Who dat, I-I-I-G-G-Y
- Charli: Blow
- One more clip
- Amber (Elisa Donovan): Hello! Was I the only one listening? I mean, I thought it reeked.
Closing tag song: Reba McEntire - "Fancy"
"Fancy" is owned by Virgin/EMI Records
This video is owned by me